Shelving Habits

Friday, March 25, 2011

The other day I was going to re-organise my bookshelf.  But when I went to start I got stuck.  I didn't know how I was going to re-sort it.

And it got me wondering how does everyone else organise their bookshelf? Do you go by colour? Alphabetical order? Hardcovers and paperbacks?  Size? Genre? Favourites?
At the moment my main shelf is sort by genre - YA paranormal, YA contemp and Adult Fiction.  In no specific order.  Then my to-be-read shelf is sorted by colour of the book so it looks pretty.  But I really feel I need better organisation.

So I would love to hear how you stack your shelf? 
What works for you? 
Do you ever change it around?

**I will post a pic after I have re-organised**


Jess - The Tales Compendium said...

One of my book cases has a shelf sorted by favourites but the rest of it is mostly mixed up. I know where they all are though. Organised chaos!

My other one looks just like yours with books piled on top of each other! They are all my TBR pile. I totally need another bookcase but I don't have any more space for one :(

Good luck!

Lamia (The Book Eater) said...

Personally, I go by size. I don't necessarily make one shelf for every genre because I don't have that many paper books (4 shelves), but I don't think I could find a proper shelving system anyway. I'd need sticky notes.


This is why I love goodreads. I can put as many labels as I like on a book without my friends looking at me like I'm a freak whenever they visit.

Teddyree said...

I have 4 bookcases all organised by genre, YA shelves, Historical shelves etc and then organised by author as I have quite a few series and a number of authors that I collect all of their work eg Elizabeth Chadwick.

ARC's get their own shelf which is looking scary indeed and spreading; to the floor, the bedside table, and multiplying on the kindle which at least saves bookshelf space LOL

Good luck :)

Enbrethiliel said...


I used to arrange my books in the order in which they were published, because I started my collection with Classics and Newbery Award winning novels. Today, both these sections of my library still have that chronological ordering, but books are also grouped according to author. For instance, if Author B's book came out before three books by Author A, but Author A's first book came out before that title of Author's B's . . . then all the books by Author A precede it in the line or go on top of it on the stack.

Now that I've started collecting a lot of series, I arrange them by genre first and by author next. If I have multiple series by a single author, I follow the chronological rule again.

My least-organised shelves are definitely those for non-fiction reads. It's easy enough to arrange them by general topic, but after that, I mostly sort them according to size.

I like that you arrange your unread books by colour so that they look pretty. =) I wish I could do the same, but I have only one shelf for them and it's crammed up enough as it is, and I need to maximize space with my stacking.

This was a great question, Nic. Thanks!

Cass said...

I recently re-sorted my shelves. Again. I'm certain I re-arrange every month. As you might have seen, I have two bookcases.

FIRST BOOKCASE (2 shelves)
I leave a shelf for my favourite books, sorted hardcover - paperback, and then alphabetically left to right. The rest of
The other shelf is double-layered, TBR mostly genre sorted and then alphabetically.

SECOND BOOKCASE (5 shelves-only 1 for YA)
Books I have already read. Alphabetical. If I had more shelf space, it wouldn't look like a wreck right now though. My top shelf (TBR) is looking pretty full...

Anonymous said...

My shelves are sorted by genre, and then sorted within the genre by author/series (though it's not really working right now as I have way more books than shelf space....)

Misha said...

The truth is I am the most disorganized person in the world! (at least it seems that way). Looking at others' responses , I feel ashamed of myself :(
Even if I organize my shelves, soon more books are added and then I have to organize again. So I have stopped doing it altogether.

Jan von Harz said...

My TBR shelf is in a haphazard disarray, but with a method to the madness.

Most of the books I have to read for reviews are in a pile in front of all the books I have bought and have yet to get to (way too many...sigh).

Once I have read a book it is either shelved in my classroom alphabetically by author, or if the book is older YA it is shelved at home the same way.

Savannah said...

I just shelve them. At first they used to be in order by name now I just need a place to put them all. And to re-shelve them all by alphabetical order will take forever!!

Braiden said...

I have read separated from to-be-read. They were alphabetically shelved but now my to-be-read are just in any order taking over 3/4 of my shelves haha.

bibliophile brouhaha said...

I don't have much space at the moment - we have limited shelf space at our place, but I usually have them shelved by genre, with a special space for favorites. I'm not too organized, but I know where each one is!

A.J. said...

I just shelf them in alphabetical order by the author's last name. I would like to order it by color one day, when I have more books! :)

Anna said...

all my books are sorted by author, and then in to groups that seems to fit. my classics and historical fictions are together, like sally gardener and when hitler stole pink rabbit. all the picture books are together and then books like if i stay, call me hope and stargirl are all together. arranged by size/colour just to look nice. just group them together in a way that feels natural

It's a Book Thing said...

Firstly, Thank you for stopping by the blog! :)

As for reorganising the bookshelf good luck! If it is anything like my shelves of Horror *Insert theme song* then you have your work cut out for you. I would suggest sorting it in a way you know you will find the books you want at a glance.

Good luck! Keep us updated

Jenny said...

I need to buy shelves, right now all of mine are piled up on the guest room floor. Not a good shelving method at all because it makes things difficult to find! When I do finally organize them, I'll probably go by genre and then alphabetically by author:)

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

I don't have too many books but I've recently got a new bookshelf :) I sort by author name (well, most of the time) but separate hardbacks and paperacks. ooh, can't wait for a bookshelf tour(ish)!

Tina G said...

I try to stick to favorite genre first- YA Magic, Vampire, Were, Fey, then contemp romance on one shelf and on a different shelf I have Adult books in the same order. All though, the adult shelf does look pretty bare compared to the YA one;p
At the moment however, I have over 200 books that need to be read while all the books I'm keeping are in bins and bins and more bins.
I seriously need help!

Great question!

twine Tina~

mfay2 said...

I don't have a lot of books but my little bookshelf its organized by the authors last name and then date of publication.

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

Right now I have my books divided by read and to read. From there the books are just in alphabetical order. That works for me! Can't wait to see what your shelves look like after! I did just have to buy a new shelf a couple of days ago because I didn't have enough room. Oh yeah, I have one shelf where I place the books I want/need to get to asap...

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

This has been super challenging for me too. I tried to keep my genres separate but then I got frustrated when I couldn't find what I was looking for, so I went with Alphabetical order by Author's last name. I still don't like that book sizes vary so the way the books are arranged doesn't look so pretty, but it is much easier for me to find what I'm looking for, which is great.

Can't wait to see your pictures.

Kat said...

I'm boring, I guess, because both of my shelves are in regular old alphabetical order by author's last name. I have tried to color-code them or organize them by size, but something about that messes with my OCD brain for some reason. :) I think it's true what Missie said-- alphabetical order does make books easier to find, but they don't look as nice on the shelves. I like your idea of shelving by genre!

Anyway, hope you find a shelving arrangement that works for you. :)

Jenny N. said...

Well I don't really have an organizing system. I have a TBR bookcase and a read books bookcase but most of the books I've read are put away in bins.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I have a special glass cased antique shelf for my most favorite reads of all...they are organized by size.
The books on the main shelves in our family room are also organized by size since the shelves are different sizes...Grisham has a shelf, Patterson has a shelf, cookbooks have their own shelves, I guess they're organized by size, content and author.
Children's books are in our media room...not organized at all :)
My husband has his own shelves in his study...there's a lot of non-fiction, sports, Connelly and Lee Childs in there as well as Hemingway.
My firstborn has wall to wall shelves of anything and everything from middle school and up classics to contemporary YA.
All that to say I guess we organize in a bunch of different ways but probably most of all based on whose books they are :)
(My middle child has mostly ebooks and a few others on her shelves under her loft.

Leanna Elle said...

I feel the same as Misha. I'm totally disorganised. I have books everywhere! I just don't have room for them all! I have a 'for review' pile by my bed, and all my fave books and the series I follow are on my main bookshelf, but as for the rest, all those extras - they are here, there and everywhere!

I need more bookshelves (instead of boxes under the bed!)

nicole said...

i'm a former bookseller: so i can get a little pedantic about such things.

children's picture books- alphabetical via last name. with a second section for children's clasics. board books are kept in a separate section and order really varies from store to store: personal preference on that one.

ya- is alphabetised via author last name. there are no separate genres in ya when you're shelving.

adult fiction is split into genres:
general fiction- alphabetical via author last name
fantasy and scifi- alphabetical via author last name

biographies- alphabetical via author's last night. exceptions being if it is a biography of someone famous, in which case you file it under the famous person's last name.

history- subject matter, within subject matter it is alphabetised via author's last name.

ummm but that's coming from a OCD former bookseller. the answer is always: HOWEVER YOU WANT :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

How I stack: If there is room I place a book. I don't have the best of organizational skills but at least they are sorta in one big place (pile, whatever). ;D

So, does that mean I can have you do my shelves after you are done? ;)

A Canadian Girl said...

I organize my "read" shelves by the alphabetical last names of the authors whereas my "to be read" shelf contains books in the order I've bought them in. I'm hoping to get another bookshelf soon since my TBR pile is starting to stack up on each other.

Anonymous said...

I organise it real simple: Alphabetically by authors' last names, and then alphabetically by book titles, and with book series, they go alphabetically by the name of the series and then in order. Make sense?

SO I can have Meg Cabot books taking up a whole shelf, and within that shelf would come books starting with A, then B, etc, and the Princess Diaries are under P, so it's Princess Diaries, The.

Unknown said...

Lately, I've been keeping a stack of about 5 books I plan to read for that month in my room alongside my shelf of books I need to read.

I also have another bookshelf for books I've already read or need to be passed on/traded.

Julie said...

I don't really organize my shelves. I actually only have two small bookcases. I kind of pile my books on top of each other. I wish I had more room! I would love to put them in order.

Nomes said...

I have 2 shelves for all my Aussie books.

On all my shelves I bundle all teh authors works together (so I have an Marchetta section, Elizabeth scott section, etc.

I have books separate in genre: YA shelf, Adult fic, Non-fic.

And I order them mainly so they are next to books of similar height. not alphabetically :)

Unknown said...

No organization here :) I have books in every room of the house. They’re in bookshelves, boxes, on tables, in my car, on my desk & a few are even on our dining room table. I just don’t have the room. I’d love to have a nice & neat shelf at some point in my life, but for now I just enjoy living among them LOL

Belle said...

Mine are in alphabetical order by author, except the books too large to fit on the upper shelves - they're in their own alphabetical order on the big bottom shelf! Then I have about six knee-high piles of TBR books lined up next to the bookshelf... I really need to get another one (or two)!

Rachel said...

My top shelf is for stand alone YA novels - contemp, paranormal, whatever. My second shelf is for series of any genre.
And my third shelf is for all my other books that don't fit into the YA genre.
It works for me, but I must admit my series shelf is becoming way too crowded. I'm getting some new shelfs made up though, so hopefully that problem will disappear haha. Good luck with the re-sort!

Alicia said...

I was just browsing your blog and found this page, and I may be two years late but I have an opinion!
I organize my books by series; most of my books belong in a series and they all go together, and when I don't have room I move around the loner books. Well that's just my fiction shelves. On the other bookshelves, I organize by foreign language, mythology, craft books, and poem books/collections.

Awesome Book Assessment

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