How to Organize your Bookshelf

Pre-Organize: Prepare

Prepare yourself. Organizing your bookshelf, no matter how large or small, can be a daunting task. Make sure you are ready for this massive undertaking. You will need time and space.

Step 1: De-clutter

Sort through all of your bookshelfs. If you have too much stuff, consider getting rid of some of your unwanted items. When remodeling, you may want to change the accessories to match your new decor. Let go of your pack rat tendencies and *sings* let it go, let it go…

When you have your keep vs.throw away boxes, figure out how you will get rid of these items.

  • Donate: give these books and trinkets to your local charity organization, such as Goodwill. If you have relatively new and clean stuffed animals and books, suitable for kids, give them to a children’s hospital.
  • Sell: have a garage/yard sale. For a cheap price, the money can gradually build up when you sell your stuff in house. If the item is worth a lot, is in good shape, and you are willing to sell online, you could make some cash by listing the product on Amazon, Ebay, or other similar websites.
  • Giveaway: similar to donation, but on a smaller product scale and a larger social scale. Book bloggers and author have sweepstakes to “give away” certain desirable books and book swag to other dedicated readers. If you are willing to host a giveaway, there are many book nerds who would appreciate it.

Step 2: Sort

Now, you must decided how to organize your books. There are many ways to group your books, such as color, alphabetical and in series. Here is a list of options. Once you choose your type, you must go through your remaining books and categorize them. Google or use your own discretion to sort them into their respective categories. I find it most useful to pile the books together throughout the room. Make sure you know which pile represents which classification. (If you forget easily, mark the books or pile with tape/stickers or a sign.)

Step 3: List

With a lot of books, comes a lot of responsibility. If you are like me, you sometimes forget if you own the particular book you are eyeing the store. When I impulse buy, I come home to find that I already have that certain novel on my bookshelf. Some people like to have multiple copies for the covers, size, hardcover vs. paperback, and giveaways. As you pile your books or as you organize them on the shelf, I recommend that you make a list of all of your novels. Start with the title and author. If it is a series, put the sequential books together. I usually have marks to determine whether I own the book or if it is being released in the future. (I put the book birthday date next to the title so I know when to look on the store shelves.) I label books that I have read and are to-read. Lastly, I identify if the book is in physical or electronic version. I tend to buy some books in a series in both formats; sometimes I can’t wait to go to the store to buy the next book. Here is my personal inventory of books, my bookshelf, and my list format. Feel free to use my system, or make up one all on your own.

Step 4: Organize

Here we go! Clean your bookshelf space of all items and collected dust. Determine where your books are going to be placed and get to it. For example, if you are making a rainbow start in a corner and place all of the red books in a line. Continue down the rainbow and stack the books in order. If you are organizing by series, keep the trilogy together. See how much space you have left. Then find another trilogy or chronicles, and find the group that will fit most tightly in the area. Pack the books in as much as you want, leave some space or leave no space at all.

Step 5: Accessorize

Most people have book swag or trinkets that match the decor or your book nook. Find a spot for your favorite items and make the room your own. Consider using bookends to hold your books up, if you are using minimal space. There are many awesome bookends that can express your personality.


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