#ShelfGoals On My Mind

If you peruse Instagram or Tumblr on a daily basis, you might find yourself drooling over some personal libraries and shelves that are pretty much the epitome of #shelfgoals. I mean, they are beautiful and clean and organized and adorned with the cutest of cute things. And every day I pretty much have bookshelf envy.

Just a few examples.

And I was thinking about it. It’s a rare day in hell that I’ve posted pictures of my shelves. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of them per se because they aren’t as beautiful as the ones I see but let’s just say that the reality of my shelves right now look something like this right now:


IMG_9740This was taken after about of month of letting it get out of control because I was super busy and resulted in me spending all day at least putting them in neat piles until I could deal with them. These books started out in piles just in front of my bookshelf but after a while just got out of control.

#notwinning when it comes to my shelf organization. Needless to say Will hasn’t appreciated the books on the floor…but alas he has a shoe problem that I always trip over soooo FAIR IS FAIR haha.


This is my far most right shelf on the wall and you can see how I just end up throwing books up on the shelves. Gaps where books need to go back.

But yeah…this is the actual reality of my shelves at this current moment. Kind of embarrassing but I’m just keeping it real. Makes me look a bit like a slob (they are back in the bedroom so nobody sees them if they come in). I swear I’m not really and it doesn’t always look quite like THIS but I do struggle to keep my shelves and the space around them where I put books that need homes tidy.

It’s just that I have such a hard time keeping my bookshelves organized for a few reasons:

  1. I don’t have enough room for all my books in my current shelving situation so lots of piles and books everywhere. I purge but they still pile up.
  2. Books come in faster than they go out: On a daily basis I’ll get books and I’ll just go put them near the bookshelves or put them on the dining room table to put on the shelves later and then suddenly there are just books everywhere waiting for me to put them away because I don’t find homes for them every day — mostly because I want to catalog things and also because I’m too lazy to do in the moment they arrive.
  3. When I take pictures for bookstagram or for a post or for a video I make a mess. Sometimes I’m doing it right before I have to leave or something and sometimes I’m so tired after it that I just don’t put them back right away.



So I’m going to go on a bit of a bookshelf organization/revamp this spring. Some of the things I’m going to focus on:

        A system for dealing with the influx of books        

This is my biggest issue so I need to make the time daily or every other day to catalog stuff (via Goodreads) that comes in and then give it a home (even a temporary home that is out of the way). Mostly it’s just a matter of not letting it get out of control but I LIKE SYSTEMS so I’m going to create one that works for me. Any tips welcome!!

              Regular purge schedule             

I’ve talked before about how I’m really good about getting rid of books I’ve already read because I’m pretty ruthless BUT I’m the worst at dealing with books that have been unread on my shelves for years. I know that it’s ridiculous that some books have been on my shelves for 10 years unread and I should assume I won’t get to them but sometimes I do?? I’m in the right mood for them. I’m also really bad about books I read that I’m having a hard time if they meet up specifications for keeping them as outlined in the post I linked to above.  I need to set up regular purging schedules wherein I make sure I’ve dealt with all the read books and made decisions for them and then another one for unread books. Even if it’s only a couple books I’m ready to part with each time it will help. Or maybe I need to make a one in, one out rule where I can’t allow a new book in without getting rid of another. And let’s be honest…if I get rid of a book that I wish I kept I can always library it or repurchase.

                Shelf Organization                

I’ve pretty much always organized my books in the same way but I want to think about other ways I could organize them. I’ve seen so many fun ways. We’ll talk about this item more in detail next week where I’ll talk about my current way I organize books on the shelves and the couple ways I’ve been considering.

              Making It Pretty             

Right now most of what I have on my shelf, besides books, are picture frames with pics of family and friends, homemade cards from bookish friends, a cute collage book club made me for my birthday, and an assortment of swag that I thought was unique. I haven’t been one to decorate them much because they are currently in our bedroom and nobody really sees them. Plus, I won’t lie. I kind of dislike my bookshelves themselves and they way they have to be set up (they are on the wall and there are two big ones on the end and two small ones in the middle because of the dumb tv on our wall). I bought many of these cheap black shelves years and years ago and they honestly don’t reflect my current aesthetic plus they are buckling. I can’t get new shelves until we buy a house so for now I’m stuck with these and I want to try and make the best out of them until then.

The thing I will tackle first will be the purging/spring cleaning of books because that makes the most sense. Also, obviously creating a system but I think having space to place new books will be integral in that.

I will likely be sharing my revamp of my bookshelves over the months on this blog (and probably on Twitter and definitely on Snapchat (username: brokeandbookish) where you got lots of behind the scenes #keepingitreal type things)

NOW, I want you to tell me — are your shelves the shelves of #shelfgoals or are they quite a mess like mine? Also, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to know how you keep them tidy or organized/how you deal with new books coming in!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I’ve recently packed all my books, in preparation for putting our place on the market and (hopefully) buying a house! Of course, this will mean more room for books, rather than less room, but I’m already planning my future organization ;). I’ve always mixed my read and unread books, and then sorted by genre and size (I used to alphabetized, but I could fit more on a shelf when I grouped by size). In my next space, I’m planning to separate my read/unread books and actually have a physical TBR shelf. I think I need the visual of what I haven’t read yet. I also saw a book tuber (I think it was Lindsey Rey) mention that her goal is always to keep the number of unread books to a certain number so that they will fit on her TBR shelf. That seems like a great way to encourage culling, especially with the number of review books that you get! I can barely stay on top of my TBR of books I acquire for myself, and I have serious respect for bloggers that also juggle reviews books.

    • That is a good way to keep the unread books at bay/get your butt moving with books you already own! That’s a lot of my problem! I’ve culled and culled and culled but I still have so many over the years. It’s a constant process of culling every so often I think. Honestly it really IS review books that make everything crazy on my shelves. They come in far faster than books I buy and I try to get through the ones I want to but they just keep coming. I AM pretty good about culling and passing on ARCs though. I don’t read review books I’m not interested in nor do I feel obligated to but sometimes I have mild interest and I keep them but then later on I’m like ehhh not a priority right now or I’ll see trusted reviews make me decide to skip em.

      Excited for you to get to do some bookshelf organization when you guys buy a new house!!

  2. I literally just achieved my shelf goals thanks to Josh building me a library in his former theater/basement/man cave whatever. I love the new floating shelves, however, I did end up having to purge quite a bit. I have a real hard time with purging but moving really forces new priorities. I feel like if you and Will end up buying a house someday, look into building your own shelves. The materials can be a bit costly, but the quality is SO much better than what you could get at Walmart or Target or Ikea.

    Also, just now, I realized it’s been like three years since we’ve seen each other! Hope you are doing well!!

    • I hope you do a whole post about your new shelves with lots of pictures!!! He’s such a keeper!! And yeah, moving DEFINITELY helped me cull before we got married!! It was like do I care enough about this book to pack it and haul it to the new place? NOPE SEE YA. But yeah, I’m hoping for some better shelves once we move!! Just trying to keep these ones alive till then!!

      And yessss I miss you. So weird last year with you not doing BEA. Are you going this year? I’m a NO…my first time in what like 5 or 6 years??!?

  3. I just bought a new bookshelf because I ran out of room on my smaller one. Because they’re both still relatively small (they’re cube shelves), I focused on making sure all of my book have a home as opposed to leaving space for decorating. I usually like the shelves that have some where the book are laying down but I just don’t have the luxury for that. I ended up organizing alphabetically this time around and I had one shelf that was almost empty, so I am using that for reviews that I haven’t read yet (I don’t have nearly as many as you! haha). I do still want to go through and do a little purge though, now that I’ve organized.

    • Yes I love that too but I feel like my shelves are a little too narrow for it to look nice? I do have it on some shelves because it gives me room but it doesn’t necessarly look pretty! I think it always looks great with the rainbow bookshelves or like when you do it with series! But mine are just rando. lol.

      And I think that’s been my thing…I care more about getting my books on the shelves bc we have NO room in this apartment that I can’t sacrifice any room for decorations and stuff haha

  4. My bookshelf is a mess too. I keep telling myself that I’ll get to it but I never do. I finally put it on my to do list so hopefully it will actually happen.

    • YES same. I just put it off and like I will tidy it ~enough~ sometimes but mostly I’m just putting a bandaid on the problem!

  5. hahaha my shelves look a lot like yours. I need to do SOMETHING….but not sure what.

    • I feel much better that at least it’s not meeeee! I feel like with all the beautiful bookshelves I see posted by bloggers and other people online I assumed everyone kept pristine bookshelves!! hahah

  6. I don’t have a bookshelf; I keep my small physical books collection on my desk shelves. For a long time I used to just purchase e-books on sale because I’m EXTREMELY limited on money (non-working undergrad here) but recently I’ve been able to buy more books and now I’m running out of space! So I’ll have to buy a bookshelf soon! YAYYY! As for how I organize them, I simply put the books of a series beside each other. That’s it. I’m way too messy for any other way.

    • It’s soooo easy to run out of space quickly! That’s why ebooks and library books are so great haha. I remember having a tiny bookshelf for all my life..then I joined Goodreads in 2008 and it started getting super full bc I was buying some but also doing a lot of used book sales. THEN I started blogging in 2010 and went CRAAAAZY with book purchases (I was living at home and working full time with a decent amount of disposable income bc my dad was still paying my phone bill and other things haha). Now here we are with 4 bookshelves and many piles later (with books in storage)….

  7. I think I’ll ALWAYS be working on my #shelfgoals. They’ll never be perfect. 🙁 I hate the shelves I have, too. An IKEA purchase years ago that I’ve regretted since I got them home because they were supposed to be dark brown but they just look black. Also, I need more room. I’ve been culling and purging for months — since we moved to our house, really — but I ended up with piles in the spare room and the closets of that same room full of the ones that I don’t have room for on my shelves but just can’t bear to part with, so I’m “saving them for Katie”. She’s 8 and already an avid reader, so my excuse is SORT OF valid, lol.

    I mean, I don’t HATE what I have going on in my book nook, but I also don’t love it. They’re cube shelves and so they don’t afford much room for my larger collections, since I currently shelve by author. But they work until my husband can make those custom shelves he’s been promising me for the last few years. 🙂 Good luck with your own shelves!

    • OMG I feel the same way with all the culling and purging…like it doesn’t get me anywhere. And omg I love your reasoning hahahah. Totally valid I say!! Re: always working on those shelf goals — I feel like I know I will be the same way. PERFECTIONISTS.

      Oooh custom shelves sound amazing!! I am hoping when we buy a house that I can persuade Will to do that. Totally hoping we find the perfect house with amazing built-ins but DREAMSSSS

  8. I have a few shelves that I try to keep well organized, especially the two I have in our living room since they are seen when people come over. I don’t have enough space in our current house to have all of my shelves together so I literally have a bookcase in each room of the house. I also have piles of books sitting around and I have had to utilize the window seats in our bedroom and office to store books as well. We’re planning to sell our house early next year so I’m going to have to start boxing up books to hide all of the clutter from potential buyers. I can’t wait until we get a new house so I can hopefully achieve my own #shelfgoals.

    • I love when you have to get creative with the book piles haha. Right now the platform our bed is on hangs over a little more than the width of a book so I can stack piles of about 5-6 books going all around under our bed. You can’t really see them except at the perfect angle and when you do it looks like our bed sits on piles of books…which I mean Will always whined that one day I had so many books he’d have to sleep on them! hahah

      Excited for you that you are going to buy a house soon and have more space!!

  9. I LOVE organizing my shelves and I suffer from all of the same things!!!
    I don’t really have a good system for incoming books except for ARCs — I have a whole separate book case for them and organize them by date! My regular bookcase is organized by read/not read, genre, and series for the most part. Usually I have NO SPACE for new finished copies so they sit in a stack until it’s time to rearrange everything again.
    I make SUCH A MESS when I take bookstagram pictures! I TRY to put the books away right after I use them but hahaha it’s such a disaster LOL!
    Good luuuuck!

    • Yes! I have just an ARC shelf too plus piles everywhere! And omg yes same with the finished copies that come in just sitting in limbo until I read something I will part with!

      omg I NEVER end up putting my books away either. Particularly if I’ve done a couple photos in one go. BOOKS EVERYWHERE. Will walks in like WHAT IS GOING ON. It used to be bad when I did video hauls of my books bc literally 20 books or so in one go and I was soooo lazy about it.

  10. Mine are a hot mess right now. They were pretty right after I organized them, but it’s mass chaos if you look at them today. I’m just waiting on the kidlets to outgrow the playroom, and it will become my own little haven.

    • MESSY BOOKSHELF OWNERS UNITE!!! haha. And SAAAAME….they always look really great after I organize and dust and get them all nice…but then like it only takes a couple weeks before they are back to a mess. And that sounds AMAZING to have your own little haven!!! I bet you are going to have so much fun decorating that!

  11. My shelves aren’t too bad at the moment…There are some gaps (I recently sold alot of books to Half Price), so they do needs some straightening up. I’ve also got two banners I made hanging across them, one for a wreath and one for a party I’m hosting, so that looks a little strange. Tho festive, heh! And I love the light blue bookshelves, and how the chandelier matches. It’s like a fancy nerd-love library. =)

    • Gahhh I wish we had a Half Price books around here so I could take mine there!!

      And right?? It looks so stylish and beautiful. If it were my library I would just stare at it always lol

  12. I definitely don’t have enough room for all my books! My shelves are stuffed full, and I have stacks on an end table, my desk, in tote bags…it’s pretty bad and unfortunately I don’t have the space for another bookshelf. I could use a book purge, but I also have a really hard time getting rid of unread books. There are a couple I could prooobably get rid of because they were impulse $2 purchases at the used bookstore haha, but then I think “What if I want to read this soon?!” and can’t quite part with them.

    I don’t really have an organization method either. I have one “favorites” shelf and I generally group things by author, but I don’t organize them alphabetically or by color or anything. I’m at the point where if I can find a spot for a book, I’m just shoving it there and glad it’s not on the floor haha.

    • I’m glad I am not the only one!! *high fives* And YESSSSS omg read books I’m great at getting rid of but so bad about unread ones. And a TON of mine are the same cheap impulse buys!! I just keep saying well MAYBE I will be in the mood for this soon. And then some of them still sit 7 years later lol

      “if i can find a spot for a book, I’m just shoving it there and glad it’s not on the floor” OMG SO RELATABLE RIGHT NOW. I feel the same way. I have organization with whats on the shelves but then there are other things that are just piled up with no organization whatsoever.

  13. Wow some of those bookshelves were mind blowing! I wouldn’t say my shelf situation is awful but I’m just never happy with them. First they’re the cheap ones from Target and none of the sizes match. Not to mention each and every one of them is in my room so not a lot of space to work with. There are shelves that I’m so happy with and yet others that are just kind of blah. Plus it takes so much time to take every book off and do a complete reorganization. Eventually I’ll do a massive overhaul. I just have to find the time. Good luck with your shelf goals!

    • Right? I just want to stare at all these pretty libraries and shelves!!

      *high fives for mismatching shelves that are ALL in your bedroom* And I feel you…I think that’s why I dread it…it’s a daunting task to take every book off. I think I might try to tackle a shelf a day and see how that goes.

  14. OMG, I need a purge schedule. That’s a great idea. I’m adding that to my calendar now, otherwise it’ll just keep accumulating. My shelves aren’t QUITE as crazy as yours (thank goodness for my basement), but finding things lately has been a chore. I’ve gotta do something about it!

    • YES I think scheduling it really won’t let it be a thing that I just forget about it. Even if I do it once a season it will keep it more manageable!

  15. I am especially amused at the Harry Potter POP figures that appear in pretty much all of those bookshelf photos. 😀
    I have never had enough shelf space for the books I have. I ended up being extremely ruthless about purging books a couple of years ago, and I still don’t have enough room. Between my husband and I we had over 1000 books in the house (and probably 85% of those were mine) and approximately 2.5 actual book shelves. Oops. Not nearly handy enough to make my own shelves, but it’s a dream goal one day. I used to have all of my books sorted by genre, and then author (you can take the girl out of the bookstore but…) but lately I have been craving rainbow organization, so I might work on that over the spring/summer.

    I had zero clue there were so many bookshelf photos on instagram. Ye gads. I feel my productivity at work today is about to go down the drain.

    • hehe the POP figures are a common theme these days in general! I have like one…haha. I want them but I can’t justify spending money on them bc I’d rather buy new clothes or go out to eat with Will or something. I’m really weird about collecting things lately. in theory I want them but I just don’t want to purchase money towards a collection. Unless it’s books haha. Can you call cute blazers a collection? Maybe I lie.

      HOLY MAN 1000 books!!! I’m really good about being ruthless with my ~read~ books but girl I need tips for the unread ones!!!

      Mine are currently by genre and author too!! I am craving the rainbow too but I’m so practical sometimes I will get frustrated if I can’t remember what color something is and I want to find it haha


  16. I don’t know about all you book lovers but at the end of a long stressful day, before I regain the mental strength to open a book, I love to just sit peacefully and STARE at my shelves. #heaven

    I love how these #shelfgoals incorporate Pop! collections. I have a few little tchotchkes that have special meaning but dwindled that collection down to make more room for books and to feel less cluttered. My virtual “to read” list is way longer than those that I actually own. One of my reading goals for this year is to purchase or acquire (through Paperbackswap usually) much LESS so I can catch up on the unread books I do own. I have a pretty sweet deal with my local used bookstore owner friend… if I finish a book i’m not keen on keeping, I can trade to her for accumulated store credit (which i’ve been using to buy friends/family books instead of for myself). My 600 sq ft apartment just can’t hold too much without feeling cluttered!

    My shelves (or Ikea cubes) are arranged by topic or theme… post-apocalyptic fiction, classics, Harry Potter, history of psychology, all my Neil Gaiman, etc. Possible post to come!

    Spring cleaning is always the best time to tackle a project like a shelf revamp. I am so guilty of starting to clean my apartment and getting distracted by rearranging/organizing my shelves (the dishes and other dusting can wait). Good luck with your shelf project!

    • YESSSS amen. Sometimes I just lay on bed and stare at them before bed haha. Except for lately when I just close my eyes and pretend the current mess doesn’t exists lol

      My virtual to read list is the same. IT IS SO MASSIVE. Thank god I don’t actually own all them. I think I should take your lead and try to catch up on the unread books that have been on my shelf for a while. And wow what a great deal with your friend!! And I feel you..our apartment is small too and it’s sooo easy to get cluttered.

      hahahha are we the same person? I do this all the time when I start to clean my apartment.

      • Your reply made me laugh out loud. And what did I do this weekend? Stumbled across some sweet picks in the B&N bargain bin. Four books that would’ve cost me $96 for $25. Sometimes you just can’t help it!

  17. Don’t ever say you’re embarrassed by your books. Seriously, you can’t imagine how much I envy your shelves. You’ve got so many great gems in there that I still haven’t been able to get my hands on and it’ll probably be quite some time until I do…

    So I’m a little confused.. when you mean you give your book a home, do you mean a place in your shelves or an actual home with other people? Are you a book dealer? :p

    I could never part myself from my books. I like looking at them, especially the ones I’ve read (possibly multiple times) to remind myself of their stories. But it’s becoming a bigger space problem day by day. I’ve started stacking books in my wardrobe now and it just pains me not being able to have them out in the open for me (or anyone else) to look at.

    So my strategy of dealing with all my new books is the following: I have an excel file specifically for this where I write down all the books I own (inventory style). That way I can keep track of all of them and I always now how many books I really own. At the moment my shelves are kind organised by genre although sometimes it’s just random. I’ve also got some bookshelves haning on my wall which are fandom organised. But yeah, I don’t have the space anymore to organise them by title because two years ago everything was organised alphabetically. At the moment bookcase is quite tidy and you can have a look at it on my insta: swissbookworm
    I’ve got some shelves hanging on the wall, but I still need to decorate my wall a little more because it’s so white and I’d like to hang a map with postcards next to some pictures. So I haven’t posted any pictures of those yet (I think) since I cleared my IG and started over. I just hope that when I move out I’ll get some big bookcases for my rooms so that I’ll also be able to set some shelfgoals 😉

    • Oh no I’m not embarrassed by my books! Just embarrassed about how absolutely messy they always seem to be (never quite THIS bad but always pretty messy!). Def not embarrassed by the books, more embarrassed to be honest about what a mess they are.

      Re; “giving the books a home” — I do mean finding them a place on the shelves but also it could mean a home in my donate/give away pile! But book dealer sounds like a fun job 😛

      I have the hardest time parting with UNREAD books. SO HARD. I am pretty good about read ones. I ask myself: was it a fave? Will I want to reread it someday? If I answer yes to either than I keep it. Sometimes it might be a favorite author but the book wasn’t necessarily a fave but I like keeping an author’s collection together.

      I like your idea of keeping an excel sheet!! I try to keep track of owned on Goodreads which is nice but I always forget about taking them off when I get rid of them. Pretty decent at cataloguing when I get them!

      • Sorry, that’s what I meant 😛 I just didn’t choose the right words ^^

        Aha 😛 Okay, that makes a lot more sense.

        Thankfully, I still do have enough space to keep all my books, but probably not forever and then I’ll have to part with some too :/

        I also put my books on Goodreads, but the problem is if I review a book on my phone it doesn’t ask me if I actually own the book and then sometimes I forget to add it :0

  18. I love this post! I also have some serious shelf envy whenever I go on Instagram haha! I’m pretty happy with how my shelves are looking but it’s not my dream shelves. I have 9 boxes of books sitting in South Africa waiting to be shipped over once we’ve bought a house and I’m dreaming of the day where I can have loads of bookshelves and my books to fill them. At the moment there’s a small bookshelf in my room that’s built in with the house we’re renting but it’s full now and I have books gathering all around my room. I’d love to buy another bookshelf but we’ll be moving soon so it’ll be a hassle taking it down in a few months. >.<

    • It’s so hard to keep the envy at bay! I have to remind myself that, no matter how ugly or messy, some people would be thrilled to have the collection I have or the space to have that many books. Some days that thinking doesn’t work tho depending on how many amazing bookshelves I see in one sitting haha

      I’m excited FOR you to move into your new house so you can build your own little library!!

  19. This is fascinating to me because I have nowhere near that many shelves (and not that many books so I don’t need more anyway) for books. Right now I have a bookcase by my desk for “to read” books which are mostly books I’ve had for a while (no more than a couple of years except for Diana Wynne Jones) and new review titles. I do go through that and pull things as needed. It’s not very pretty because it’s also where I keep all of my files for taxes/work/bills but I do have a top on the bookcase with cute trinket boxes and stuff.

    In the bedroom my mom and I share I took over a few shelves of a skinny bookcase and have two board shelves mounted on wall brackets (one of which has my picture books/pop up books/large size classics). I also put my pretty bangles and things on the front of my bracket shelves to “prettify” them and because they are super hard to store.

    I don’t actually organize my shelves and I feel weird about it being a blogger and librarian but it just isn’t useful to me. I only recently started to group same author/same series books together and that was only because I emptied my shelves completely to do my last weeding session and then put them back in a more mindful pattern.

    I feel like I’ve recommended it before but Marie Kondo’s book really helped me put my closet/books in perspective. She’s way more austere than I’ll ever be but coming to her approach with a take it or leave it attitude helped me admit a lot of my TBR books were ones I’d never read and move on with my life.

    My biggest challenge with dealing with books is that I have to deal with them RIGHT AWAY. Which actually is true for how I deal with most things involving tidiness. If I put it away right when I have to I keep things neat. If not, they pile up. When I get a new book I immediately add it on goodreads/shelve appropriately or stash it to regift/giveaway at work/or list for my ARC Adoption. The same is true for books I get rid of. After really deciding to let a book go (after waffling about it for a month or so) I need to get it out of the house fast before I can change my mind anymore.

    • That’s a good way to get creative and pretty your shelves up! I need to find things that might be functional yet serve as “pretty” as well! SPACE IS AN ISSUE!!

      I read Marie Kondo and started on my closets and did OKAY but kinda failed. I should try it for my unread books. My read books I’m like sooo ruthless about bc I know if it’s a favorite or a reread it will stay and if not byeeeeee. I feel like I need to try it with my books despite my failings with my clothes and see how it goes. I mean, if it’s an unread book that I *STILL* haven’t read after all these years like maybe it’s time. Especially because, as I will need to remind myself during the processs, should I decide I want to read it I can library most of them!!

      Yeah I think I need to just stop being lazy and deal with things right away when it comes in…and that DEF is outside of books too that I need that help haha. I feel like there’s no real hack for that except JUST DOING IT. Which I am spectacularly bad at.

      And omg saaaaame if I keep anything I’ve purged in the apartment I will most def talk myself into taking it back out hahahha

  20. Pulling a whole mess of books out for a video is my downfall. All of my shelves are double-rowed and double-stacked, so I have to pull things out to pull things out, and it’s such a process that when it comes time to return them, I’m just like… eh, they can sit in this teetering pile for a month… Oof.

  21. I wish my shelves were pretty and aesthetically pleasing like the pictures you posted, but they’re not quite like that. I have black shelves, white shelves, various shades of brown shelves, all different heights and widths. I’m trying my best to have my books shelves instead of stacked, but sometimes that’s the only way they can fit. I put picture frames, mugs, and little figurines from travels on my shelves (I don’t collect the POP figures, but I do have Harry and Voldie on my Potter bookcase).

    But in terms with keeping up with the influx, it’s a matter of maintaining the “backlist” titles. I have a TBR bookcase that I go through every season and determine whether or not I’ll actually read any of the books on there. Then I go to my other bookcases (books I’ve read and kept) and see if there’s anything I’d donate because I’ll 1) probably never read again or 2) can’t even remember what it was about. I do this once a season, or at least twice a year. I don’t receive NEARLY as many books you do each month, but it at least helps with the limited space.

    One other thing: I have shelves — like actually shelves you nail into the wall — that float around my room on walls that can’t fit bookcases. Those are stacked and lined with books. It’s pretty and decorative. That also helps.

    • PS please please please invite me over when you organize your shelves. I can help you in so many ways — determining which books to keep or donate/giveaway, where to put new books from the mail, how to organize them on your shelves, etc. Plus, like, I LOVE ORGANIZING. It’s my happy state!

    • I’m REALLY good about my read books! I ask myself — is it a favorite? Will I likely reread it? — and if it isn’t a yes (which most aren’t) they are GONE. It’s those pesky unread books that kill me. I really need to go through the ones I KNOW have been on my shelves for YEARS. I mean, when I think about it, I haven’t read it all these year and if I REALLY want to read it randomly one day…I CAN LIBRARY IT. Like it’s so practical of a solution. And yeahhh my ARC shelf is so out of control. Like I am pretty good about figuring out what I don’t want to read and passing them on but sometimes it takes until I am in that SEASON when the arcs come out for me to really know what I’ll be passing on. So I try to each month tell myself what books are coming out that I probs won’t get to or I heard things about and am not interested in. I have priorities for sure and then it’s like ehhh no bigs I can library it. And ARCs I still want to read…if it’s been 6 months – year since pubbed I get rid of them. It will be better for everyone for me to library it instead at that point if I want to read them. I keep a list on my library account of ARCs I got rid of but still am interested in and I totally have gotten books off it before!

      We have a big shelf in the wall that Will put in behind our couch and it looks so great (thanks Ikea showroom with our same couch and that shelving idea lol)


      • This is something I need to constantly remind myself too: if I can’t get to an ARC or a new release that month, LIBRARY IT. Go to the library! The library will always have it! Library, library, library. It’s like some weird mantra we need to keep telling ourselves.

        Oh nice! Aesthetically pleasing AND helpful!


  22. Hahaha my bookshelves are crap!! And you should see the 5 giant piles of books sitting next to my bed by my nightstand. It’s a daily tripping hazard. I’m the WORST at organization and cleaning!! Good luck with yours. I’ve resigned myself that this is the way it is LOL.

    • hahaha I think after this try and maybe again when we move into a house if I can’t find a way that sticks I am also going to resign myself to the fact I’m just a messy book nerd!!

  23. Aaa, I can relate to this! Thanks for the post 🙂
    While I LOVE the shelf pictures posted, I personally don’t shelve my books by “look” (color or format for example- though they would probably be much prettier that way!)… Anyways I stick to a very “traditional” (??) model, all alphabetical order by author, and different bookcases or shelves for genres (YA, Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction). When I get a new book, I just squeeze it in the correct place, and move everything over… until I need to make a new shelf 🙂 – this is why when I first set up my library I left a bunch of empty-ish slots that I filled up with decorations. Keep us posted – would love to hear about your progress, and Good Luck!

    • Mine are more traditional too! I’ve got it by adult fic books, non fic books and YA books and then alphabetical order! The rainbow is soooo pretty but I feel like HOW WOULD I FIND ANYTHING

      Def plan to share my process!! 🙂

  24. Stephanie Volkmer says:

    I have 3 boxes still sitting in my closet because right now in my current living sitch I don’t have room for all the shelves I need. I have 3 but none of them match which drives me nuts….
    I try to organize different shelves by different ways. So one shelf might be alpha and the next rainbow. And I also do a read 5 buy one book buying ban (that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.) but mostly whenever I finished a book if it’s one I won’t reread, or it got a 3 star or lower ratings from me I put it in my box to get rid of. That way I’m not keeping mediocre books and can keep the ones l like. 😊 Hope that helps!

    • Oooh I like that book buying ban idea! And yeah, I’m REALLY good about read books. I ask myself “Is it a favorite or will I reread it?” and if it doesn’t fit one of those it’s GONE. it’s all those pesky unread books hahah

  25. I went through the exact same thing when I first discovered bookstagram and booktube!! I went through and cleaned out all the unnecessary junk so my books had a nice home. But now I’m running into the same problem–way too many books! I already have a pretty strict buying process–only buying books that I’ve read and loved in used conditions–but it looks like I may need to stop it for a while, haha.

    At least shelves are artfully hectic. There’s something charming about that, I think 🙂

    • ARTFULLY HECTIC. I LIKE THIS A LOT!!!! It *IS* charming! I have #shelfgoals but I am totally, for now, going to own the artfully hectic!

  26. Ooh, I’m not as good as you, I find it super difficult to get rid of books as I like to reread them. My shelves are very much like yours though in that there are books piled everywhere…across two houses. I could only fit so many books in my current, teeny flat while the rest are still at my parents. Me and my fiancé have just bought a house though which should be able to accommodate ALL the books!

    When I have the space though, at the very least my books will be organised by series instead of spread everywhere like they are now – especially my Discworld collection which has gotten a little spread out and unruly.

    • How I approach books I’ve already read is: Will I reread it? Is it a favorite? (sometimes I might keep if it’s a fave author but not a fave book or a book I really loved but isn’t favorite/a reread but is signed). That way I keep the ones I know I might want to reread and desire to stay. And I feel like if randomly one that didn’t make the cut DOES call to me to reread it one day…I can library it!

      Eeee excited for you to have a new space for all your books!! I dream of my future home for just the book options alone haha

  27. I have random shelves everywhere, plus stacks of books. I have almost no organization even though I had just tried to reorganize them last year. I acquire SIGNIFICANTLY less books than most people, I think, and I still can’t find anywhere to put them. I used to be bad about buying cheap books when they were on sale at B&N but now I don’t have a desire to read them. My goal, with the warmer weather, is to take a trip down to the Book Barn and get rid of em. I want to make a more intentional library instead of just random books everywhere.

    • omg SAME…I don’t buy as much as most book bloggers (I use my library A LOT!) but it’s still out of control. I have to say most of my problem is honestly review books and finished copies that I get sent unsolicited which is like 90% of what I get. I have contemplated getting off the lists just so I don’t have such crazy organization issues lol. And omg the cheap books always call to me! Used booksales! Coupons for book stores! Or when book club brings books for the taking! Library sales! If it’s cheap I’m like YEAAAAHAWWW forgetting that I have space. And honestly I’ve found, same as you, a lot of those books I am not all that interested in but bought bc I heard about it + good deal. WE HAVE A BOOK BARN TOOOOOOO. I haven’t been there yet but that is my plan this spring/summer!

  28. My shelf is a really nice shelf. It’s an old ladder and I made plywood shelves and painted them white and the shelf is beautiful. The contents of the shelf… it’s a hot mess. A big hot mess. I keep meaning to make something out of it and failing.

    Your shelf has so much potential though! All the beautiful books, I’m sure you’ll make something fantastic to look at in the end 🙂 Because I’m A-type I favour a by author or by series organization. But if you can be more free with it rainbow is always nice.

    • Your shelf sounds beautiful!!! I wish I were crafty! Come teach me your ways!!! 🙂

      I’m definitely kind of type A too which is why I feel like I will be SOOO frustrated by rainbow even though it pleases me aesthetically.

      And thanks for your encouragement!!!

  29. Ah, I love organizing bookshelves! It was a couple of years before I finally acquired enough bookcases for all the books that I currently own, but late last year, we finally went to grab the IKEA ones I wanted – and I’m loving it! I’ve rearranged my books a couple of times since then (and I’m already thinking about how I want to arrange them the next time I change stuff around), and it’s just so fun and so therapeutic to me.

    I think it’s great that you’re going to work on culling your books! I know it’s hard to let go of the unread ones (I used to struggle with this too), but I always remind myself of what you’ve mentioned – that’s what the library is for. It’s definitely going to make you feel better to get rid of stuff you’ve (a) had for ages but haven’t read or (b) are no longer interested in reading. They can go to new homes, and your shelves will feel much lighter! (And so will you.)

    Good luck with the organizing!

    • *tempts you here with dog cuddles and treats to help me organize*

      YES exactly! It will feel so great to get rid of the extra “weight” on my shelves that is basically useless and full of things I’m not super stoked to read but haven’t culled for whatever reason. I’ve done sooo many successful culls but I feel like there are always those books I, for some reason, find a reason to keep. I need to be as ruthless as I am with my read books!!

  30. I really enjoy looking at other peoples’ shelves and becoming inspired. I find it motivating to dust my shelves and books as well as rearrange items and books that were taking up space on my shelves. I hope your organization goes well! If you plan on updating us throughout your process that would be super awesome!


  1. […] “#ShelfGoals On My Mind” @ The Perpetual Page-Turner […]