Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up | Books - the Reveal

If you read yesterday's post about the process of Decluttering & Selling Books, you are ready for Part 2 today, the actual reveal of our newly tidied up spaces!  I mentioned yesterday that, after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering I got to work tidying our linen closet, kitchen drawers, and also got a big start on our playroom.  But, the newly decluttered and organized BOOKS is what I'm showing you today! 


Now at home with only the books we really love, it was time to put things back.  This time, I organized the books into categories and put like books together in the same room.  Now our books are mainly kept in four areas: 1) kitchen, 2) living room, 3) hallway, and 4) James' room.  Of course, I still keep a few books on my nightstand and in the master sitting room for decor and books I'm currently flipping through. 

The kitchen, for example, houses almost all of our cookbooks.  They used to be scattered throughout the house, some in the living room, some in my office, etc.  The living room now has all of the decor related books, the hallway houses mostly spiritual, career-related, and organizing-type books.  Let's take a look. 


In our living room before, we had books accessorizing the bookshelf in a pretty way, but all of the books weren't books we loved.  In fact, the books on the very top shelves were mostly purchased at Half Price Books just so the shelves would be full of books of similar sizes.  Most of them had never been read or weren't even topics I was interested in.  For awhile I liked the color that all the books provided, but recently, I was ready for a change. 

After I removed the books to go through the "what to keep" process, I went one step further and took everything out of the cabinets for a fresh start.  

The cabinet sat empty for a couple days while I enjoyed the open, minimal look.

As I put the books back, I made a more conscious effort to keep the design clean and serene since that's the feeling I've been leaning toward in our house lately.  It made sense to keep my beloved decorating books here because the couch is often where I'd curl up with one of those books to read.  This time, I grouped them by color and didn't worry about filling the shelves.  In fact, I like having some empty space and time to ponder what would look best in that upper left spot.  I also had several hardback cookbooks with neutral covers that filled the first shelf in a peaceful way.  

We lugged a piece of driftwood home from our recent trip to the lake and it's a natural memento to remember our first family vacation. 

You can read more about our built-in media cabinet here, including the dimensions and paint information.  I get lots of questions about this unit, specifically, where we bought it, but it was a custom built-in piece that was created while our home was being built.  I have corresponded with one reader who used this piece as inspiration to build his own unit!  How cool is that?! 


At one point, when we first moved into our home several years ago, I did a rainbow bookshelf in our hallway.  Over the years, it had dismantled into a hodge podge as we added new books or moved existing books to other parts of the house.  I forgot to take a 'before' of how the bookshelf looked right before my decluttering process, but it's safe to say that books filled the entire shelf, with a couple of bins on the bottom shelf and they no longer resembled a rainbow. 

A fresh start! 

And only the books we truly love back on the shelves.  My husband still has his books in his home office, but that room is off limits for me to show you.  Gotta give the guy some privacy (his closet too!). ;) 


When I removed all the books from my office bookshelf, I found that most of them were books that I loved because I specifically moved them into my office for that reason.  The books ranged in topic from decorating to cooking to productivity or just books that were pretty.  When I paired down, I had room for all the decorating books to go into the media cabinet or kitchen, and this bookshelf went to the playroom so we could organize the toys more in that area.  The magazines I had in woven baskets are currently on the top shelf in the playroom.  

Now, I'm left with a big blank wall and files that still need to be organized and put away.  I'm considering a low, long console table for this space now.  That way, I'd have room for a gallery art wall above. 


Before, the kitchen shelves in our island held a couple baskets for chips (that weren't really being used that much), three magazine holders, a recipe and fitness binder, and one cookbook.  

Now, all of our colorful cookbooks are housed on the top shelf perfectly!  When I was nearing the end of my bikini competition prep, and was so looking forward to more variety of food, I spent several weeknights tearing pages of recipes out of cooking magazines I had saved and then discarded the magazines.  The recipes went into two binders (one for appetizers, meals, sides, etc. and one for desserts).  A third binder is for fitness plans, exercise routines, body fat test results, etc.  

We can fit our chips into one bin and I keep some colorful mixing bowls out because I use them often and like the color.  Here's what it looks like now. 


James' colorful big boy room had a bookshelf from Pottery Barn kids housing his books, but now that he's moved into the bigger guest room, the bookshelf no longer fits.  Furniture tends to be like musical chairs around here, and now the red Ikea bookshelf that was in the playroom holding toys is now in James' room storing books. 

For more posts on how we keep our home organized and running smoothly, check out my ORGANIZE tab at the top of my blog.  Here's to a productive week! 


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  1. i love it!! such a big change!!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  2. Love it! I have to admit that I buy most of my books on kindle, so most of the books we have are for my son (we do have a lot) and photo albums I've made on shutterfly (and love). I must ask, where did you get those elephant book ends? I love elephants!

  3. Megan, oh my goodness! It looks terrific! I don't know how you find the energy pregnant! That is a ton of organizing and purging but it looks well worth the effort! I always enjoy your organizing posts and love this one as well!

    All Things Big and Small

  4. This is really inspirational! I love reading through your blog - I have even made some cute chalkboard signs from reclaimed roof slates after getting inspired here!

  5. My gosh… looks wonderful.. now you have me wanting to purge!!

  6. This books sems really interesting and also others seems to have my idea because everytime I go into bookstore asking it it is sold out with long period to order it:D

  7. Love it! You don't realize how much a difference these changes make until it's done. I am in love with the elephant book ends! Where did you find those?

  8. Don't you love when you can shop your own home? Love all the changes. We are in the process of doing many of the same things.

  9. Megan, it looks great!!! I wish we had more bookshelves in our home. Love all of yours! We are seriously lacking space for all the books we love. But only for books that "spark joy," right?!? ;)
    PS-I think I finally figured out how I can comment on your posts, now! I hope!! For some reason I was having a difficult time, but I think I figured out the kink!

  10. Have to say, as an Aussie, love to see your collection of Curtis Stone cookbooks!

  11. Wow..beautiful. Nothing like a real book..and you've shown they don't have to clutter your home.

  12. Hi Megan!! I have followed your blog for about a year and a half now and I love it!! I am a mom of 3 boys. 2 are in senior high and then we had a "surprise" that is now starting the first grade. I am in school full-time finishing my degree in Respiratory Therapy and am happily married to my best friend. I am really particular about the blogs I have chosen to follow because I simply don't have time to peruse the internet. Your blog has been a gem to find!!! Your style choices, you organization, your ideas all have clicked with me and have been SO helpful at times. Specifically this post. When I was on my break after my summer semester this year I went straight to Half-Priced Books and bought a copy of the book (It had been on my mind since your original post date.) And got busy using it's technique. The results have been amazing and everyone in the family has jumped on board and loves the effect. Keep up the good work. Your ideas and incite are blessing crazy busy mamma's like me and I couldn't appreciate you more! Good Bless. ---Tiff

    1. Hi Tiffany! Thanks so much for your comment! My son just started first grade last week! I'm so happy to hear you enjoy my blog- that really means a lot because I know there are a million blogs you could choose to read and I do try hard to put useful content here! Our book situation was out of control and so far so good after using that Kon Mari method. Now I really need to tackle all the kid paperwork that has piled up in my office! Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I read every one! I try to answer questions in the comment section since many readers are "no reply" and so everyone can benefit from the response- so please check back. :)

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