Chat Between Chapters: How do you organize your bookshelves?

February 2, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 64



 Genre? Color? Title? Hardback/paperback? Height? Alphabetical by author last name? How do YOU organize your bookshelves?


Julie Review Avatar Julie:

So I’m moving into a bigger house and will finally have my own library (OMG! yes!). Currently I have random books on random bookshelves all over the house where I had room. As you can see below, this is how my bookshelves currently look prior to the move. I have random books in random places, fit wherever they will fit, with no specific way of organizing. This makes it really hard to find a specific book.

julie-bookshelf3 julie-bookshelf2 julie-bookshelf1

But now I want to consolidate them into their own space. BUT – I don’t know how to organize them! So I’m asking you wonderful readers – tell me how you organize your own shelves at home!

Do you organize by: Genre? Author’s name? Both?

Is your home bookshelf like a library or bookstore, or is it a mis-match of random book storage like mine is currently?


Rose review avatar Rose:

I have my library currently set up with three books shelves. (its a small room). I arrange my books according to genre/subject.  I have a self help/spiritual/Christian living section. I have a Bible section (because I own several) and I have a text book section from my days as an English major. I have a classics section. I have a YA section. I have a general fiction section and then I have a series section… In that I have the Outlander books, the Sookie Stackhouse novels, the Black Stallion novels, and all the books in Joanna Campbell’s Thoroughbred Series (middle grades series) up until #19… I also have a sell at the used book store stack in the library closet on the floor and another stack on the floor right beside the main book case of TBR’s. Once I have the books organized according to genre, I arrange according to author last name and height/size. My system seems to work pretty good for me. I can usually find whatever I am looking for and having a TBR pile helps with a restraining visual whenever I am at the book store and tempted to buy yet more books… I think my current TBR stack is a shade under 4 feet high.

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64 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: How do you organize your bookshelves?”

  1. Elin

    I have a bookcase and six small boxes on top of it again. I have most english books, since most in my own language and some in english I borrow from the library. I love to buy books, but trying to limit it and borrow most from the library. Since I have not all the world of space, but my dream if I bought my own house, is a my own library! Library with a single desk. So I can sit and write and read books there. In my current bookshelf I have not any particular order, but have tried to collect fantasy books on two shelves and other books on other shelves. And I try to collect books by the same author in the same place.
    Elin recently posted…The 30 Day book challenge: DAY 19. – A favourite author.

    • Rose

      I like how I am all excited when I get a new bookshelf and finally get to have all my books on shelves instead in boxes… and then I buy more… and here come the boxes again. lol.

  2. Julie

    What is this “organization” of which you speak? 😉 We just put up some amazing new shelves and were able to unpack a lot of books we’d had stored away in boxes. Right now, they’re haphazardly arranged by topic – so if I want some YA or some sci-fi/fantasy, I don’t have to search the whole shelving unit. #SITSblogging
    Julie recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Children’s Museum of Denver

  3. Kerri (TheMaven)

    Our books our out of control and mostly still in boxes in storage. We’re trying to just keep special books or books we read over and over. Our kindle has changed how we read but sometimes it’s nice to have that physical book in your hands. Sorry for rambling.

    Nutshell: My bookshelves are chaos.
    Kerri (TheMaven) recently posted…When do you keep a child home from school?

  4. Julie @ Director Jewels

    My bookshelves used to be organized by author, then I got married and my husband organized them all by genre….then we had kids and ran out of space – so now everything is just kind of haphazardly shoved wherever it will fit. 🙁 I dream of having a library someday!

    I love your blog design! I’m a former librarian, so there is nothing I love more than a big pile of books.
    Julie @ Director Jewels recently posted…Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

    • Rose

      Wait did you just say your husband organized you books by genre? Wow. Does he have a brother? I do not think my bf even knows what genre I read let alone how to organize them.

  5. KalleyC

    I find that I organize them by genre, but now I tend to lean towards more ebooks (easy access for me) instead of physical books. My physical books are organized by subject (since they are all historical) hahaha. #SITSBlogging
    KalleyC recently posted…Choosing Love over Hate

    • Rose

      what I really hate is when I cannot seem to find an ebook in my collection. Anyone else ever have this problem?

  6. Stephanie@Fairday's Blog

    I have all the books I haven’t read on certain shelves. Then I keep series together, and I have shelves with my favorites together. The rest of the shelves are grouped by author. 🙂 Happy organizing!

    • Rose

      I am beginning to think I need more shelves. I would like to have my books I have yet to read on a completely separate shelf.

  7. Kristen

    Well, the anal retentive among us (aka me) separate them read versus unread and then by hardback, trade paperback, and mass market fiction. Then within those distinct groups, I alphabetize by author. The only exception to that rule are the romances which are separate and alphabetized by author within themselves rather than the general mass market sized books. I have more than 10,000 books (yes, I really did put that many zeros on the end of that number) so I have to have a system that makes them easy to lay hands on if I need them. 🙂
    Kristen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday

  8. Rissi

    Right now mine are semi-organized by genre on my “main” shelf. On the secondary, smaller one I have, it’s sort of by series and some genres and of course, I also bunch together any books that I have to review. Either way, organizing ones shelf is kind of a fun task for this book-lovin’ girl. 🙂

    Have fun!
    Rissi recently posted…Top Ten Books that Will Make You Cry

  9. Rinn

    I DID have it by genre, but then I got bored and put all my favourites in the most obvious place (plus where I’d bought new books, they were just shoved in wherever regardless of genre) and also by genre, then the rest just by genre. Although it got a bit mixed up because there were so many books to go through and I got fed up, haha…
    Rinn recently posted…Feature: Monthly Roundup, January 2014

  10. Berls

    I don’t own a lot of physical books anymore. I have one bookshelf right now and teh top 3 shelves are school books that I HAVE to read (even though I really don’t want to lol). The next shelf are my fun books – double stacked both vertically and horizontally – by series. the bottom two shelfs are books I kept from undergrad because I loved them, foreign language books (like dictionaries and grammar tools; for my studies I read in Latin, French, Spanish, and Hebrew), and cook books (that I never use, but hang on to in hopes that one day I will become a great cook LOL)

    Congrats on the library Julie – I’m super envious and hope you’ll share pictures once you get setup.
    Berls recently posted…Claimed by a Demon King | Cover Reveal

  11. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I actually don’t own that many paper books anymore. As I don’t live in the US, and books are very expensive here, I have been buying my books from amazon ever since amazon started selling books and sending them overseas. Once I was able to get a kindle, I was ecstatic!

    I do organize my kindle, though. I have one shelf for ARCs, and all the series I read have their own shelf as well. Most of the actual books I have are for Uni, and they are organized by the classes they are needed for.

    Congrats on your new library, Julie 🙂
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never #1) – J.A. Redmerski

  12. Braine Talk Supe

    Cool shelves & congrats Julie to getting your reading cave!

    I arrange mine by height coz some shelves are taller than the rest. Then I separate the arcs & other prints from the pubs from books I bought, won or was gifted to me. I prioritize the ARCs since I request some of those. Then when I’m done I put it in a box and keep it in the garage so I can pretend that my book collection is “small” LOL.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Like It: Cherished by Kelly Elliott

    • Rose

      Ha, pretending your collection is small. I like that. Hear that Julie? It is not hoarding if you hide part of your collection and pretend it is small! Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie

      Yea I used to have piles of books I want to get to soon, but they just kept growing. I did have one bookshelf where the books I wanted to read soon were pulled out a bit (so not pushed all the way back with the others), so they stood out visually. I might do that again if it doesn’t turn into the whole shelf that way heh.

  13. Kim @ The Avid Reader

    My bookshelves are mostly in my living room, with one bookcase in my bedroom. Right now they’re less organized than usual, because I’m planning to move in the next few months so I’ve been slowly neglecting keeping my books sorted. Generally I sort by genres. Within each genre I sort by author, and I keep series together. I will say that I often end up with a series in which some books are paperback and some are hardcover and I HATE THAT but it keeps happening! If I had my way, all of my books would be trade paperbacks. Sigh.

    I always see books organized by color on Pinterest and while visually I looooooove that, I know that I would go insane separating series/authors like that. Plus I have A LOT of books so I’d never be able to find anything!
    Kim @ The Avid Reader recently posted…Saturday Summary: 2/01/14

  14. SweetMarie83

    Mine are pretty much sorted into genres, and within each section, my favourite books go first, and then of the ones I haven’t read, they’re basically in order of how I want to read them. To anyone else, it wouldn’t make sense but it makes sense to me. Since I have more books than shelves, I have my favourite series (Harry Potter, Anne of Green, Chronicles of Narnia) displayed on tables/the fireplace/random available surfaces with book ends, and then the rest stacked wherever there’s room. I can’t wait to see pics of your new (purple) library, Julie!
    SweetMarie83 recently posted…Book Haul + What’s Happening (2014 #1)

    • Rose

      As long as you can find whatever you need when you need it (or want to read it) and it works for you, then it is all good! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Holly Letson

    First off, I don’t keep books I have already read, so any book(s) people see on my shelves I have *not* read. Having said that, I sort my books by series and number mostly.
    That means that all my horse books are on one row of the bookshelf: Saddle Club, Thoroughbred, Ashleigh, Hoofbeats, PonyPals, etc. except for the Pine Hollow books on top of the bookshelf.
    I also have one entire bookshelf that I use for manga and graphic novels. Unlike most people’s shelves that I see online, I have 2 rows of every of my shelf and also 3 stacks on top of each of the rows. I cannot afford to use front row space for photographs or what-nots, since I have so many books. I use 3 cases, and my books are stacked to the ceiling on top of those cases, and some still don’t fit on the shelves. …. My FB has several pictures of my bookcases. You can check them out.

    • Julie

      Wow, how do you manage to part with the lovelies? I think it is amazing that you don’t keep a book after you’ve read it. I have a hoarding problem.

      • Holly Letson

        I think it doesn’t bother me as much to part with books after I have read them, because I’m not the type to reread books. Also, I like seeing the look on other’s people’s face when they purchase a book for me or trade me for it, knowing that they’re getting to read something they haven’t read (or maybe completing a series they read as a child that they want to keep).

        I think it’s mostly a space problem….LOL. I do still have lots of books around.

  16. Bea @Bea's Book Nook

    I have bookshelves in every room except the bath. I organize by genre then within that by author then series. IF I have both hardcover and paperback, the hardcovers are shelved at the back, with paperbacks in front.

    My bedroom has my mysteries, romances, and speculative fiction. The kitchen, rather unimaginatively, has cookbooks; the office has reference books and the living room is a mish mash. The living room has four bookcases: one whole bookcase with work-related books, two shelves of another bookcase with books for the blog, and the rest is mythology, fairy tales, religion, philosophy, psychology, humor, health, and classics.

    Play around with different shelving systems to find what works for you. It can always be changed!
    Bea @Bea’s Book Nook recently posted…Sunday Book Share #74

    • Rose

      I wish I could keep books in everyone room in my house, but my dog would probably eat them and my boyfriend would probably hate me.

  17. Lynn Poppe

    I have all of my books still packed from when I moved 2 years ago. I should probably get on the unpacking. Good tips!

  18. Cheryl Hart

    I organize my books by author’s last name so each author’s books are together. I ONLY place the books horizontally on the shelves – stacking them on top of each other makes it difficult to pull one book out without tumbling the others over, and also doesn’t look organized.

    I’m somewhat of an organizational freak and very anal. 😉
    Cheryl Hart recently posted…Choosing Gratitude

    • Rose

      I wish I had more room and I would not put books stacked two different ways, but I ran out of room. It used to bother me, but not anymore. lol.

    • Rose

      I understand that it is pretty to organize books by color, but that is confusing for me when I am trying to find a book. Size makes sense because my shelves are adjustable and I want tall books with other tall books and short books with short books etc…

  19. J. Hooligan

    Classics. Signed books. Books I need to read. That’s the only order. I used to have time to organize them by height, but that was before I had a toddler that liked to reorganize them because he’s a butt.
    J. Hooligan recently posted…Unremarkable Blog Tour

    • Rose

      haha while I do not have a child, I do have a dog. And he is a butt. I used to read in my library all the time. But the dog cannot go into my library because he will eat my books. SO I do not have my library organized as well as I would like either.

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