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How to clean and organize bookshelves

How to clean and organize bookshelves

For many of us, our bookshelf serves as the perfect background for video calls when working from home. They make us look studious while saying a lot about our personality. Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to give our bookcases some tender loving care. Not only does a clean, well-organized bookshelf make the whole room seem brighter and less cluttered, but it’s also soothing for the soul.

So if you’ve got a cluttered bookshelf or one that’s gathering dust, here’s how to clean it and the books in it to make them last longer

Spring cleaning the bookshelf

If you think this could be a big task (let’s be honest, it probably is), you could recruit some helpers—either your spouse or kids. 

1. Remove everything

Think of it as starting with a clean slate. Remove all ornaments and books to make your job easier—with the purpose of putting them back later. Clean any décor items like photographs or vases. 

2. Vacuum

It’s amazing how much dust bookshelves gather, especially in those little nooks and crannies. Get rid of larger debris, dust and cobwebs by vacuuming. Don’t forget behind and under the bookshelf! 

3. Clean the bookcase

Arm yourself with a microfiber cloth. Dust the shelves from the top down using furniture polish. A damp microfiber cloth catches dust better than a normal cleaning rag.

4. Treat scratches

Well-loved bookcases can develop scratches over time. Get rid of scratches on wood or laminate with a scratch repair product or home remedies, such as wiping a scratch on wood with a walnut or a wax crayon. Both are said to help minimize scratch marks.  

5. Clean books

The books are out, so it’s time to clean them! Give each book a wipe with a lightly damp cloth or dust rag. Don’t saturate the book cover; you simply want to wipe away any dust build-up. 

How to clean and organize bookshelves

6. Sort and replace books

Time to put the books back in whatever way you want to sort them. Organize books by color, by genre, alphabetically, by size or even by frequency—putting your most-read books at eye level. Whatever floats your boat! Use the reorganizing process to bid farewell to books you no longer read (or have no interest in reading), tattered books and duplicate copies. Pass them on to friends or donate them to a local thrift store.

Tip: Check the largest book on the shelf to see if you need to adjust any shelves so that even your largest books can stand up proud.

Wow your colleagues on your next Zoom call, or simply feel an increased sense of calm from your clean, uncluttered bookcase! For more spring-cleaning tips and tricks, like how to clean your kitchen or car, go here