Clearing the Clutter – Part 1 – Books by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In Writers
Jan 20th, 2013

books 2 When is it time to clear out some of your clutter?  As Beth Morrissey said in The Writer Magazine, (p. 11, 2010, not sure month), it’s time when “disarray” has reached “dismay.”  So what to do, what to do?

Let’s start with ten tips for dealing with your books.  Writers have many, many books.  We’re starting with our books as a way of clearing the clutter because you will see an immediate improvement and will be motivated to continue with some of the de-cluttering that may be more difficult.

  1. Buy book ends.
  1. Stand up all your books that are on shelves with their spines out.
  1. Grab any and all books that are lying on their sides and put them in the vertical position.
  1. Grab any and all books that are lying face down on flat surfaces.  Put a post it note on the page so that it extends past the edge of the page.  Write down the reason you had this page marked (i.e., why it was lying face down).  If you can’t remember why, just close the book and put it on the shelf vertically (spine out, of course).
  1. Look in the drawers of  your work space.  If there are books in any of them, put them on the shelves, too.
  1. Look in your file cabinet drawers and if you see books there, put them on your book shelves.
  1. You should now have every book you own on a book shelf, placed vertically, with the spine out.
  1. Start on the topmost shelf on the bookshelf that is the furthest from your desk.  Regardless of whether it contains 20, 30, or 40 books, remove one of those books to give away to someone else.  If you are so inspired, challenge yourself to remove more than one book, but you must at least release one book from each one of the bookshelves.
  1. Challenge yourself to ultimately have 6″ of free shelf on each of your bookshelves that contains books.  That means 6″ of each individual shelf.  Note:  This is why you needed bookends because your shelves are not ultimately going to be “edge to edge/wall to wall” with books.
  1. Set aside 15″ each day toward this project.

© Meggin McIntosh, PhD (also known as “The PhD of Productivity”®) works and writes happily in her home office – with two monitors. One of the ways that you can learn from Meggin about productive writing is through her 30 Articles in Just 30 Days program (

And if you liked these tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® to Ridding Your Workspace of Clutter part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.