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Top Tips for Organising Reference Books

Last week we did Fiction Books, and this week we are on to reference books. Again, as always, the number of reference books that you have in your home will be absolutely an individual number. There is never any pressure for you to let go of anything that you want to keep, but do make sure that you are following the Golden Rules of Tidying;

1. Make positive choices.

2. Go for the Easy Wins first.

3. Work in categories.

4. Handle every item.

5. Let go with Gratitude.

Find your books.

So start this session by identifying where all of your reference books are held. If possible bring them together in to one place, but I do appreciate that sometimes it’s easier to work where they are and then amalgamate later. Take every book off the shelf and wipe down the shelves. Handle Every Single Book. It is Against The Rules to simply say, “Oh, I’m keeping all of that type of book”. Sure, keep every one of them if you want to, but not all in one go, touch them all.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times a client has sat on the floor with me, surrounded by books and said something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m keeping all the books on Science” or, “I’m keeping every book about horses” or, “I’m keeping every book on teaching” and I say, “Fine, but just check them individually first” and then, of course we reach a point where it’s, “Oh, I guess I don’t need that one” or “Oh look, I have two of these” etc etc etc. Please, trust me on this one. Handle Every Book.

Store Like with Like

Once every book has been handled, ensure that you store like with like and this may require some moving around of books to get them in to the right places. I keep all my decluttering and organising books together (I have a fair number!), I have my horse books together, I have my language books together. You get the idea. In fiction, I tend to keep all of an author’s books together. Fiction wise, most of the books I have on my shelves belong to my children (as I only keep my very favourites in physical form), and I arrange these by reading level(ish).

Enjoy your declutter!

For the entire series on decluttering and organising your home, check out this blog:

For a set of Guides on various subjects, check out this page:

Interested in more? Check out 12 Weeks To Tidy:


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