Project: Re-shelf Yourself – Let’s get organized

I am sloooowly making progress towards making sense of my home library. (You can read my initial post about Project: Re-shelf Yourself and see my hideous before photos here.) Right now I’m working on putting all of my whoozits and whatzits into totes and boxes so they’re out of the way, and I’ve got friends coming on February 9th to help me pull all the books off the shelves, weed them, and put them back in their forever homes.

Before that can happen, though, I need to decide how I’m going to organize my books!

I see a lot of beautiful photos of people’s shelves organized by color, and while this is so visually stunning I’m left wondering – how the heck do you FIND anything? Maybe this works better for people who don’t own upwards of a thousand books? o.O I kind of tried to do this with my TBR shelves and I still struggled with some of them because the spines weren’t all one color (especially some historical romance titles with a sort of ombré effect).

This is another aesthetic one, where you line them up by size… Again, I think this might work better for a much smaller collection than mine. I just envision the cases and cases of mass market paperbacks that are all the same size, and then what? WHERE IS THE ORGANIZATION IN THAT, I ASK YOU?!

Title or Author
In doing some Googling on ways to organize your bookshelf, I’m seeing a lot of suggestions to just straight sort by title or sort by author, with no regard to genre. This seems SO WEIRD TO ME. I absolutely plan to sort my fiction by author, once I figure out how I’m going to divide up my collection on a larger scale. I can’t imagine sorting all 1,000+ books by author with no regard for fiction vs. non-fiction and etc.

Yes, it may be old school, but this is the one I’m going to go for. There are still a lot of decisions to be make – like WHICH genres and subjects to group together vs. sort out. I may need to do a whole blog post about romance novels and its sub-genres…

I’m not sure if I’m going to do this or not… I’m super torn about it, so if anyone has any pros/cons for me, that would be super. Part of my issue is that a good 500+ of my books are unread, and some of them I’ve had since long before I was on Goodreads so their read/unread status is a little fuzzy. (I have a *TERRIBLE* memory, my husband says it’s from all that Diet Coke I used to drink.) So fully half of my sci-fi fantasy collection I’d be like “???” for the read/unread status. Meanwhile I have 411 books I’ve either been gifted or bought or pulled from my existing shelves as things I wanted to read in the ever-nebulous “soon” which I would kind of like to keep separate on an Unread shelf. But then do I also separate this unread shelf (or bookcase… or 2 bookcases… Maybe 3?) by genre as well? Because if I pull ALL of my unread books, it’s going to end up being half of my collection. Do I want two collections? And do I have room to allow space in my read collection for, say, 1/3 of the read books to be shelved back in assuming I’ll want to keep them after I’ve read them? I know sci-fi/fantasy I tend to hang on to because I’m more likely to reread or want to loan it out, while romance I rarely go back for a reread (unless it’s phenomenal – I DO have a few I keep and hoard!) so I’m more likely to let them go when I’m done reading them. The verdict is still out for my on Read/Unread.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction
This one I know I’m doing, haha. I do need to decide how I’ll organize within my non-fiction. Maybe I can get my librarian friends to help me… Ooh! I could look up every nonfiction book I own and find the Dewey decimal for it, get a label maker, and file them that way. *fanatic gleam flares in the eyes* AT LAST, my dreams of being a library come truuuuue!

How do you organize your books? Do you go for a method that’s geared toward being more aesthetically pleasing, or toward being able to find things easily? Do you use one of these, some combo of them, or something else entirely?

5 thoughts on “Project: Re-shelf Yourself – Let’s get organized

  1. Here's how I would do it. First: by genre. Make it easier to find what you are looking for when you want to read it. Then: by subgenre, depending on how many books within a genre you own. Then: by author, as an organizational system. Also keep a shelf for the books that maybe you know you don't want to read again but don't want to get rid of either. That way, they get their own section of honor.


  2. I admire people that really organized their shelves, but I do not. I have various book shelves but nothing is together, so it would be a hassle trying to sort things into groups without having enough space for said group. I am trying to get rid of old books/books I won't read here and there though so I'm not completely overwhelmed. Honestly though, most of the books on my shelves are probably ones that I haven't read yet…so in that way, they are kind of grouped together.


  3. It's kind of fun that I'm coming to these posts late because I'm able to see your full progression. LOL!I have one bookshelf that's sorted by color. It was hard for me to break up series and it can be tough to find things (I made a shelf in Goodreads called \”Colored Bookcase\” so I'd know they're there), but the joy I get from looking at my rainbow shelves is totally worth it!Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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