Never Ending Organization

A few weeks ago my classmate, Lee Bannister, blogged about her childhood bookshelf. I can share in her sentiments because the one bookshelf we had in our house was not filled with books, but with movies. VHS tapes to be exact. So growing up I’ve had to build my own library and bookshelf.

Now I wish I had a picture to show you all what my bookshelf started out like, but I don’t. However, I can show you what it looks like now. Voilà!

All the physical books I own, minus a few here and there.

All the physical books I own, minus a few here and there.

A little closer look.

A little closer look.

Now as you can see, my bookshelf is not very organized. It used to be, but I got the crazy idea I wanted to reorganize it one November night when I was home…and this was the result. Normally I have all my smaller books on top, like shown, and the rest below that. And each book is in alphabetical order by their author’s last name.

This seems to be the most common way to organize a bookshelf and it’s not a bad one. But it’s how my shelf has looked since I got it two years ago. So I went on a hunt for some tips on how I could rearrange a bookshelf. Some of the blogs or websites I found had some pretty neat ideas.

Here is a compiled list with 9 of those ideas.

  1. Alphabetical: Put your books in ABC order based on their title or by author’s name.
  2. Spinal/Book Color: Make an inverted rainbow! Organize your books based on the color of their spine to make any pattern you want. You could even try to make an image or symbol (or something much cooler)!
  3. Genre/Content: Separate your books based on the genres they are categorized in, either your own categorization or what the publisher categorizes them as. An idea for content would be to separate them by main characters: male protagonist vs. female, older protagonist vs. younger, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  4. Emotion: Organize your books based on your emotional response to them. This could be an interesting experiment if most of your books cause an emotional response. How would you organize them then?
  5. Publisher: Put your books in order based on their publisher. Now this you could do at random or by alphabetical order.
  6. Secrecy: Hide the spines of your books! That way whenever you are looking for a book, you have a fun guessing game. And maybe you’ll run into that one old book you love but might have forgotten.
  7. Chronological: This would be hard to do, but if you want to take the time to see when the books were published you could organize your shelf by year. Or even by when the setting of the book takes place.
  8. Most Used: Do you have a set of favorite books that you read often? Well why not put them together and organize your shelf by the books you read most often. You can even do this with your TBR pile.
  9. Spinal Poetry: This one seems really interesting and creative if you want to take a stab at it. Create a poem or even a story out of the titles of your books. What can you come up with?

So which organization method is your favorite? Is there a method you have that’s not on this list? I know I am going to try some of these the next time I’m home.


10 thoughts on “Never Ending Organization

  1. Hah! These are really creative. I definitely want to try the emotion, secrecy (although, I might get really frustrated with it and quit), and publisher organization methods. I also really like Cathy’s idea of sorting books by color, too. I’m not brave enough to try spinal poetry. Fantastic ideas.

  2. I organize mine by genre, then author and series, if possible. Top shelf is classics, next three shelves are fantasy and then the bottom shelf is YA lit. On the other bookshelf, the top shelf is large series books (aka Harry Potter) and rare Japanese books (away from cat) and then the next couple are manga and textbooks. It really depends on what kind of reader you are, I think.

  3. These are some pretty neat ideas. I actually have a bed with little cubby shelves built in on the headboard. I like to separate them by type of book (series, stand-alone, graphic novels), but it gets a little tricky when I realize that the shelves are too small for some of my bigger books.

  4. Interesting. I’ve never been one for organization; I mean I can hardly keep my room clean, much less my bookshelf. I have nearly 80 books that are simply scattered in piles around my room, with the bulk of them on a shelf in no particular order. I rely solely on recognizing book spines for identifying my books, and I did the same thing for my dvd/video game collection.

  5. I love the ideas on how to re-organize your books! I agree with Brittany – those odd size books can be a pain in the butt. And I love the spine poetry that I’ve seen! I run across an image of it online every so often, but have never done it – maybe a good spring break project!

  6. I really like the idea of making a story out of all the titles on your shelf. Wish mine wasn’t 2 and half hours away. I miss my book shelf more than I miss my dog sometimes.

  7. I really thought that this was helpful. I can definitely see myself giving this advice to another fellow reader as well using it as well. I really needed a new system, because with all the books I have and limited space. Thank you so much for writing this and giving me a new idea.

  8. I like the idea of organizing them chronologically by setting (I read a lot of historical fiction). You could also do it chronologically by when you read them. If you put always the book you read last on the top left, then you can start back at the bottom right and read something you haven’t seen in a while.

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