I love books. I remember many nights when, as a child, I read books by a dim flashlight. Just one more chapter and then I’ll go to sleep. Which of course is just as easy as eating one potato chip. 

My love for books and their imaginary friends and landscapes have not waned. In fact, it might be a little out of control. I have stacks and stacks of books in every room. The kids have their own stacks too.

I admit I have a book collecting problem. In order for me to stop purchasing books, I no longer visit book stores. I only half participate in the Paperbackswap. My weakness is the used book rack that’s right in the front at my local library. A novel for only fifty cents! How can I resist?

On my night stand, I keep all the books I want to be reading. Of course there’s at least one in the bathroom. There’s a few on my coffee table. My desk is covered in books and papers. There’s no organization to the stacks. Except for the one by my nightstand.

Less I forget, there’s my bookshelf. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you about it. Not only are books crammed every which way on the shelf, but there are piles on top of the shelf as well as boxes of even more, you guessed it, books on the floor. That’s an actual picture of my bookshelf. Clearly I have a problem.

After reading a book about organization, I felt inspired to clear my book clutter. I’m always stepping around my piles or shifting them to find the books I wanted. My books were creating mental clutter as well. They were stressing me out and I didn’t even realize it.

Since I use my cookbooks the most, I started with those. Previously, they sat on the bottom shelf. I moved to the top shelf, where the cookbooks are more accessible and easy to see. If I’m having a cooking rut, I can glance over my volumes of pretty food porn for inspiration.

I also purged some of my books. At first it was tough. Each book I placed in the donate pile felt like giving away hope. Hope for a new revelation, new idea, or a unique inspiration that I would receive once I read the book. Though in reality, I didn’t have time to read them all. As the donation pile grew larger and heavier, it became easier to add more books to it.

I still have more decluttering to do when it comes to my books. So far my cookbook shelf looks great. I’ve rediscovered some of my cookbooks and feel inspired to try new recipes.

I’m diving into my science fiction and fantasy books left. Call for help if I don’t come back in a hour.

Thien-Kim Lam’s book habit is further enabled as editor of her online book club, From Left to Write. She also blogs about parenting and her inner tech geek at I’m Not the Nanny and is constantly taking pictures of her dinner for Cup of Creativi-Tea.