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Organizing books so that you can find them

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Even though more and more people are reading books on e-book readers and tablets, many folks still prefer to read a good paperback or hardcover book. We are fortunate in the Baltimore area to have a lot of good bookstores with new and used books. However, like other household and personal items, it’s important to recycle or donate books when no longer needed so that they don't accumulate.

Most avid readers probably feel like they can never have too many books. The problem arises when they have so many books that their bookshelves are overflowing and they have stacks of books placed on every available surface throughout their home, creating clutter.

For book lovers with too many books, especially when they are in complete disarray, it is not only time to purge, it is also time to arrange them in a organizational system that fits their lifestyle. Purging is practically a swear word for book hoarders, but it must be done in order to make space for future books!

For book lovers who also don’t know where to begin, start by scanning your bookshelves and selecting your least favorites. Then keep going until you’ve at least parted with enough books to have them all placed on book shelves. It’s fine to keep a few in a basket by the bed or reading chair, but try not to use baskets and bins because you’ve run out of space on your bookshelves.

The best way to part with books is to donate to a worthy cause. There are many places that would love to have your books. Check with the following places in your town: hospitals, daycare centers, homeless shelters, public libraries, used book stores, etc. You can also try selling your books at local used book stores.

If you can, support your local stores to either buy used, new or sell your lightly worn books. The following list are local area bookstores. Check the websites individually to see whether or not they take or sell used books:

Second Edition Books and Music
Daedalus Books & Music
Greetings and Readings
The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc.

Also, check out this list of Baltimore area independent bookstores.

After purging enough books to free up space on your bookshelves, organize them in a way that makes sense to you. There are so many different ways to organize books. The most common way is to arrange by either author (a-z), genre or in alphabetical order by title. However, you can also arrange by room location, color, size and style.

How you organize your books is up to you. The question you’ll need to ask yourself is, “Will I know where to look for a book when I need it?” If you presently have no system at all, then any new system you set up will take some time to remember, so it is recommended that you map out the new book organization system on paper, so that you can refer to it from time to time, until it’s been memorized.

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