8 Ways to Organise Your Bookshelf

With my desk, where I spent at least 12hrs a day, being right next to my bookshelf, I spend a fair amount of time staring at it whilst procrastinating. Pretty much every time I look at it I think about how I don’t like the way it looks – although the organisation of my shelf makes the most sense for me… Turns out I just own lots of books that aren’t pretty colours and I’m a sucker for bright colours like pink. I thought I’d make this blog to suggest a few different ways that you can rearrange your bookshelf. Some of these I’ve done myself, others I haven’t. I’ll let you know which I’ve done and what I thought about them!

1 . Rainbow Bookshelf

Now the rainbow bookshelf is the ultimate dream for most bookworms, me included. I think everything in life looks so much better when it’s colour co-ordinated. I had my bookshelves rainbow for a good few months during 2020 (lockdown boredom got to me and I decided I NEEEEEEDED to rearrange to rainbow). The pros of a rainbow shelf are it looks so good!! The cons, however, are it can be pretty hard to find the book you’re looking for, unless you know what colour it is. This will obviously be easier for someone like me, who only has one shelf. But much, much more difficult to find your book if you own multiple shelves.

I’m just going to interject here to say that all of the shelving arrangements I suggest from this point on are far less beautiful, but far more practical.

2 . Alphabetical by Title

This was the first way I ever arranged my bookshelf and it worked quite well, until the rainbow urges came along. I don’t seem to recall having much of a problem with this method of organisation as you can easily find your book (as long as you know the name of it, of course). The main issue I had, which is quite a petty one, was that it separated my series up when I like them to sit beside one another. My bookshelf was actually arranged like this until a few weeks ago.

3 . Alphabetical by Authors Surname

This is the way I currently organise my bookshelf. The pros of this method are that I can have my series put together. I actually cheat a little bit and arrange my series in order within this organisation method.. It just saves me from having to Google the book order whenever I want to read one. For me, the cons of this arrangement method (again, petty), are that all the dull colours are put together (I’m aiming this at A Song of Ice and Fire.. Sorry George R.R. Martin, but what were you thinking with that awful colour scheme?!). 

4 . Separating Hardback and Paperback

I also do this. My hardbacks currently take up the top of my bookshelf, and paperbacks fill the rest.. By the rest I mean the 3 shelves beneath that. I’m not even a proper book blogger that owns a full shelf of books. One shelf is dedicated to the printer and paper shredder – how glamorous. I prefer having my hardbacks all in one place as some are massive, and some are tiny and I don’t like having different shaped and sized books in my ‘main’ area of the shelf (the paperback bit).. This leads me nicely onto my next point..

5 . Height order

Writing this blog has made me realise how much of a hybrid organisation I’ve got going on. I thought I was quite simple with the alphabetical by author’s surname, but didn’t once consider my top shelf of hardbacks. I organise my hardbacks in size order, with the tallest on the left hand side, working down to the smallest on the right. In amongst this shelf I also have a few paperbacks that are strange sizes, like the Penguin classics and one random book from the A Song of Ice and Fire series that’s weirdly little compared to the rest (it drove me MAD, that’s why it was banished to the top shelf).

6 . Genre Order

Now, here’s one method of organisation I haven’t done… I came quite close to doing it, but chickened out because it required too much effort. I think I can understand why people do this with a massive TBR and book collection – you can create your own mini library which is SO cool. But for me I am just too lazy to search up each book to find what genre they are. I also feel like I’d have a hard time when books were multiple genres like historical fiction AND fantasy.. Which category do they go in?!

7 . Books Read vs Books Unread

I’ve seen a few people organise their books like this on Bookstagram and suggest it to me when I’ve asked for ways to rearrange my bookshelf. I haven’t done this, and that’s simply because I tend to pass on books once I’ve read them. Unless they’re really special to me, I choose to donate them as I’m unlikely to re-read (there’s too many books in the world to re-read an average book) and I like to constantly make way for new books. The only books I’ve read and held on to are special hardbacks, classics, and series.

8 . Just Put Them Anywhere!!

There’s no set rule to say that your bookshelf must be organised in a certain way, I feel that Bookstagram puts pressure on people to have their bookshelves super neat, tidy and organised. Some people find it easier to just put them anywhere on the shelf and that is absolutely ok! I’ve sort of memorised where all of the books are and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’ve seen photos on Instagram of people’s books stacked vertically, as well as just wedged in. You do you!

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