SEPTEMBER 1, 2021
If your book collection has gotten out of control, you need to come up with a system to keep your bookshelves clean (and show off your favorite books). These are our top book organization ideas to help you keep your book collection under control!
And first, you need to declutter:
~ The first edit of your book collection should be books you bought (or were given) that you didn’t end up liking very much.
~ Consider pulling out any books you enjoyed but realistically will not pick up again.
~ If you have specific friends you think would love certain books, put these in a tote bag and put them in your car — better to actually pass them along than to just think about it!
~ Donate unwanted books to a local library or Goodwill, or, if you want to make a little extra cash, bring them to a local used-book seller.
1. Separate your hard covers and paperbacks
An easy idea for book organization is to organize them by format - hardcover or paperback. This creates a more streamlined look on your bookshelves and you can continue to break them down within these categories. It’s also a great way to organize if you’re a visual person.
2. Arrange your books by color
This organization strategy is ideal if you’re the type of reader who tends to associate certain stories with their covers, or if you’re just really into the idea of statement bookshelves. The best part about this method is that you can get super creative - stack your colors, try an ombre pattern, or opt for a rainbow look.
This is the most popular method right now - but the good news is that you can always change how your books are arranged in the future. It is definitely the most visually stunning method out there and allows some gorgeous sweeps of varying hues that are incredibly pleasing to the eye. You could arrange them into some type of pattern within the color coding or even cover your books with different colored paper so that the sections are clear.
3. Don’t be afraid to stack books
Keeping all your books in neat rows is a thing of the past! If you want a handful of select books to stand out, stack them. You can stack by theme, cover, or size. Keep stacks on their own or use them to break up a row. There is no wrong way to do it.
4. Organize books by genre or subject
Group your mysteries together, your travel memoirs, your 18th century English literature, cookbooks, etc. Organizing by genre and subject makes it a cinch to find the right book for your current mood and interest. You’ll know exactly where to look when you need to satisfy your World War II curiosity or want a little more romance to spice up a Saturday night.
This is perhaps the most popular non-visual idea to organize your books. It’s smart because titles can be tough to remember, but if you can just think of whether your book had an elf or not, there’s a good bet you’ll find what you’re looking for. Your literary fiction goes with other literary fiction, your science fiction near your fantasy, your poetry next to other poets and so on. There are some titles that can get a little confusing, and might easily fit within two different genres. For these titles, pick the genre that resonates with you more.
5. Display your favorite books front and center
A more simple approach is to organize your books based on how much you like them. The books you feel obligated to keep can go on the bottom shelf where no one can see them, and you can put your prized reads at eye-level, or on a side table for easy access. This makes it less easy for others to find a specific book - but its most important that you can.
6. Organize your books alphabetically
Alphabetical organization works best if you remember book titles and author names more than genres and plot points. It’s also ideal if your collection of books is really massive and more closely resembles a mini library. Even better than the sense of accomplishment you’ll get from organizing your books this way? The satisfaction you’ll feel when your friend stops by to borrow a book and you know exactly where to find it.
If you are using this approach, consider titles that begin with “The” using the second word so that you don't have 80% of your book collection together in the middle of the shelf!
7. Group together the books you haven’t read yet
Gather all the books you haven't read and place them in their own section (the TBR or To Be Read Section). This way they don’t get lost among the other titles. Give them their own shelf (or a couple of them) to remind you of the ones that haven’t been cracked open. If you stay honest with yourself and keep noticing you veto a specific title over and over again, it may be time to let them go. Once you finish a book, ask yourself if it was a favorite you want to keep, or if it would be better off donating as well.
This approach also works really well with number 5 - keep your favorites front and center!
8. Arrange your books by height and size
One of our favorite book organization ideas for aesthetics is to keep books of similar size and height together to give your collection a clean, uncluttered feel. The goal here is to create straight, even lines with the tops of your books, and to eliminate the staggered mountaintop rows. This approach can be particularly good if you have a lot of books of varying sizes and heights. Grouping them together by size can help to maximize your shelf space.
This is also something great to incorporate into some of the other approaches as well. Once you have your categories the way you want them, organize by height to make them more visually appealing. (The larger ones on the outside is usually what I recommend!)
A fun way to use this approach is to also stack your books both vertically and horizontally to mix up and use shelf storage. This also allows you to use some of your thicker books as bookends.
9. Separate fiction and nonfiction
Every bookstore around the world uses this method because it is simple and classic. Group fiction books together and store everything else in another spot. This is the easiest way of organizing your books. Every bookstore around the world uses this method - it is simple and classic. Just separate your fiction from your nonfiction and go from there. Within these, you can organize by size, color, genre etc
Another favorite across social media - as it creates a cohesive look across the shelves, is to turn your books around so that the paper edge shows. While this way can create a more streamlined look, it’s not entirely functional since you can’t see the titles.
If you need more book organization ideas or guidance for your bookshelves, contact us to schedule a free consultation!
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