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8 Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

Ever since I started collecting books, I’ve organized my bookshelves in a lot of different ways, and seen pictures of many different bookshelves. Multiple times, I’ve struggled to come up with ideas of new ideas to order the books by when I want a change, so I thought I’d do a blog post about it.

This post is for you if you’ve been thinking your shelves are a little lacking, want to switch things up, and want your bookshelves to be organized in new, different, fun, or creative ways! We bookworms are sometimes a very shallow sort, and beautiful shelves are always pleasing to look at. A nice, organized bookshelf makes me very happy.

This might seem like a flippant topic compared to some of the other things I’ve blogged about (diversity & representation, mainly), and it really is,  but I wanted to do a fun sort of post in case anyone really is looking for ideas on organizing their bookshelves and to see how others organize theirs in the comments.

Without further ado, let’s get into 8 ways to organize your bookshelves.

1) Alphabetically by author’s last name

This isn’t one that I’ve ever done, simply because I don’t find it to be very aesthetically pleasing. But if you’re someone that wants it to be easy to find your books, this is perfect!

2) By color

Rainbow shelves are simply gorgeous. They look amazing in photographs and in real life. The one downside is probably it being more difficult to find your books, especially if you don’t remember the spine color.

3) By genre

I like this one simply because it’s very organized, and makes it easy to find a book to read when I know I’m in the mood for, say, a fantasy book.

4) By height

I also use this method because it looks pretty. When all your books’ heights align with each other, it just makes you happy, right? I put my tall hardcovers next to each other, and then my smaller hardcovers…With paperbacks it’s more difficult because their sizes vary, but I do my best.

5) By format

This is similar to #4, but I included it separately because with this one, you wouldn’t necessarily have to do it by height, but it might work out that way. Your ARCs would be together, and so would your paperbacks, and your hardcovers…

6) By TBR and Read Piles

I don’t do this one because I’m lazy, honestly, and I don’t bother to separate into books on my TBR and books I’ve already read. But it’s smart! It shows you what options you have to read next, and makes it easy to find an enticing book to choose.

7) With a favorites shelf

I think this would be a cool idea, especially if you have multiple editions of your favorite books. I don’t do this because I have too many favorites, really, but I see lots of pictures of people’s shelves where they’ve dedicated a single shelf to a their favorite books, and it looks fantastic!

8) By publication date

Like #1, this is very organized, and I would never do it? But if you’re the kind of person that would like to have all your books organized by when they released, go for it! I don’t see the draw in part because it could take forever, especially if you have a lot of books.

Of course, for some of the above ways, you might have to combine them! That’s not always a bad thing. For instance, you could include a favorites shelf, organize that by color, and then organize all your other books by color as well.

I hope this post gave you an idea for a new way to organize your bookshelves! I know that now I’m looking at my shelves and thinking, What else could I do to make it prettier? Currently, mine are a mess, but if you’re curious, I have one shelf of ARCs organized by release date, and then my main bookshelves are organized by genre, and then further organized by height. I would take a picture, but…They are truly not pleasing to look at. That should be fixed.

How do YOU organize your books? Have you always kept it that way, or have you tried different strategies? Is there any way you’ve seen that you want to try, but haven’t yet?

Thanks for reading!

Ava

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36 thoughts on “8 Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

  1. I just organized my bookshelves for fiction by author last name. Non- Fiction is a bit of a problem but roughly I made categories to do it. I also have a separate TBR file that fluidly changes a lot.

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  2. I was a librarian in a few of the little schools that I taught in, so I am sort of rigid about my bookshelves. At this time I have a few just random and they need to be fixed soon. I do like your ideas, they are interesting and mostly you should do what makes you feel happy.

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  3. Well I almost always go by author, but reading your alternate suggestions makes me want to rework my shelves. I am tempted to follow the “by color” arrangement, but I’m afraid I will never find what I’m looking for. Great post!

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  4. I have 14 bookshelves, so I am not really sure how to answer this one…probably by who owns the books. Mine are in the bedroom and dining room, my hubbies are in the living room and den…and of course there are the piles next to my favorite reading chair, and cookbooks in the kitchen. On the shelves I try to keep all hardbacks down close to the floor and the paperbacks up higher..then they are by size more than anything else. I just really looked at what i wrote and realize they aren’t organized at all! lol

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  5. This was a very useful post!!! My bookshelf isn´t that big so sometimes I have to arrange my books in different ways so they can all stand out! I usually arrange them by author, my ARC´s by publication date and my TBR well…. It keeps growing lol but I try to arrange it in a way that won´t make me feel overwhelmed!!! I loved this post Ava it was super amazing, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I’m really happy it was helpful. I know the overwhelming TBR feeling – it’s why I *don’t* have a separate TBR shelf, instead, i use Goodreads, and that way I don’t get overwhelmed.. although I do have an ARC shelf, and that can get pretty overwhelming, too. But at least I have a system, right? It seems like you’ve got a pretty good one!

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  6. Thank you so much for this post! I currently have all of my books randomly placed on shelves as a matter of necessity but I’m getting ready to get more bookshelves so I can start trying to organize them. I love the ideas you have here and I think I will try a few different ones to see which I like better.

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  7. Ava, you have so many great ways here. Personally I’ve always tried to keep my shelves organized by height just because I have limited space and way too many books for them. That being said I do still try to keep authors together and series together which can sometimes be difficult height-wise and even order-wise. For instance, I own the Anne of Green Gables series and some books are hard cover and some paperback which complicates height order but the series order is messed up because one of my hard backs is the first 2 books of the series and like the 5th. Right now I’m trying to collect all of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (through trades or deeply discounted) and they’re in a box separated from my others. Most of my books are at my parents’ house where I have two full small book cases while the majority of the others are in another room in sturdy wine boxes cos there’s so little space for everything in my room lol

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  8. Currently I have my bookshelves in alphabetical order but I’m not sure I like it. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing as I’d hoped. I also have a separate bookcase for my TBR so I know exactly what I still need to read.

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  9. We moved house recently I spent ages organising by colour but this meant my other half could find any of his books as he is colourblind ! So we went back to alphabetical… We do have a favourites shelf though where we keep any special books ❤️

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  10. I organise my books by genre, and in what I consider to be the most aesthetically pleasing way! Also, I’ve just stumbled across your blog and I love it, keep up the good work!!

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  11. I tend to organise by genre and then do author’s last name within those genres, so like, YA contemporary might have ten books in it and those will be ordered alphabetically. I tried colour but most of my books are black so it just ended up a mess! I’m lucky that my books look the most appealing when they’re organised alphabetically!

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  12. Right now mine are organized by authors last names but I am planning on reoragnizing the shelves tomorrow. I think it might start organizing them as what I have read and then tbr books!🙃

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  13. I dont really have much room for my books and my shelf is actually about to run out of space entirely (I’m already keeping 4 books around my appartment right now and I’ve got two more coming in within the next week or so. We’ll see where those end up going. xD

    Right now, my books are grouped together by author mainly. I basically have an entire square for books from the Shadowhunters universerve and then another that is mostly SJM with some other books thrown in there to fill up the open space. And that’s basicially my way of organizing until I get more bookshelves and can try something more fun!

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  14. Ava I love this post! I really really need to reorganize my shelves. Currently they’re “stick it where the book fits” which is not really a way to organize shelves. I’ve always wanted to try rainbow, but I’ve been too scared because it bothers me when my series are apart.

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  15. I have two bookcases, one contains books I’ve read and the other the ones I’ve yet to read. I get real satisfaction from taking a biok from one shelf, reading it and then putting it on the other – sad I know!

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  16. Great post, I love your tips on organizing a bookshelf. I have arranged half of my bookshelf according to the size of the books haha! And then the other half, by genre for instance literature and then romance and so on. I have a small bookshelf, so it’s quite easy to sort out and rearrange.

    Have a great weekend.

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  17. I’ve always organised my books alphabetically by author’s last name. I can be a bit of an organisation freak if I want to and that’s the only way I feel completely comfortable with. On top of that I keep a spreadsheet where I list all of them ordered the same way, so I can crosscheck if I’m not sure a book is in the right place…

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  18. I have always organized by author last name. Though I do separate fiction and nonfiction, for instance. And I used to just have a “fiction” section–that was divided into hardcovers and paperback so they would like up nicely–, but now I have my fiction divided into subcategories for YA, middle grade, adult books, classics, plays, poetry, etc. And the hardcovers and paperbacks are mixed. I guess I’m basically Barnes & Noble. I like the idea of color shelves, but it would drive me nuts finding anything, plus I think I would have a huge section of boring black books. I can’t believe anyone would actually shelve by publication date. 1) Yes, it would take forever to sort that out. 2) I own everything from the Aeneid to books published this year, so I think that would get a little intense. Someone I know keeps trying to convince me to organize the books by “literary merit,” but that just sounds like a fight waiting to happen.

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