Challenge #6- Books

Today’s challenge may take a bit longer, but it could clear significant space. Today we tackle your stash of books.

Congratulations – we have already completed one week of GO! (Get Organized!) month. Today’s challenge may take a bit longer, but it could clear significant space. Today we tackle your stash of books.

Let’s recall the process we are using throughout the month:


  • Gather your supplies:
    • Boxes or bags labeled with:
      • “Donate”
      • “Elsewhere”
      • “Store”
    • Trash can/recycle bin
    • Damp rag/wet wipe
  • Empty challenge area for the day. And by empty, I mean EMPTY.
  • Once the area is empty, wipe it clean with a damp rag.
  • Now sort the items into these categories: (The Seana Method’s R.E.D.D.S. system)
    • R- “Restore”: items to go back in
    • E- “Elsewhere: items to keep, but which don’t belong in this space
    • D- “Donate”
    • D- “Dispose”: trash or recycle
    • S- “Store”: items to keep for sentimental reasons, or perhaps for a long-term future use, but which are not regularly used. (These items will eventually need to go into a bin/box in an attic, basement, or closet.)
  • As you are sorting, put items into the boxes/bags you prepared.
  • Once you are finished sorting, put the “Restore” items back into your designated area.
  • Carry the “Elsewhere” box/bag around your house and redistribute its contents.
  • Move the “Donate” box/bag to the car to be donated.
  • Trash/recycle the “Dispose” items
  • Put the "Store" box aside for now. When the month is over, these items will be packaged for long-term storage.



Books are a great gift, are personal, are fun, are low-cost, and are portable. As a result, many of us have piles of books. The new trend toward e-readers may lessen this in the future, but hard copy books will likely always be around.

The key to organizing your books is all about LIMITATIONS. Having some books is wonderful, having too many books is a burden. So use the process outlined above to gather and sort your books. Here are a few tips on sorting: 

Quickly (don’t overthink it!) cull through and stack the ones that you

  1. don’t want to read,
  2. won’t read again,
  3. see are damaged,
  4. determine are out of date, or
  5. don’t want for ANY REASON.


It is important to not feel guilty about passing a book along (even if it is one in a series or one that was given to you by someone special…. if you won’t read it again, you can let it go.) Books are the ultimate reusable item!

Many of us are holding books for our children or grandchildren. This is fine, but you need to set a limit based on your available space. For instance, you might say “I have these 2 shelves for picture books” and then keep only what fits on these shelves. Designating a physical space for a type of book is a great trick for helping you live within your space. If you are holding books for a future generation, put the books in a clear, labeled box and move to long-term storage.

Many places accept book donations (in Darien, for example, you can donate to Darien Book Aid, Darien Thrift Shop, or the Swap Shop at the Darien Dump very easily.) If you need help finding a spot to donate your books, just contact The Seana Method for some assistance.

Happy organizing – let us know how it’s going by posting a comment!

Submitted by Seana Turner, founder and President of The Seana Method

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Gurliacci January 09, 2013 at 01:15 PM
I think the Darien Thrift Shop, which is very convenient to get to, is overburdened with books (it's becoming harder for second-hand places to get rid of them), so I've stopped giving my used books there. At one point, books there were going to the Smith College book sale up at Waveny mansion in New Canaan, but that book sale has ended. (Nowadays, I think only Westport Library and Pequot Library in Southport are the places with the two biggest used book sales in this area.) The Swap Shop at the Dump, I think, gets rid of items after a certain period of time, so your used book may be trashed. Ferguson Library in Stamford accepts used books for its book shop, but the last time I was there they seemed to like newer books in very good condition, and their prices for used books are higher than elsewhere. Goodwill gladly accepts books in Norwalk and Stamford. In Norwalk, they go (at least initially) into storage indoors. I just dropped off boxes of books at Goodwill in Stamford and found they were going into an uncovered bin, in the rain.
VRMorgan January 28, 2013 at 01:57 PM
We love books, the problem is unless you have them sorted and loan them like a library they are just getting older .. so thanks to Seana I sorted them and created mini libraries by topic - kids desk area: raising kids books, school books, telephone directories, SAT/ACT/College guides, workbooks - all in a spaces by topic - family room: travel, gardening, house, BIG coffee table books, nature - office: politics, history, his mystery/suspense/sci-fi, finance - guest bedroom: anthologies, short stories, bible - kids bedrooms, their favorites, current reads, bibles/bible studies, - attic kids memory totes: 10 of their favorite books for them to share with their kids - by dog supplies: dog training, vet books (other animal ones too) - in with games: rules to cards - in laundry: First Aid, house cleaning, stain removal - in with crafts: crafty books - in with Christmas: Christmas Books/cook books with theme - in Kitchen: cook books, diet books
Seana Turner January 28, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Wow -- what terrific progress! I'm impressed. I hope this brings you much joy:)
VRMorgan January 28, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Our group of organizing Challenge friends has increased to 9 - fun to share stories and see which areas presents problems for whom - lots of good book organizers - some have gone to the Kindle, many transfer books to relatives and friends, THANKS for Creating such a great method to work our way through our homes - we want to do it every January and see if we can keep the spaces working correctly!


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