Cultivate Your Bookshelves

     Want to have a better reading life?

     It's time to cultivate your shelves--the books you own.

     Let's define cultivate {according to Merriam-Webster}:

verb  cul·ti·vate \ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt\
to grow and care for; to further, to encourage; to make friends with

     All of these lovely definitions apply to the cultivation of your own personal library.

     Next let's look at what this means practically.
1. Clear the clutter: Please, for the love of all that is literary and beautiful, get rid of all the trash, tchotchkes, movies, dvd players, boxes, etc. that litter your shelves. Put all your books in one place if you can. Then step back and admire the effect. :) All you need on your bookshelf is books!

2. Delete some books: Get rid of the books that are just on your shelf to be on your shelf. This usually includes books you'll never read again, books you'll never read for the first time, books you are keeping out of guilt, and books you just plain don't like. Pass them on to someone who does want them; at HPB, you can even make some cash, which will help with step 4--Hey! No peeking!

3. Organize: Find what works for you. Rainbow order, alphabetical by author, alphabetical by title, or by favorite to least favorite. Have fun with it! {This post on 10 Ways to Organize Your Bookshelves may help.}

4. Add more books: A full bookshelf is a joy. One with books you actually love and want to read it the best joy in the world. You can do this following yesterday's tips for Reading Tons of Books Economically and some of the cash you got from step 2. ;)

5. Add finishing touches: So maybe you like a bookshelf with more than books. Be intentional and careful with it. A vase of flowers and bowl of bookmarks wouldn't hurt. Maybe your finishing touch is moving your bookshelf to a different room or making some of the books sit horizontally. Maybe your finishing touch is simply sitting back and staring at your handiwork for a few minutes (no shame in that!)

"Your library is your portrait." ~Holbrook Jackson

     Challenge for today: Complete one of the 5 steps above. Really motivated readers out there (a nicer way to say "overachievers") can do all five! Let me know how it works out!


This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.


  1. Ooh, I like these! I reaaally need to organize my shelves. Badly. Most of my books are scattered throughout my room after taking photos of them, and now my shelves look rather lonely. :P

    I have a little wooden block given to me by a friend that says, "Writer's block: When your character's don't want to agree with you," on it. I thought it was cute and a nice way to decorate my shelves. :D

    // katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. Yes, sometimes the books are just EVERYWHERE. :) I love that quote! I want to put this one somewhere in my room: “When a character wants to do one thing and I want him to do another, the character is usually right.” ~Madeleine L'Engle

  2. I organized my books by color. The visual effect is amazing but not so handy for finding books.

    1. It always looks so pretty, but I see how it would be hard (with more than 100 books) to find what you're looking for.


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