3 Questions To Help You Feng Shui Your Books & An Energy-Shifting Tip
It's a tale as old as time: A few books you want to read morphs into a leaning tower you'll never get to, which not only taunts you, but also takes up space. To figure out what to do with all those unread books, you can turn to feng shui—an ancient design philosophy that seeks to balance the elements and energy within a home. It can be helpful everywhere from your bedroom to your garden to—yes—even your bookshelf.
Here are three top tips from Amanda Gibby Peters, creator of Simple Shui, on how to sort through your beloved collection. She also shares a killer organizational hack that will change the energy of your space (we did it and can confirm the effects).
3 questions to help you sort through your shelves (or piles) of books.
"A good edit of the shelves is a must," Peters tells mbg. "While you might love some of their company, you probably don't feel that way about all of them." Peters provided us with a list of questions to start with for pairing down our shelves to a more manageable organized chaos, and they can help you narrow down what you really want to keep:
Are there a few books you just didn't love or never finished?
Perhaps the most obvious of the questions, this one is still important to ask yourself again. It can be hard to part with something you spent money on but regret, but it's important to do. If you're holding on to books that you don't love or haven't finished (and don't plan to finish), get rid of them! Donate to local libraries, schools, or organizations that help distribute them.
What no longer aligns with your journey today?
The example Peters gave us was empty-nesters who are holding on to parenting books when there are no longer children under the roof. Some other cases? Maybe those old textbooks or that book an ex swore you'd love. Sentimental items like this can be tough to part with, but it's important to let things go that don't suit you anymore.
If you white glove the rest of your collection, are any dusty?
Ah, the white glove test. Sometimes horrifying, but extremely effective. Dusty is generally a good indicator of disuse and can be the last push to help you part with tomes you're holding on to.
A hack to help you energetically organize what's left.
It's also important to consider how the books that are left over are affecting the energy of your space. "If you are feeling stuck in a rut, look at your bookshelves," said Peters. "While stacks are a stylish way to display those bestsellers, it can sometimes overemphasize the energy of Earth." (In feng shui, balancing the five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal and water—is key.)
She recommends turning the books vertically instead, even if it's not as fashionable: "This invites the energy of Wood into your environment, which will help break through that stagnation."
Already have your books stored vertically? It may be contributing to feelings of overwhelm. "If you are feeling like you never get anything done or you start more projects than you complete, do the opposite," wrote Peters. "Interrupt those lined shelves with a few stacks of books to bring in more Earth energy." Increasing Earth energy in the home can help us feel more grounded and settled.
And with that, you're ready for a cozy afternoon of reading.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.