As someone who has been obsessed with books from a young age, could spend a whole day in a bookstore, and who loves a good shelfie moment, you can imagine the number of books I have in my home.
When I first started learning feng shui, I was really dismayed to learn some feng shui practitioners don’t believe you should have many books in your home.
In fact, many feng shui experts see books as clutter (or worse, poison arrows!) and recommend putting them in cabinets and for SURE keeping them out of the bedroom.
So what’s a girl who loves home libraries and also loves feng shui to do? Did I give away all of my books?! (Spoiler alert, the answer is no. ;))
What does feng shui say about books?
Honestly, what feng shui says about books isn’t complicated.
Everything in your home carries an energetic footprint.
This is the basic principle of feng shui.
This means how YOU feel about things in your home, plus the object’s inherent energy, affects how it feels in your space.
If you LOVE books, then they will carry that energy for you.
If you don’t, then of course you might see them as clutter or have negative energy associated with them.
This means what feng shui really says about books is: it depends!
That’s really what feng shui says about everything in your home.
If you love something, keep it in your home!
If you don’t, then don’t keep it in your home.
And yes, that means if you don’t love the vase your family passed down to you from 4 generations ago, you shouldn’t keep that either.
Pass it along to someone who will LOVE it.
Don’t keep low-energy items in your home just because someone said you should or because someone gave it to you.
The other thing that feng shui says about books is that everything in your home has a voice.
Everything is speaking to you on some level or another, which is why having negative feelings about things in your home can bring down the Chi (life-force energy) and stop it from circulating.
So when it comes to feng shui and books, you DO have to consider what kinds of books you have, how you feel about them, and where you keep them.
Anyway, now that we’ve established that books aren’t bad for feng shui, let’s talk about bookshelves and where you should keep books in your home according to feng shui.
Where to Keep Your Books According to Feng Shui
Because books are active items (they carry yang energy, which is active and moving) they work best in areas of your home that are also active.
Living rooms, family rooms, home offices, home libraries or studies, and even dining rooms are more active rooms and can be great places for bookshelves.
They aren’t rooms used for sleeping or resting, and they tend to be enjoyed by the whole household.
Keeping books in these areas will keep the energy circulating and moving throughout your home.
Because books are associated with the feng shui knowledge and wisdom area of your home, keeping them in that area of your home (or that area of the room they’re in) is an especially good energetic pairing!
Should books be kept in your bedroom according to feng shui?
Generally no, because your bedroom should be for sleeping, resting, and connecting with your partner.
As we discussed, bookshelves and books carry active energy, which can disrupt sleeping and resting.
Of course, feng shui is also about balance, so if your bedroom is generally a restful place, you can keep a few books in your bedroom and not cause problems.
What if you want to or have to keep books in your bedroom? Is it okay?
You can definitely keep your books in your bedroom if that works best for you.
Just make sure to follow the feng shui bookshelf tips, and make sure you LOVE every book you’re keeping in your bedroom.
If you find that the books have too much energy, you can try a closed bookcase that can contain them.
Or you can even place a plant or screen in between the bookshelf and the bed.
It can also help to not keep a huge stack of books right next to you while you’re sleeping, too.
Feng Shui Bookshelf Tips
Keep it clean and tidy.
Make sure you dust and keep your bookshelf organized.
Otherwise, it can trap stagnant Chi and bring down the energy.
Keep it updated.
Make sure the books reflect what you currently love.
Try to weed out the books that reflect an old version of you that you don’t want to be anymore.
For example, do you have a lot of books about old hobbies you’re no longer interested in?
Self-help books for issues you don’t have anymore?
Old textbooks that are no longer relevant?
Go through your books at least once a year and weed out the ones that reflect where you’ve been, not where you’re going.
Consider what the books are saying to you.
Are they positive or negative?
Do you want to display them proudly or would you rather no one see them?
Do they reflect how you want your home to feel?
Again, everything in your home has a voice and that is ESPECIALLY true of books.
Consider how you feel when you think about the book – do you want to display it in your home?
Keep it decluttered.
If your bookshelves tend to accumulate other things over time, go through them every few months and declutter them.
If your bookcase tends to attract things that don’t have a home anywhere else, like home decor items and/or knickknacks, it can make it harder to grab a book when you’re thinking about it!
Consider moving ALL of your books to one area.
In feng shui it’s really helpful to give items a home.
It helps to give each room a purpose, plus it tends to keep things more organized.
If you can, try to keep all of your bookshelves in one area, and place all of your books there!
One caveat here: if your children want to keep their books in their rooms, definitely let them!
It’s good for everyone to have space for their own belongings that are “theirs” and no one else touches them.
Helping them organize their own bookcase in their room can really make it feel special for them!
Decluttering Books the Feng Shui Way
If you LOVE books, it can be hard to think about giving away even ONE book.
Trust me, I get this!
What helped me when it came to getting rid of some of my books was to consider these feng shui bookshelf decluttering questions.
You can use these to help you pair down ANY items in your home, but they are especially helpful when considering bookshelf feng shui!
- Do the books reflect what you love right now? Or do they reflect an “old version” of you which is no longer relevant?
- Are the subjects of the books positive or negative? Do they reflect how you want your home to feel?
- Do you have room for them? Do you take care of them?
- Do you display them proudly or hide them away so people won’t see them?
- Do they have a home? Or are they stuffed all over the place?
- Do you take care of them? Does how you take care of them reflect the love you have for them?
- Is there a way you could display them or take care of them better?
- Do they energetically “match” the tone of the room they’re in?
- Would you purchase them again? If you loaned them to an ex, would you ask for them back?
Sometimes it’s helpful to have another person hold up the book when you’re going through this process.
If you are someone who tends to touch the book and then want to keep it, having an intermediary can help you make decisions.
The final thing to remember when it comes to book feng shui is – when you love something, it will always add to the energy of your home, not detract.
So if you LOVE your books and you treat them with love, they will always add to the good Chi circulating in your home!
Don’t ever get rid of something just because feng shui (or anyone else) tells you to!
Just also make sure that you don’t keep things once you’ve outgrown them or no longer love them, and you’ll be well on your way to a home full of amazing feng shui!