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Sustainable Book Decluttering Tips for Busy Women


Hello, lovely South Londoners!  I’m Your Professional Organiser, and today, I’m excited to share some eco-friendly and sustainable tips on decluttering books.

Books are truly an amazing invention!  They are filled with adventure, they evoke emotions, they teach us about ourselves and anything else that we want to learn about, and they can change the way that we see the world.  Having said all of that, it’s no wonder that decluttering them is so hard for so many people.  In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy for our bookshelves to become cluttered with unread novels, old textbooks and forgotten treasures.  As an eco-friendly expert in decluttering, I’m here to help you create a more organised and sustainable home, all while freeing up valuable time, space and saving money.


Why Declutter Books Sustainably?

Before we dive right into the tips for how to declutter books, let’s talk a bit about why decluttering your books in a sustainable way is important:

1. Reduce Waste: Thirty-two million books are thrown into the landfill each year in the UK!  That’s an incredible amount, and a figure that I find difficult even to fathom.  Sustainably decluttering minimises the waste that is created by discarded books.  Now more than ever, it’s critical to consider the environmental impact of disposing of books, which can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.

2. Save resources: Think of the trees that have been used to create all those books.  When you declutter books and donate or recycle them responsibly, you’re conserving valuable natural resources such as trees, and other resources like paper and ink, which are used to produce new books.

3. Organise for Your Mental Wellbeing: A cluttered space can lead to stress, overwhelm and anxiety, and a cluttered bookshelf is no exception.  By decluttering your books, you’re not only creating a more organised and peaceful environment, but you are taking steps to make taking care of your belongings easier.  This will ultimately have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.

4. Financial Freedom: Letting go of books you no longer need can be a way to recoup some of the initial investment of buying them in the first place.  There are a few different organisations that will buy used books if this helps to ease some of the guilt of the money already spent.  This process may even get you considering how you might buy or use books in the future.


Now, let’s get down and deep into sustainable decluttering tips:

1. Have a Clear Vision in Mind:  Start this journey by considering what your vision is for this book decluttering project.  Ask yourself why you are feeling the need to declutter your book collection and what you are hoping to achieve.  Maybe you would like to be able to see all the books that you love, or maybe you just want to reflect on whether each book deserves a spot on your shelf.  Knowing the reason why you want to declutter your books will help to motivate you while going through this process.

2. Sorting Rules: If you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of starting, take one shelf at a time.  Take one book at a time.  Do you love it? Will you read it again? Put it in the ‘KEEP’ pile.  If the answer isn’t yes, then it’s for the ‘DONATE’ pile.
Some books will not be that straightforward though.  You may need to ask yourself a few more questions to make a clear decision about it.  Consider whether you will use the book in the future, whether the information is still up-to-date or whether it brings up sentimental feelings.  It’s okay to keep books that bring back memories!
Of course, if you haven’t yet read a book then perhaps it’s time to dig a bit on why that is the case.  If it’s time that’s holding you back, ask yourself how long it normally takes you to read an average book.  Is it likely that you would like to give that amount of time to that book in the future?  We all know time is precious, and only you can choose how to spend it.


3. Sustainable Disposal Options: Instead of just tossing a book into the rubbish, consider these eco-friendly options:
-Donate books to local libraries, schools or charities.
-Host a book swap with friends and neighbours.
-Use online platforms to sell or exchange books.
-Recycle damaged or unusable books at local recycling centers.
4. Eco-Friendly Storage Solutions: If you’re going to store your books, then why not go for some storage that’s good for the environment?  Invest in sustainable bookshelves made from recycled or reclaimed materials.  Choose natural finished and non-toxic paints to ensure your storage solutions are planet friendly.
5. Mindful Book Buying:  I love a bookstore-the smells, the sight of all those books, the hushed tones, but I am a reluctant buyer of brand-new books!  It’s not that I’m against the practice of buying new, it’s just that in more recent years I have been more conscious about where I am buying items, and if I can prolong the use of something that’s already in existence, I’m all for that.  This may be something you have begun to think about, too-being more mindful about your book purchases.  There are other options out there such as borrowing from the library, local and online book swaps or consider e-books, audiobooks, or second-hand bookstores.  All these options will reduce the demand for new book production, saving millions of tonnes of paper every year.



6. Regular Decluttering: We all have the best intentions of keeping clutter at bay, but it does have a way of slowly creeping back up on us.  That’s why it’s so important to commit to regularly decluttering those bookshelves to prevent the clutter from building up again.  Decide how long you feel you can go between decluttering sessions.  It may need to be every few months if you are a collector of books.  Whatever the time frame, put a reminder on your calendar to reassess your collection every so often to keep in under control.


Decluttering books, although a tough task, is not just about tidying up your space; it’s a conscious choice to reduce waste, conserve resources and contribute to a healthier planet.  By following these eco-friendly tips, you can create a more organised, mentally soothing environment while also saving you money.  Remember, the goal is not just to declutter but to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life.

Come back again next week for more tips on decluttering, organising, and achieving mental wellbeing.  And if you have any questions or need personalised support, feel free to reach out.  Together, we can make South London homes eco-friendly, clutter-free sanctuaries for busy women like you!


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