7 Ways To Organize Your Bookshelf (That Totally Aren't Biased)

  As an avid bookworm with more books than sense who happens to be married to a fellow bookworm with slightly more sense, the act of organizing the now mutual collection of books has become an issue of epic proportions. When we moved into our house and set up the shelves (that I supplied, I must put in) and began to fill them up it became, well...interesting.

  All I will say is that if your relationship can survive the emotional distress of fusing together individual book collections it can probably survive anything.

  This is all to bring me to the point that different bookworms have different methods of organization. Perhaps you are on the look-out for a fresh new way to show-off your children? Allow me to present a few different types of book organization.

*most* of my shelves, couldn't fit it all in the pic

  1. Color-Coordination

  This is for the truly aesthetic types who have bookstagrams and take photos of their shelves and have the skills of an interior decorator from HGTV. I don't understand them, I admire them, but I am not them. The act of separating my books from their fellow series is one that causes me physical pain. It's simply not something I can do. However, looking at other people's rainbow shelves is very pleasing to my eye, I just can't look too close or I'll see the messed up order and all hell will break loose.

  2. Alphabetically (by title)

  This is pretty basic, simple, straightforward, but still takes some thought and sense of organization. This is a much more logical, practical method of organizing, appealing to less creative bookworms (my mother for instance). Do I use it? No. There is NOT ENOUGH OF THE ORGANIZE HERE!

  3. By Genre 

  THIS is how you organize books, people. Honestly, I can't imagine setting up my shelves any other way.

  From the beginning of time my books have been placed in order of their genre: Fantasy*, sci-fi, YA, contemporary, classics, historical fiction, Christian fiction, graphic novels, horses (yes, this is a genre for me), and non-fiction. This will not change. Not until I have shriveled up like a raisin and died clutching an armful of my closest books against my chest. But if you change my shelf arrangement when I am gone I will haunt you, I swear.*

*The two top rows of my shelves are actually just Tolkien and Lewis fantasy which I think is a totally legitimate sub-genre

*One of my "friends" once came into my room once and rearranged a few of my books and I don't know who it was or how long I went without noticing but to this day I mistrust ALL of the friends and do not let them near the books

  4. Alphabetically (by author)

  This is how the bookstores do it so obviously it's a legitimate way to host your own collection, but it's very basic and boring and kind of meh. And I mean, do you really want your bookshelf to be the same as the bookstore's? It's kind of like moving into your own house and making the kitchen look exactly like your mom's because you don't know how to do your own thing. Honestly, just a bit sad. INDEPENDENCE, HUZZAH!

  5. In Piles

  Some people start on the shelves and then subsequently run out of shelves and run out of room for more shelves and the floor becomes a "temporary" option that's actually permanent and you just lying to yourself.*

  Piles have a slightly messy look but can still have a sense of organization, sending the message that "yes, I recognize my collection is literally flowing off the shelves" but with a slightly smug expression on one's face because you know what it's about, son.

*Haha me

  6. Chronologically

  You'd have to be super weird or have super weird books to do this for your WHOLE shelf but chronological order is actually kind of nice - especially for your historical sections. Or for authors like Tolkien who only really wrote about one universe but you have to organize those books by chronology either in order of him writing or in order of how they happened in the universe. This is also a DIFFICULT DECISION I must add.

  6. The Combo

  When you take two or more of these organizing principles and apply them to your shelves. For instance, I go with Genre and Chronology in a lot of cases. I'm too lazy for alphabetical, especially since they have to fit and the more specific you get the harder it is. You can make a combo with basically anything, except color-coordinating, because that's a very limiting method for very aesthetically pleasing results.

when your 2 things work together

  7. What Even

  This is me @ my husband's ideas of "organizing". Though he is the bookwormiest boy I've ever met, he is very stereotypical in the organizational categories, read: teenage boy typical. I have had to fight him in some very truly awful things, such as...

  • having his series lined up from end to beginning rather than beginning to end
  • no genre organizing at all
  • no color-coordination
  • no real bookshelves
  • really absolutely no organizing to speak of
  • except having the series together. backwards.
  During our bookshelf decorating I did nearly come to tears on several occasions because this lack of concern and effort was A LOT TO HANDLE and the emotional distress I mentioned previously was large.

  And there you have it! 7 Ways to Organize Your Bookshelf that were - let's face it - quite biased. :P Tell me, how do you organize your shelves? Or are you a monster like my husband who doesn't organize ANYTHING? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. It super cool you guys have so many books #goals *nods* Lol this was such a fun post though!!! I ... used to not organize anything at all ... except by height ... but lately I've been *ahem* attempting to organize by color ... so far so good ... until someone in the family stole one of my shelves for their books. We just finished unpacking our last book box and I can safely say we really have zero book organizing sense *nods* *shakes head*

    1. We are both quite proud of our collections. XD I'm kind of an insane book hoarder. Thanks so much! I didn't even think of by height, that's so strange? But probably looks very proper. *nods* Ah, what treason is that? Unorganized shelves?? Oh no!

  2. I organise by... height. I ONLY HAVE ONE SHELF, okay? I need to have the MOST EFFECIENT use of space. And if I organise by height I can have secondary piles (which are roughly by genre, subdivided by author, then series) lying on top.

    This is a very important discussion, and I commend you and your husband for working through it. ;D
    - Jem Jones

    1. I didn't even think of height organization tbh, it's not something I ever even considered cause I'm small-minded. XD That does sound overall like a good system though.
      Haha, thanks very much. ;)

  3. Mmmm probably by genre, although in my dorm I don't have a bookshelf or many non-textbook books *cries*

    At home, our books are both alphabetical and genre since my mom handles all the organization!

    1. Yay! A member of the genre team! XD Oh no, how sad to be away from one's books! Alphabetical, wow, I have not the patience for that one.


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