If you’re a book lover, chances are you have a lot of hard copy books to store. Here are 6 ideas on how to organize your bookshelves, along with some additional tips.
Simple Organization Techniques
1. By Title
The most simple organization system is alphabetically, by title. This makes finding a book easy as long as you know the title, but it’s not the best for someone who is browsing your shelves to organically find new books to try.
2. By Genre
You could organize your bookshelves by genre, which does allow for better browsing. It can be difficult, though, to decide what book belongs in which genre, so this will require a lot of personal preference.
3. By Author
This method is doubly useful because most authors write in the same genre, so organizing by author also provides some genre organization. It also makes it easy to find and read other books by authors you love.
You could organize your books based on the time period they cover or are set in.
5. By Size and/or Color
Some people just want their books to look pretty, so organizing by size and color my work best for them. I personally find this method unhelpful for book browsing, and since book browsing and reading is my main goal, I don’t organize my books this way. But if you’re not one to reread books and you like the visual appeal, this method may work for you.
6. By Read and Unread
If you have a lot of unread books, this could be a good way to track them. It will require a frequent shuffling of books, though, assuming you’re making your way through the unread bookcase.
A Combination of Techniques
Combining techniques can result in the perfect system. You could organize by author, followed by alphabetically by title. Or you can do what most bookstores do, which is to organize by genre, then author, then title. You could also organize by author, and then by color, and so on.
The method that will work best for you depends on your browsing and reading habits. I personally put my fiction and nonfiction into separate bookshelves. My nonfiction I organize by subject matter, since when I read nonfiction, I want to learn more about a particular topic; author and titles are less important to me. For my fiction, I organize first by author name, since I identify books I like by the author. After organizing by author, I organize by series order, since that’s how I read, and it makes grabbing the next book easy. Even if the author’s books aren’t in a series, they are often placed in the same world and can be organized chronologically. If the books aren’t related to each other at all, I admit I then organize them according to height.
Buy Nice-Sized Bookcases
I’ve seen a lot of those half-sized bookcases out there, and they just don’t fit many books. You’ll want full-sized, sturdy bookcases. And if you can afford to get more than one at a time, you can be sure that your bookcases will match. If not, make sure to note the color and where you bought it from so it’s easy to order a similar one in the future (seriously, there are so many colors of wood out there, making a note is a good idea).
Leave Some Room
If you tend to buy book series in pieces like I do, or you know an author you like has more books coming out that you intend to eventually buy, leave a bit of room for these books on your shelves. Until you buy the books, you can fill the space with cool bookends. Then when you get the books, you don’t have to reorganize all your bookcases.
How do you organize your bookshelves? We'd love to hear in the comments below!