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How To Organize Your Bookshelves

books in black wooden book shelf
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Your Personal Library

We’ve talked about posting books on Instagram and becoming a #bookstagrammer. What happens when you build up a substantial library? You’ll want to show off your reading material.

We’ve got some ideas on how to organize your books and bookshelves in a few eye-catching ways.

Bibliophiles love their sorting their collections. Now that being bookish is all the rage, it’s natural to want to share images of books with friends and followers. But it’s possible to get too caught up in the aesthetics and ignore practicality.

Stop Rearranging Your Bookshelves

This past week I read a fascinating article from https://inews.co.uk/ on this topic.

I used to spend hours arranging my books until I realised it was a colossal waste of time and changed my ways.

Kasia Delgado wrote:

I support those who want to arrange their bookshelves in artful ways, but it can go too far. I had a dream before moving to a new flat this month in which I was arranging my shelf for so long that each book began disintegrating and I started to eat the pages. In the morning, I decided enough was enough and I vowed to change my ways… As I unpacked my moving boxes, I forced myself to put books on the shelves arbitrarily.

KASIA DELGADO, INEWS

So while playing around with different looks is fun, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.

Also, don’t be afraid to cull your hoard. You can donate your books (in good condition, of course) to libraries, hospitals, thrift stores like Salvation Army & Savers, used bookstores, and charities.

Where I live, we have The Book Fairies, a program that donates books to schools and organizations in the Long Island/ New York City area.

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There Are Many Ways to Arrange Your Books

There are a variety of ways to organize your books.

Alphabetize by any category you want. Set hardcovers separate from paperbacks. Organize by size, trade backs with trade backs and standard paperbacks together.

Books should provide comfort, so it’s essential to present them in a way that brings you peace. Choose whatever makes the most sense for your needs, whether decorative or practical.

By Author

One of the simplest methods of grouping your assortment of volumes is by author name.

If an author is on your automatic to-buy list, you’ll want to keep them all together!

Here are some historicals by Deana James–one of my favorite romance writers–stacked in a pile (a couple of them are in storage) for easy access.

Deana James
Deana James Books, Jacqueline’s Collection

Likewise, I’ve organized some of these paperback romances similarly. While this arrangement is more random, if you look closely, you’ll see I’ve sorted out my Lisa Kleypas romances into one section.

Other authors, like Day Taylor & Roberta Gellis, have their books organized near each other.

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Romance Novels from Jacqueline’s Collection

Organize By Color

One of the hottest ways to exhibit your reads is by color. White shelving is another big thing. You can go all-white to match the bookcase for a minimalistic approach.

collection of books in bookshelves
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Of course, what’s the fun of arranging by color if you only choose one hue? Make a rainbow out of your library, and don’t worry about the rest. Give ROY G BIV a try and see if this is the right fit for you.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Subject Matter/ Dewey Decimal System

Channel your inner librarian by placing your books by subject matter.

I’ve amassed a little collection of volumes on Spanish/Hispanic history (Also pictured are a few books about pirates. Pirates raided Spanish ships, so there you go, that’s my reasoning for putting them together.)

These books would be filed under the 900 Class in the Dewey Decimal system for historical or geographical books. Remember the Dewey Decimal system? Remember using index card files to search for books?

arrange books by type
Jacqueline’s Books on Spanish/Hispanic History (and Pirates!)

Spine Facing Inward

Are the spines on your books too cracked? Don’t want viewers to know what dirty reads are on your shelf, like Taken by the T-Rex? (It’s an actual book. There’s a whole subgenre of dinosaur erotica out there! Billionaire dinosaurs, too!)

My inner aesthete and librarian both shudder at this popular trend. However, many appreciate the clean look of pages bound by their covers.

Add a plant or photo frame next to it, and you’re set with a contemporary look for your library.

bookcase with assorted books between tropical plants at home
Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

By Publisher/Imprint

Do you have a particular publisher or imprint that you love? One way to organize your books is by line, series, or publisher.

I collect Harlequin Presents. I have about 1,000 of them, just one-quarter of how many are published.

To my eyes, the (typically) white covers make them a little bland-looking. So the black case makes them pop out.

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Jacqueline’s Collection of Harlequin Presents

Reaching up to the ceiling, placed on the tippy-top of one shelf, I’ve put my unread Zebra romances together. Next to them are ones published by Dorchester.

You can’t see it from here, but these are stacked vertically and are three deep. That’s nine stacks of roughly 13 books each, for a total of 117 books.

How do I get to them? Very carefully with a step stool. šŸ˜

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Jacqueline’s Shelf of Assorted Zebra and Dorchester Romances

Books Facing Outward

Want visitors to ooh and aah over your library? Place your books forward so you can show off your reading material! It makes for great conversation starters.

Plus, you get to enjoy looking at any gorgeous cover art that catches your eye, making for a very photogenic shelf.

assorted title books collection
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

Accessorize

Books don’t have to be relegated to a home office or study. Put them in your living areas with home decorations, like plants and knick-knacks.

This makes for a cozy, casual look.

books on brown wooden shelf
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Random Stacking

When you have as many books as I do, anywhere is an excellent place to store your books.

As Kasia Delgado wrote in her article, if it gets too overwhelming or if you’re constantly rearranging your books, stop worrying about perfection. Just put them in random order and delight in the variety of your library.

There doesn’t need to be any rhyme or reason to your organization. Stack some books vertically, with a few leaning against them. Add a little flair (in my case, I plastic plant as I have a brown thumb!), and voila! You’re all set.

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Random Books From Jacqueline’s Library

Now sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine or tea, and admire your books.

Then read one! In the end, that’s what they’re there for. Your enjoyment!