Bookshelf Organization–aka. that thing I lack.

As many of you may know, I recently just got a new bookshelf thanks to CSN in exchange for an HONEST (as if there was any other way I’d do it) product review. You have NO idea how bad I need a new bookshelf.

I’ve been using this tiny one from my childhood and within the past two years I’ve managed to acquire WAY too many books and, since I lack the space for them, they have become homeless — randomly put away in boxes, bins, under my bed and I’ve hijacked the built in ones in our family room. I’m so excited to FINALLY be able to display all my books on a shelf in my room. It’s thrilling really!

Anyways, I’ve been putting much thought into how I will be organizing books. I’ve seen so many different ways from watching bookshelf tours and whatnot. I’ve seen people divide into genres or have them divided by read and to be read.  Somebody once told me that they put them by publication year which was awesome since I’m pretty sure they read mainly classics so it was kind of cool to see the time periods together. I’ve always just down alphabetical order but once I started to get too many books I would just end up putting books haphazardly on there. I’m thinking about dividing mine between fiction, nonfiction and then have review books together so I can better keep track of what I have going on. I’m getting so freaking excited about all the organization that can finally go on now that I have the room! I know..I’m a nerd!

I’m also getting giddy thinking about all the picture frames and trinkets I can put on my shelves too. I’m seriously considering getting this fish tank because it is FREAKING awesome and putting it on my shelf. Do I have fish? Nope. Do I like fish? Nope. Why do I want this? BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME.

So, what I want to know is, how do you organize your books? Have you tried any different ways before? Do you decorate your shelves with other items? (picture frames, trinkets, etc.)

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. Theresa @ Fade Into Fantasy says:

    Well, I am still lacking that ever-coveted bookshelf, but I do have a plan for when I get it! I'm going to separate the "reads" from "not reads", and then organize by author, keeping the series in order. Don't know how much that helps, but there ya have it! lol

  2. Every time I get new shelves I plan room for cute bookends, picture frames, and other trinkety stuff, but then as I accumulate more books I realize that all that cute little pretty stuff is just taking away room for more books. So it always comes to the debate of vetting my shelves or putting away the trinkets. It's no surprise very few people have seen all my cute trinkets!

    (BTW – love the fish tank!!)

  3. Jasmine (The Reading Housewives) says:

    Mine are listed alphabetically by author. It just makes it easiest for me because I know exactly where a new book goes when I get one. I haven't really tried anything else, but I am still newer to reading and don't have that many books. I do have picture frames, candles, and a little bookmark holder on my shelves. 🙂 Just fun stuff! I just helped Jacinda reorganize her shelves though…(They were pretty terrible. Haha.)

  4. I don't really organize them (mostly I just shove them wherever it looks like there's room). BUT I did put all my signed copies together. I've heard of people organizing by color too, which seems kind of visually awesome.

  5. My boyfriend is a graphic designer and last time I decided to arrange my books, he took it upon himself to arrange them for me by color. It looked amazing, but sadly my book-buying habit has killed the color coordination a little bit because new ones don't always fit on the right shelves and I buy books too often to be constantly fixing it. Plus, my books are stacked two rows deep on a HUGE bookshelf so it can get messy, lol. It could be a pain sometimes when I was trying to find a specific book but it looked amazing so I'm thinking I might have him do it again someday when I decide to rearrange them again.

  6. Wow….space to organize books sounds amazing. The piles strewn about my room are sort of divided into read and not read, new-ish and older-ish. I guess I'd probably try to preserve that to some extent if I had shelves, but add in some alphabetization. I'm not sure I'd be ambitious enough to divide by genre. I might split up adult, YA, nonfiction, and poetry, though. I also try to keep unread review books in a separate place so that I know how to prioritize them.

  7. I think bookshelves that have other things on them look pretty, but I end up moving any other items I have off of the shelves to make room for more books. I usually start organizing my shelves (all Shakespeare goes together, Bryson somewhere else) but then I lose interest or get a new book and don't feel like moving things around.

    Good luck keeping your stuff organized! I'm sure you're less lazy than I am. 🙂

  8. Jenni Elyse says:

    The fish tank is awesome! I would love to buy it.

    I organize my books by author and series. So, stand-alone books are alphabetical, but series always go together. My friend organizes them by color. It's really cool to see all the blue books together and all the green books together. But, I could never do it because I could never separate my series books from each other.

  9. i do it by color and i love it. it's not super strict–reds, yellows, oranges are on one shelf, blues and greens on another, blacks and whites on another. if i had thousands of books in my house i can see how it would get hard to find things, but i limit myself to one bookshelf (when it's full, i make myself get rid of stuff), so it doesn't take too long to remember where something is.

  10. Cat the Librarian says:

    That's a pretty sweet fishtank! I organize by author and by book size (ie paperbacks go on the shorter shelves, hardbacks go on taller ones). And trinkets… well not so much because my books are double stacked so I have no room. Good luck and enjoy your new bookshelf!

  11. Avid Reader says:

    I just organized my library and I'm with you, it's crazy exciting! Here's how I decided to do it…

    I can't wait to see your final book shelf.

  12. My books are just organized by unread and read. I have about two and half bookshelves of read and one bookshelf unread. I used to organize my genre but it got complicated and I have so many unread books that seeing all of them at once forces me to read them.

  13. At the moment,mine are seperated into read and to be read,and then divided into genre, and alphabetised…i'm also a total geek for organising stuff,especially books.previously i've had them just akphabetised as a whole,and by publication date for a while,but that got confusing as I didn't divide by genre first…

  14. I have 4 tall bookshelves, and I was able to organize them into general sections; favorites, classics, fiction, non-fiction, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, etc… and I keep authors / series together. It also kind of depends on space – almost all of the shelves are completely full, so it takes some moving around to fit stuff sometimes.

    Someday I'll have a whole library room all to myself and I could do the cool alphabetical thing or by color… that's so neat.

  15. wayside wanderer says:

    I have 8 books shelves in my house, one of which is a whole wall in one of the bedrooms. 🙂 So, I've got my books scattered around the house in various shelves mostly by subject. Art books here, theology books there, nature books over here. This is mostly so I can find them easily. (We homeschool so lots of subject matter books.) Girl books in the girl's room, boy books in the boy's room. Some are turned sideways, added some treasures…a vase that belonged to grandma, a photo of my parents, a birds nest, a small globe, a trophy….that sort of thing. I'm excited for you. Once you start adding things you might find you need another shelf. =)

  16. I'm a little bit weird with the way I organize my books… I organize by genre, and then genres w/i genres and etc.

    I usually separate into adult books, classics, and YA. If I have ALL my books out of storage, I further separate between read and unread, but when most of my books are in storage (like now… sigh) I only really have my unread books out, so I don't have to mess w/ that.

    Then, after separating that way, I will take genres, and organize those, and I have individual and unique ways of organization that only makes sense to me, but ends up looking totally awesome. So, on the same bookcase, I'll organize alphabetically by author's last name over *here*, author's first name *here*, by title *there*, size *there*, etc. It makes me happy. 🙂

  17. I've reorganized mine a few different times, but the basic idea is always the same. I separate fiction and non-fiction, and I alphabetize everything by author's last name, then by title (if I have more than one book by the same author). Currently, I've also separated my novels (random fun fact: a novel, by definition, is fiction; a book, by definition, is non-fiction) into three categories: hardback, trade paperback, and mass market paperback (all alphabetized by author then title, of course).

    I worked in a bookstore for almost two years, and now I work in a library, so I can't possibly organize my books in any way other than alphabetically. I'd go crazy otherwise.

  18. Also (forgot to put this in my first post): I do keep my series' in order instead of alphabetizing them by title (they are still alphabetized by author, though). As for trinkets, I don't like clutter, so I get rid of books pretty regularly (especially when I buy new ones; when that happens, I make it a point to get rid of an equal or close to equal amount of books that I own), and I don't have much on top of my bookcases, either. I have three small bookcases, and on top of one, I have a small candle, and two small pots I made several years ago. I don't have anything else on top of the other two.

  19. hlindskold says:

    I organize my books by size. Hahaha! Big, heavy hardcovers on the lower shelves and smaller paperbacks on the upper shelves. If I have multiple books by the same author, I keep them together as much as possible within the lower/upper shelf organization. This is why it takes me forever to find a particular book. Hahaha!

  20. I don't have my bookshelf put together yet, but in the past I have organized my bookshelf this way. Nonfiction first organized by author within each subject and subjects arranged alphabetically. Then I organize fiction by author, and if I have more than one book by an author I organize by publication date.
    I keep books that have been given to me as gifts together on a separate shelf as well.
    I don't really keep trinkets on my bookshelf, but I do keep a couple bookmarks, my reading list and some photos there. But I'm constantly moving them around to get to books. I do have a potted plant sitting on top of the shelf though.

  21. April (BooksandWine) says:

    Right now I have mine semi organized by genre. I have 3 YA shelves, although those spill over onto other shelves. Then I have classics together. And multicultural. And then favorites. And then one shelf is for my ARCs (a spine shelf, they are horizontal by date) and then I have mass market PBs on shelves quadruple stacked (stacked front and back and on top of each other) and I also have one book shelf that holds my TBR Project Fill In The Gaps books and then other books that'll fit. I have 13 bookcases, so yah books are placed where they fit and I don't have any goofy crap on my shelves because there is no room for them.

  22. I organize my books by genre and my opinion of the book. I have lots of small shelves on my wall, and have all my Twilight related stuff on one shelf, all my Harry Potter stuff on one, my other favorite books on one, all my dystropian novels on one, my fantasy ones on one etc.

  23. lavenderlines says:

    I have about ten bookcases (yup, I know that's a lot) and I have them kinda organized. MY TBR book cases are organized by genre.(One for non-fict and big L Literature, one for urban fantasy separated by series, author, adult vs YA, then two TBR shelves by my bed for books I want to read in the next few months and a separate book case in my office of review books) The bookcases for my already read books aren't as organized, but I try to have the books by genre with series and books by the same author grouped together. I have one shelf where I put books I have just finished, then every few months I put them in the appropriate shelves.

    Oh, and the hubs' books? Yeah, they NEVER mingle with my books.

  24. Jayme @ Horribly Bookish says:

    I have one large bookshelf and two smaller ones. The large one holds my adult fiction (arranged by author), then non fiction (arranged by category-art, photography, religious, Shakespeare, literature and some old textbooks I wanted to keep). The smaller shelf holds YA, by author and series in order, and then the bottom shelf are some middle grade and children's book. The other bookshelf holds all my travel books.

    I love reading about others' organization–I'm really intrigued by organizing by colors.

  25. Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) says:

    Organizing by color sounds awesome!
    Even as a kid I used to organize by genre, series, etc. It could get pretty detailed and later on it drove my husband nuts. Now, since our shelves are in the living room, I organize for pretty and to keep it easy for the husband.
    Cookbooks are all together, graphic novels and manga take up 2 shelves, another shelf for language and travel books, The Kid's shelf is on the bottom where he can reach, and then everything else is pretty much put together by series. I have a few shelves that I use to display knick knacks and pictures and I've incorporated some of my prettier books into the display. I really do need to create an actual TBR shelf to encourage me to whittle down my pile. 🙂
    Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

  26. I used to do alphabetical. It's like a library, and it makes it easy to find what I'm looking for. Then I ran out of space, so now they're just everywhere. Even had to relegate some to the storage unit in boxes 🙁

  27. Reading Angel says:

    I had mine organized, but when my shelf spilled from 1 bookshelf to 5 bookshelves double stacked, I lost all sense of organization. Now they are stuff whereever. Only the signed copies are together…

  28. My books I bought or finished copies: by color, pastels, to darker, so white little white to big white, light pink little white pink to big white pink, dark pink… then by size little to big, so so so pretty.

    ARCs that I need to get to, by house, then by date.

  29. I have my main bookcase organized by colour and my smaller one organized by paperbacks in one section and books for review in the other.

    Check out my pictures over at All About{n} -she has a bookcase of the week feature and I was up last week. You can see my colourful shelves on there. 🙂

  30. Hi! Oh, I'm so jealous you've got a new bookshelf. My room is overflowing with books, they've got no home :(. Although I have 6 bookshelves in my way too small room, and lots of boxes under my bed.
    Anyway, I like to organize my books by colour, not always easy :). I've recently started to read YA which makes organization even more difficult. I now try to separate my YA-books from my chick-lit and other adult-novels and my classics. As there are so many hardbacks in YA I've separated them from paperbacks…Yeah, I get dizzy just thinking about organizing my books…haha.
    Anyway, I like to personalize my bookshelves with pictures/frames, candles and other knick-knacks which isn't always easy as I've three rows of books on every shelf :S. As I'm a girly girl I like to decorate my shelves with little hearts and stuff….you can see some of my shelves here : bookshelf

    Have fun organizing your bookshelf!

    //Q N

  31. I just have one huge bookshelf that is around 4 x6 meters. In as much as I organise, I shelve by genre and the author within that genre. The shelves are double packed though because I don't have enough room so I tend to put my favourites in the front row.
    Enjoy your new bookshelf

    Shelleyrae @ book'd Out

  32. Bibliophile says:

    I organise my books roughly by genre and author, but I don't alphabetise except in the two biggest TBR groups: romances and mysteries.

    I tried organising my TBR books by colour once. It looked very nice and I got some interesting title juxtapositions out of it, but it made it really hard to find anything.

  33. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    I organize my shelf by the miniscule spaces that are left in which to squeeze more books. See: NO ORGANIZATION WHATSOEVER. I wish my shelves were bigger so I could fit more in them and have little trinkets and such, but I literally don't have any friggin room left. HOWEVER, if I had my way and more room, I'd decorate with pics of things I love: family, Mr. Jen, and food.

    Please take a photo of your shelf once it's complete 🙂 I love bookshelf creepin.

  34. My name is Patricia says:

    I actually did a similar post a couple of weeks ago. Check it out:

    <3 Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

  35. I organize my bookshelf by series and by author, but if I haven't read the book it goes on a different shelf. I have OCD, so everything it super organized haha Eventually, I plan on alphabetizing them by author 🙂

    And yes, the fish tank ROCKS!