QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I did some year-end cleaning as you advocated, but got stuck on all my books! What do you suggest?

Symbolizing knowledge, books can be a great and wonderful support in the home, as long as you know how to manage them. Too many books can feel “heavy” energetically, weighing down the home; but if organized, dust-free and strategically placed on spacious shelves, they also can work as a grounding tool. I will start with one myth I constantly hear.

Books in the bedroom are bad feng shui

Beware of absolute rules about what constitutes “good” or “bad” feng shui. Books in the bedroom are not “bad” per se, but you do not want too many overtaking the space.


The books in your bedroom should promote a harmonious flow of nurturing energy, pulling you in, yet promoting calm. With that thought in mind, the type of books you keep in the bedroom is pivotal. For example, “How to Honor Myself” is better in the bedroom than “Nightmare on Elm Street.”


Downsizing your books

From time to time, book lovers have to ask themselves, “What do I do with all these books?”

Go through every bookshelf or box of books and count the number of books you have. Then, set a goal, such as decreasing the number of books you own by 20 percent. Next, do the math. If you have 100 books, you will have to let go of 20 of them. I promise that picking out those 20 books is much easier than you think.

If you need parameters, ask yourself these questions to decide what to let go of:


• Have I read it? Will I ever read it again? Keep what you haven’t read.
• Dispose of “expired” books, such as medical reference and travel books you have had over “x” number of years.
• If you have cookbooks, whose recipes you have never used, you probably never will.
• If you need an answer will you look for it in the particular book, or on the Internet?
• Do you have the book on your electronic reader?

Avoid packing books for storage. You will more than likely be moving clutter from one place to another, and it is unlikely that you will go through boxes just to find that one book in the future.

As far as good bookshelf feng shui goes,, follow these guidelines:

• Create a system. Organize the books by title, subject or author.
• Dust them off.
• Leave space. Leave blocks of space on your bookshelves for figurines, decorative book-ends, paperweights or anything visually pleasing.


You will be amazed at how clearing out and dressing up just one bookcase will change the energy of your home!

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment, where you’ll find inspiring classes geared toward personal growth and self development. Visit