12 Reasons Your House Still Looks Dirty

There is nothing more deflating than to spend time cleaning your house and it still not look clean. Let’s discuss 12 reasons your house still looks dirty.

12 reasons your houses still look dirty

Hey there friends. Today we are talking about cleaning. But specifically, we are talking about the things that can make your house look dirty or messy even after you have cleaned or things that make your house look dirty even when it is fairly tidy. Here are 12 reasons your house still looks dirty.

Dirty Baseboards and Corners

I am going to share a big secret to making your house look cleaner. Get down on your hands and knees. Wait, don’t click away! I know the idea of getting down on your hands and knees to clean is really unappealing! But I am always amazed at all the dirt and grime that is missed when you don’t get down to floor level. When we vacuum, sweep, and mop, dust, and dirt gets pushed towards baseboards and corners where it accumulates and settles. I’m going to give you an embarrassing peek into my own home. I hadn’t done a deep clean in my Master Bath for about a month. I had wiped down the bath, toilet, shower, and sinks, but I hadn’t mopped or descaled the glass in four weeks for no reason that I was just being lazy. At first glance, it doesn’t look bad.

bathroom

But then I got down on my hands and knees to deep clean the floor and here is what you can see. Dirt and grime in the crevice of the tile wall and baseboards. I had to get down and zoom in so you can see it, but it’s there. I always get down on the floor and clean the perimeter of the room, baseboards and corners to make sure I pick up all the dirt.

dirty corners

Not Re-Caulking

Caulk is used to seal the seams of your house – like where wood and drywall meet. It prevents bugs, water, and air from entering your home. Silicone caulk is used to seal around your cooktop range, sinks, and often tubs. Over time, the materials in your house settle and flex. Temperature changes outside cause your house to expand and contract. After years of this, you may notice gaps in molding, baseboards, sinks, tubs, showers, etc. You may notice that the caulk flakes off or has shrunk over the years. The cracks can make your house look aged and dirty. Just take a look at an area in my bathroom. I put some fresh caulk on the molding in about five minutes, but it took years off the wall. If you have gauges in the wood, you can fill it in with a little wood filler then paint over it. Take a look at all these uses for caulk in your home.

wall caulking

Clutter

Clutter…everyone has it! My maternal grandmother was a master at handling clutter! Her house was small and simple, but beautiful. Not only was she always cleaning it, but she constantly purged. I remember her having garage sales multiple times a year in order to expel the clutter from her home.

Clutter is any collection of things that are disorganized. Clutter is the opposite of clean. It creates a frenzied, messy appearance in your home. It also creates more work for you. The more things you have, the more things you have to put away. If you want to spend less time picking up and clearing away surfaces, get rid of the clutter! The most important thing about keeping a clean house is having a place for everything. When you have too many things you will find you don’t have room for them. Surfaces, cupboards, and closets will be spilling over with things and will resort to stacking and unsightly piles. Even when decorating, remember less is more. Too many decorative things makes a house look messy too.

If you want to get started, take a look at my post, 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now. Not all of us are willing to do the Konmari method of decluttering. That’s fine. Start small if you must by setting decluttering goals every week. There are even apps for your phone that challenge you to do one decluttering activity a day in just a few minutes. If you are hesitant to throw things away because you spent good money on it, read my post 8 Places to Cash In Clutter. No matter how you decide to start, set some goals, and make decluttering a habit.

Dirty Walls

Walls get dirty. I’m always surprised at how dirty they can actually get. They are easy to scuff and scratch. In kitchens, you may find splatters and drips on them. Believe it or not, these unattractive marks can make your house look dirty when it really isn’t. That’s why spot cleaning walls should be on your seasonal deep clean checklist.

You’ll be glad to know cleaning walls isn’t hard. I will add that flat paint is harder to clean up than satin or eggshell finishes. All you need to clean painted walls is some warm water and mild detergent. If you need a little more scrubbing powder you can add baking soda and scrub gently.

Lastly, keep in mind that paint dulls over time. If walls are really dingy a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a room facelift.

Windows

For years I underestimated how much windows made a difference in your home. A while back we were touring some new homes and I couldn’t figure out why those houses were so bright and airy. It made the house feel so clean, fresh, and open. It was the windows. The windows were clean. Honestly, that’s why I don’t have blinds in my house. It kills so much natural light and when you kill the natural light it can make your home feel dark and dank. There is a reason why when you look at gorgeous homes on Pinterest none of them have blinds! I’m not throwing any shade at you if you have blinds. (No pun intended) Lots of people are in a position where they need extra privacy. I get that. I just think it is just important to know that there is a trade-off for it.

Lastly, dirty windows are also a mood killer. Dirty windows, including window screens, create a haze on your windows which again filter the natural light coming through your windows. It is amazing how clean windows can make the house feel cleaner and brighter. I find my first-floor windows are much dirtier than my second story. This is because they are closer to the dirt and soil in the ground. I recommend cleaning your windows seasonally or every six months. You can hire a service or use a pole washer like this below.

12 reasons your house still looks dirty
Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is the devil! I am a pen and paper girl. I prefer using a paper planner rather than a digital one. Honestly, I don’t like whiteboards and command stations. I prefer paper lists. And can I be honest? I forget about paperless bills! Out of sight out of mind. I prefer using paper to organize my life. Of course, that means that I also have to deal with the paper that accumulates from those things.

Paper clutter can make your house look messy and chaotic. Toss junk mail in the trash as soon as it comes in. Set a time every week to open and shred mail so it doesn’t pile up. It baffles me how quickly paper can stack up. No, you don’t have to save every drawing your kids do. It’s okay to throw them away. Make a folder for the bills you need to attend to and when you are done, shred them. Set seasonal goals to go through file cabinets and see what can be shredded or thrown away. Store coupons in a folder or envelope.

Unmade Beds

Why should I make my bed when I’m just going to sleep in it again in 12 hours? Isn’t this one of life’s greatest conundrums? Believe me, I ask myself this a lot. What’s the point? The point is that making beds makes bedrooms look so much cleaner! You can have a clean bedroom but having an unmade bed makes the entire room look messy! I think of my bedroom almost like a sanctuary. It’s a private space or maybe more specifically, a private retreat. Unlike the common areas of the house where toys and shoes are spread in frenzied disarray, my bedroom is a place that is just for me to retreat. So with that, I want it to be a quiet, calm place. Making your bed brings calm and order to your bedroom. I also feel satisfied slipping into a clean, neat bed with crisp, fresh linens at the end of a hard day. It’s soothing. So maybe consider doing it as a treat for yourself when you are tired later. I’ve learned it only takes five minutes to make my bed.

12 reasons your house still looks dirty
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Dirty Dishes

One of my least favorite chores is doing the dishes. It is tempting to put it off, but it is so overwhelming when they pile up. Even if the rest of your kitchen is clean, a sink full of dirty dishes makes your kitchen look dirty. Not only that but it makes your kitchen stinky which kills any clean vibe you had going. Frankly, I feel like a dirty stove also brings down the entire state of your kitchen. And personally I feel like when my kitchen is dirty, the whole house feels dirty. Maybe because the kitchen is the heart of the house.

I have found the best way to deal with dishes is to clean up after every meal. As a stay at home mom, I wash dishes three times a day! It’s a pain, but they’ll pile up otherwise, and letting dishes sit too long make the job harder. Food will get stuck on and you’ll have to resort to soaking dishes before you can wash them. I always try to remove all the food from dirty dishes before they go into my sink. I scrape the food out and rinse them really well. You may only decide to wash once a day. Whatever works for you! But the key to keeping a clean house is to make sure you are staying on top of chores.

Unstyled Shelves

Shelves are wonderful for collecting small objects or books in one place, but they can also make a house look messy if they aren’t organized. Also, having too many objects on your shelf can make it looked cluttered. The more things you have on a self, the less of a visual impact it makes.

Consider putting small or unsightly objects in baskets or boxes to hide them. Group books into small stacks and hold books straight and upright with bookends. You can place books vertically or horizontally, but make certain they are in neat stacks. Leave plenty of space between objects. Set large sculpture pieces or objects d’art by themselves. Showcase smaller items in pairs or threes. Lean artwork against the back wall of the shelf and keep an eye out for balance and symmetry.

Mounds of Laundry

Anyone who knows me knows one of my big pet peeves is piles of laundry! Whether it be dirty clothes on the floor or piles of clothes that need to be folded, I can’t stand to look at laundry. Laundry that isn’t tamed is a sure way to make your home look unkept. If you have a family, I’m sure you feel like laundry is one of those endless chores! Between linens, towels, and clothes, there is always laundry that needs to be washed, folded, ironed, or put away. That means that there are lots of opportunities for laundry to pile up and create a mess.

Make sure you have a hamper in rooms were clothes accumulate. Hang and fold clothes immediately after drying. Not only does this reduce wrinkles, it stops piles of washed, but unfolded clothes from accumulating. I set a timer every day for folding and putting away clothes. Keep a stain stick in your hamper for quick stain treatments. This also reduces the need to layout clothes for treating stains in your washroom. Consider a laundry schedule. For instance, maybe you wash all the bedding on Saturdays, towels on Sundays, and members of the household have a specific laundry day. You can also invest in a laundry sorter to make washing easier.

A few years back, I discovered how much better it is to store clothing vertically in drawers. You can get way more items into a drawer and it helps to ensure you don’t forget about clothes you own. Seeing it vertically helps you to put more of your clothes into your rotation.

Unused Products

Let me first say, I am totally guilty of this one. All one has to do is take a look in my pantry and you will see I have a bad habit of letting unused products pile up. This also includes products like toiletries and cosmetics. This problem is almost always created first while shopping. You see a bargain or perhaps you think you might need it, so you buy it and it goes unused once you get it home. Before you know it, you have shelves full of canned goods and toiletries that are just taking up precious space and making your house feel cluttered. I think that this is rooted in shopping impulses, but I also think that we need to be real with ourselves about whether or not we will actually use these items. It is hard to pitch unused things in the trash when you spent good money on them, so consider giving them to someone else or donating them.

Soiled, Dirty or Dusty Fabrics

The last reason that makes your house look dirty is soiled fabrics and dirty fabrics. Look at how much dust accumulates on wood furniture. That is how much is accumulating on your fabrics. It’s really important to vacuum and spot clean the fabrics in your home. Fabrics wear a lot faster than woods and as you already probably know, they seem to be a magnet for stains. Soiled, dusty fabrics can make your house look dirty even when it’s clean. That’s why it is so important to vacuum them regularly and spot clean. I talked to a few who maids that I know and they stated fabrics should be vacuumed twice weekly. Drapes can be done less often. However, they suggested that houses with indoor pets like cats and dogs should be vacuumed even more.

That’s it. I hope you are inspired to get cleaning. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what your most dreaded chore is. Confession, mine is descaling the shower!

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Before you dump your items off at a donation bin, try these 8 places to cash in clutter!

8 places to cash in clutter

It’s a never ending battle to declutter. I struggle with decluttering. I paid good money for something, thus I have a hard time just giving something away. Over this past year, I’ve been trying to sell things before I just dump it at Goodwill. I’ve been surprised at what people are willing to buy. Today I’m sharing 8 places to cash in clutter.

Just this month, I made over $100 selling things I would have otherwise donated. For example, I sold an old roaster ($10) and rice cooker ($20) that was taking up space in my kitchen cabinets. I sold a corn hole game ($40) I had made for my son’s first birthday. Then I let go of a car seat ($25) left at our house by a guest. Lastly, I sold some box fans ($10) that had been sitting in my guest room for 5 years!

I’m not bragging! My point is that just because you don’t find it valuable anymore, doesn’t mean no one does. If you’re like me, you’re tired of garage sales. You have to gather tons of items to make it worth while. As a rule, you need a city permit. Usually, you sit for days in the cold or heat only to argue with someone who wants to give you a quarter for your brand new Ralph Lauren blouse you wore once. It’s not worth it, right? That’s why today, I’m going to show you 8 places to cash in clutter – that’s actually worth it!

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Etsy

If you haven’t discovered Etsy, I’m sad for you. Just kidding…sort of. Seriously, Etsy is an absolute great find for people who love to buy and sell handmade things. If you have something unique, one-of-a-kind, or something that is antique or collectible, Etsy is a great market for you! By the way, check out my shop where I sell my handmade greeting cards and digital printables. You do need to set up a shop, but once you have it set up, it’s very easy to add items.

It’s free to create an Etsy store. However, Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for every item you list, making it one of the most affordable places that charges. Furthermore, Etsy allows multiple ways for customers to pay, including PayPal.

Ebay

Ebay has long been a trusted source of selling used items. Even though the big Ebay boom is over, it continues to have a strong marketplace. Last year, I made $200 back selling baby clothes. (Tip: the best way to sell baby clothes is in large lots.) Ebay has a wide array of categories and the selling fee structure is a little complicated.

First, Ebay offers various ways to sell. You can sell it as an auction. You can sell it at a flat price (Buy It Now) which can also include “best offer” flexibility. The charges depend on the category, but as a rule Ebay charges about 10% of the amount you were paid (that includes shipping). Also, if they buyer is paying through PayPal (which is typical), you’ll incur an additional 2.9% fee for the transaction. So you’ll need to carefully choose what you sell. Ebay is known for shipping items and has a super easy, built in way to print labels once your item sells. However, they also have a local pickup option which is especially helpful for large items.

Facebook Marketplace

This is where I have had some of my best success. I am shocked to see how easy it is to sell things. Best of all – it’s completely 100% FREE to sell. You get every penny. No store setup. Just find Marketplace within Facebook and list your items by following the prompts. Customers can pay through Marketplace or they can give you cash. You can also accept PayPal or Venmo if you want to guide them that way.

It’s up to you, but people will ask you to hold things until a certain day. I caution you from doing that. I’ve been burned more than once. There are lots of flakey people out there! I’ve held something for someone who flaked out, meanwhile I turned down 5 other interested buyers. Now I specify in the description that it is “no holds.” This means that if they can’t come until Thursday and someone is willing to buy it and pick it up before then, I won’t hold it. You can choose whether you have the buyer pick up the item or whether you deliver it. You must specify in the description. People will always try to get you to deliver otherwise.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups is another one of the places I’ve had good success. Like Marketplace, you can post pictures and description of what you’re selling. There are lots of pages that are designed for your city, area of town, or neighborhood. Find some, follow the selling rules and make money.

Like Marketplace, you will need to specify whether the buyer need to pickup or if you’ll deliver. If they pay in advance like through PayPal or Venmo. Incidentally, I recommend posting directly in Marketplace. Facebook now has a feature where if you post in Marketplace, you’ll have the options of sharing in the Facebook selling groups of which you’re a member. There are no selling fees involved with Facebook groups.

Pro Tip #1: If you are posting on multiple sites, be sure to include the acronym “POMS” in your description.

LetGo

The LetGo mobile app has slowly been gaining popularity (30 million users have downloaded it) after Google listed it as the Best of 2016 apps. It still has a fairly good reputation. It’s most attractive feature is that there are absolutely no selling fees – you set your price and get every penny! You choose how the customer pays and the app has a review system (don’t worry – you can dispute negative reviews).

LetGo doesn’t have a way to make payment. You will need to work that out between the buyer. Also, you are restricted to selling within your geographical location. Similarly to Craigslist, you’ll need to meet up with buyers to exchange goods and money – and anyone can sign up for it without any kind of check into who they are. So always be careful when meeting up with strangers.

Just Between Friends

So as I started to get rid of baby things, I tried local consignment shops. I was surprised at how little they offered. Pennies on the dollar. It was honestly, a little insulting. What they offered, wasn’t even worth my time to drive down there! That’s when a friend introduced this awesome bi-annual sale to me. If you’re willing to live with the items for a few months, this can bring in some money for all your maternity, baby, child, and teen items.

Just Between Friends is a nationwide consignment organization. Search their website to see if they have a sale in your area. They are in most major cities and have two sales per year – Spring and Fall. They will only accept seasonal appropriate items. Items are inspected to make sure they are not broken or stained. They will reject items that have a safety recall on them.

You will tag them using their online tagging system. As a rule, clothing must be on hangers. You have the option to put your items half off as a ditch effort to sell them. Additionally, they have an option to donate items that are unsold, so you never have to deal with them again. The day before the sale, you will need to check-in and put out all your merchandise on the sales floor. During the sale, you can see live results of your items selling. You set your own prices. You get 60% of the selling price. If you volunteer at the sale, you 70% of your sale, plus your $12 consignor fee is waived. Last year was my first year selling, I didn’t take a ton of stuff, but what I did netted be a couple hundred dollars – and I didn’t volunteer.

Amazon

Wait….you can sell old things on Amazon? Yes, you can. Amazon offers an individual seller account where you can sell gently used items. In my experience, books do well, but other things can be listed. However, it only permits forty items per month. After that, you’ll be directed to upgrade your account to a Professional selling plan. It is a monthly subscription of $39.99 and you have the awesome Amazon name and traffic behind your goods. So depending how much you plan to sell depends on how much it costs. The individual plan costs $0.99 per listing (some categories include additional fees).

Pro-tip #2: The acronym PPU stands for Porch Pick Up – a way of the buyer picking up without having to physically interact with them.

Offer up

Offer up is available on both online and a mobile app. It is fairly easy to use and even offers selling solutions for the private selling of vehicles.

It is free to use for buyers and sellers. However, just recently they included a shipping service so sellers could reach a wider audience. You decide wether you want to offer shipping or not. If you do offer shipping, they charge a 7.9% fee when the item sells. If you want to avoid seller fees, consider doing pickup only.

That’s it. In conclusion, yard sales are almost a thing of the past. Yes, it takes some time to list items individually. But, the return you get from these 8 places to cash in clutter, has proven to be worth it!

The post, 8 Places to Cash in Clutter, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Learn about other decluttering tips in the post 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

Decluttering can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Don’t fret. Here are 50 things to throw away right now.

Confession time: I’m a recovering hoarder. Okay, well maybe not that extreme, but I was definitely a clutter bug. I have a hard time letting go of things. What if I need it later? What if I finally get around to fixing it? After all, I paid good money for this! I totally get it.

Saying goodbye to things can be difficult and it’s very easy to start justifying why you should keep something. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are 50 things to throw away right now.

There are definitely things of value you may very well try to sell. But today, we’re just going to focus us on what can go into a trash can right now. These are things that have lost their usefulness and can therefore be tossed strait into a trash can.

Once you get into the habit of decluttering, I’m sure you’ll find it liberating!

So grab a trash bag and let’s begin!

50 Things to Throw Away

  1. Old Magazines
  2. Stationery you no longer use
  3. Developed photos that are blurry, bad shots, or are duplicated
  4. Goopy nail polish
  5. Wrinkled / torn gift wrap
  6. Old party supplies
  7. Tattered gift bags
  8. Financial paperwork older than 5 years
  9. Instruction manuals & out-of-date warranties
  10. Old phone cases
  11. Pens that no longer write
  12. Coupons, mailers, etc.
  13. Glasses and contact lenses that are not your prescription anymore
  14. Old Checkbooks
  15. Broken jewelry
  16. Scratched sunglasses
  17. Stained or torn clothes
  18. Cosmetics older the 3 months
  19. Bath loofahs & sponges that are looking worn
  20. Newspapers
  21. Earrings that don’t have a pair
  22. Socks with holes or no partner
  23. Frayed device-charging cords
  24. Old sponges and dish wands
  25. Phone books
  26. Catalogs
  27. Expired food in your pantry
  28. Out-of-date batteries
  29. Puzzles and games that are missing pieces
  30. Warped food storage containers or ones that have no lids
  31. Toiletries with old or very little product left
  32. Expired medicine
  33. Worn out hair ties & accessories
  34. VHS tapes or Cassettes that you can’t play
  35. Old toothbrushes
  36. Stockings or nylons with runs
  37. Old underwear or bras
  38. Empty Bottles
  39. Expired vitamins and supplements
  40. Receipts
  41. Old invitations and greeting cards
  42. Planners and calendars from previous years
  43. Brochures
  44. Business cards
  45. Spent gift cards
  46. Dried up paint
  47. Free return address labels
  48. Notepads you don’t use
  49. Pet supplies you don’t use
  50. Gloves with no pair

Looking for other decluttering tips? Learn more about 5 Steps to Decluttering Books

The post, 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent For Pennies

This post, Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this post, I may receive a small percentage at no cost you

Have you ever noticed how ridiculously expensive laundry detergent is? Making your own detergent is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for about five years now. It is just as good as any commercially made detergent, but it is a fraction of the cost! Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own laundry detergent for pennies! I’ve figured out it costs about 5-10 cents per load based on where you buy your ingredients!

This 100 year-old recipe is tried and proven to clean clothes. You can make it in both liquid and powder form. Today, I will show you the easiest way to do it – powder form. I prefer powdered form because it is faster to make. The liquid form requires cooking and is a slower process. 

The greatest thing about this recipe is that you need very little for a load of laundry. Only two tablespoons for a large laundry load! I have found the cheapest place to get these supplies are at Wal-mart. Many grocery stores carry the ingredients, however they are often obscured on the bottom or top shelf since they aren’t as common. For your convenience, I’ve also included an Amazon link. 

About the Ingredients

Fels-Naptha can also be used on it’s own as a pre-wash stain treatment or to hand wash delicates and sweaters. In existence since 1893, Fels-Naptha is a home remedy for poison ivy, poison oak, and other skin irritants. As a result, it is suitable even for people with sensitive skin. Most importantly, it is a powerful stain remover, particularly for tough stains like oil and grass.

Borax is a natural, mild alkaline salt. It works as a gentle abrasive, therefore making it a great cleaning product outside of laundry. Firstly, it’s already in many cleaning products and cosmetics you may already use. In laundry, it has a wide variety of uses! For example, it stops dyes from transferring or bleeding. In addition, Borax softens water as well as enhances bleach and stain removing. Furthermore, it also works as an additional agitent. Lastly, Borax also works as a natural mildicide and fungicide, by retarding bacteria growth.

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda is also an amazing cleaning product! It has so many uses! For example, in laundry, it increases detergents cleaning power and it eliminates and neutralizes odors. In addition, you can also use it with warm water to clean tubs, sinks, cookware, even silver, copper and brass.

Now lets get started making laundry detergent!

Supplies

  • Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 20 Mule Team Borax
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Cheese Grater
  • Large container to store your soap
Borax, Fels Naptha and Washing Soda

Recipe

  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha. This takes some elbow grease!
  • Add one cup of washing soda, followed by 1 cup borax. 
  • Gently stir until evenly combined. Transfer into storage container.
  • Repeat as necessary for more laundry detergent.
Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
Make your own laundry soap for pennies

That’s it! Making your own laundry detergent for pennies is that easy! Save money and lower your grocery bill by making this quick, low-cost detergent. I’ve been pleased with the stain-removing power of this recipe and I know you will be too! I’d love to hear what you do to save money in your household. 

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other ways to be organized? Learn more about 5 Steps to Decluttering Books

5 Steps To Decluttering Books

Unsure how to downsize your home library? Here are 5 steps to decluttering books to make curating your collection simple.

5 steps to decluttering books

I’m a recovering book addict. I love to read. But even more to the point, I love books. I love digging into them beside a fire and if it’s cold or raining outside, all the better. I love decorating with them around the house. My husband is also an avid reader, so when we first got married and combined our book collections, tough choices had to be made. As our family has grown, so has our book collection. The addition of children’s books has transformed our house into what looks like our own personal library branch. But I also love cleanliness and order. I love bright open spaces and organization.

I have to be honest. Downsizing books is one of the hardest things I declutter. I have a difficult time parting with them. Today I’m sharing 5 steps to decluttering books. These are some questions I ask myself to make the process easier. Maybe they’ll help you too.

1) Is it functional?

I’m all for a good, broken-in book. Like a comfy shoe, some worn pages are the sign of a well-loved book. That’s not what I mean. Some books are more than just well-loved. Little hands rip books. Too many bubble bath reading sessions cause wrinkled pages. Worn spines don’t always hold pages together. It seems pretty basic, but I have found myself holding onto books I couldn’t even read. Be real with yourself as to whether or not you can actually read it.

2) Do I have space for it?

The space on your book shelf is prime real estate. If you like to read, new books will always be entering your house, which means, you’ll need to seriously consider which books will be allowed on the shelf. I know what you’re thinking! No, the answer is not to buy more shelves. The answer is to be selective, carefully editing what you allow in your home. In a pinch, you can consider alternative uses, such as staging a coffee table or bedside table. I once read a quote by designer Nate Berkus.

Be a ruthless editor of what you allow in your home. Ask yourself, ‘what does this object mean to me?’

Nate Berkus

Be choosy. Consider that you’re books are actually a carefully curated library.

3) Did I enjoy it?

Be honest with yourself. Good books are hard to put down. If you never finished the book, consider that maybe you didn’t enjoy it as much as you would have liked. It doesn’t matter how much your friend loved it or how great the review was. If you struggled to read it or never went back to it, it wasn’t your favorite. Keeping it out of guilt or in the hopes that you might pick it back up, isn’t realistic. If you didn’t read it when it was new to you and you were both interested and motivated, you probably won’t do it later.

4) Do I have it digitally or in some other format?

Maybe this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you aren’t like me, but I have actually found duplicates. For some reason, my son had three copies of Little Blue Truck likely because of gift-giving. I had a copy of one of Max Lucado’s books in both audiobook and print. It happens. If you have it somewhere else or in another format, choose one and remove the other. Also consider if it’s something you might not read again – or read very often – you may just want to get it from a library instead of wasting space with it.

5) Is it timeless?

There are many books that stand the test of time. They are classics and always will be. I reckon even in another hundred years, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will still be a classic and for that reason, I’ll never part with it. It will always be a favorite of mine. If you have something you read again and again, keep it. If it’s a non-fiction book, ask yourself if it offers information that will still be relevant in a few years. It took a long time for my parents to come to terms with the fact that their World Book Encyclopedias, even though they cost $1,500 when they bought it, are no longer relevant. It’s no one’s fault. Times change. Don’t be afraid to part with that $200 textbook that is no longer accurate.

No one likes decluttering, but it’s especially hard when it comes to a treasure trove of books. Hopefully, these 5 steps to decluttering books will help you, but I’d love to hear what you do!

Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. If you’re looking for more decluttering help, read 50 Things to Throw Away Right Now and the 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more subscriber only FREEBIES before you leave.