Organizing Your Bookshelf

Bookshelf 2012 019

Photo Credit: Call Me Crazy Reviews

I know there are plenty of people who have books all over the place. The floor, the coffee table, the sofa…just about everywhere. I wouldn’t consider myself one of these people. I have my two shelves right here that are a bit dusty, but nonetheless fairly organized.

I’ve always wondered at how people organize their own shelves. Not really because I care, but because I can’t see myself organizing mine any differently. Before I tell you how I have my books organized, let’s talk about some ways you might organize yours.

Author Last Name

Fair enough. I think every bookstore I’ve ever been in has organized their books by author last name. The books are easy to find and you have all of the author’s books in close proximity to one another.


For all of you diverse readers, this may be best suited for you. Maybe you read some romance and sci-fi and YA and mystery and you want them to be separate for when you go back and reread your books. I mean, bookstores are basically set up this way with the different aisles for different genres, so why not your personal collection?

Book Title

Can’t go wrong here. You have your books in alphabetical order based on the book’s title. Easy enough.

Now let me tell you how mine are organized. Answer choice C. I ย have my books in alphabetical order based on the book’s title. I suppose I could just as easily have them listed by author last name, but I’ve never liked that. I know it works for others because I’ve seen their shelves, but eh I like my way.

So that’s it. How do you organize your bookshelves? Do you use one of the three systems I mentioned or something else?

33 thoughts on “Organizing Your Bookshelf

  1. It’s a little embarrassing, but I organize my books aesthetically. I like for my shelves to look pretty and I have framed photos and accent pieces mixed with my books, so I arrange them according to pics/colors on the spines. No other rhyme or reason to it.

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  2. I have so many books that I organize mine by book size (hardback or paperback, basically) and then within that by author last name. There’s just not enough room on my shelves to go mixing the hardbacks in with the paperbacks. Also, if you organize your books by title, what do you do for the series? Are they just scattered about? They need each other!


  3. Mine are organized by author. The books by each author are organized alphabetically. Because I own multiple books by nearly everyone on my shelf.


  4. My books are generally scattered all over the place – because I love the feel of looking up and seeing that book I love so much across the room. But in my moments of needing everything organized it’s by genre, within that by author (alphabetically) and within that by title (alphabetically, unless it’s a trilogy/series and then it’s in numerical order). It’s a complicated system…only I understand it. Hence why it never stays that way for long.


  5. I used to organize my books by authors, but I realized that it looked quite messy, and made my room look messier than it already was :’D so I decided to organize them by publisher, or rather, by height. Most often, publishers use the same format, so it usually fits from the height ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. I organize mine by size (tallest to shortest) with the heavier books on the bottom shelf and the lighter ones on the top shelves. It is also really important to me to keep books that belong to a series together.


  7. Well, I’m such an organizing fiend, so mine are organized by genre, then by author, and then by date of publication (or order if it’s a series). Love me some organization! Considering my mountain of books, keeping it this organized helps me find things easier.


  8. Interesting question.

    A majority of books I own are organized by author and are hardbacks purchased after reading them as an e-book, first. When a book is good, I want to tangibly possess it. The bookshelves are spread throughout my house for aesthetic or spatial reasons, so my library is disjointed. On the rare occasion I buy paperbacks, I do not display them on a shelf.


  9. The books on our bookshelf are not organized. We have too many books for said shelf, therefore the books we had room for sit on the shelves in no particular order. I have arranged books by size before (tallest to shortest), and I’m the only church librarian who arranges the books in the series in numerical order instead of by title (probably because I’m the only one who cares).

    I will keep this post in mind for when I move, though. Almost an entire bookshelf will be open for my books and my husband’s books. The use of an actual organizational system is appealing.


  10. I put series together because I can’t stand to have them apart, and I’ll usually tuck that author’s standalone books beside his series. For all my other fiction, I mostly lump it by genre or height (I know it’s surprising but there is actually a noticable height difference between most of my books and it bugs me. I have a lot of hardbacks though, so that might be why). Then I have a cubby for nonfiction/textbooks, which I tend to organize by topic. Upstairs in my study, I keep all my film/writing books together.

    Annnnd then you’ve got a book on the bedside table, one on the coffee table, one in the foyer. They’re all over ๐Ÿ˜›


  11. I organize my books by fiction and non fiction. Between those 2 categories, my books are unorganized, placed in random order. Currently, I don’t have a lot of physical books (about 15), so as I get more physical books, I will probably create a system of organizing them on my book shelf.


  12. I have an odd way of organizing mine. Bigger books go on the bottom of the bookshelf – which has grown to include a few scrapbooks and large collections; The next three shelves are all in genres, and the top two shelves are my old (like early 1900s) books. I think my reasoning was that when my kids were younger, I didn’t want them accidentally getting to the fragile books. Now that they are approaching teens, they can reach, but I keep them that way out of habit. I also need at least one more book shelf to accommodate new books ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. I organize my bookshelves by favorites. My top shelf is all Stephen King, because I own more of his books than anything. Second shelf is my full of my favorite series and authors, and so on. My bottom shelf is a mess of books that I have recently read and not organized into my book shelf. Each shelf is actually two rows of books, but I organize it a way that I know what is behind each book. I have a separate bookshelf where the top two shelves are books that I need to read, but it’s ever growing and will probably end up taking up the whole book shelf instead of just the top two shelves. I probably have too many books.


  14. Haha, I tend to organize it, then it becomes very unorganized… It usually starts off being tallest to shortest or by color so it looks pretty, then it’s just wherever the book ends up being placed. I think I might try by book title though!


  15. Okay, so I meant to comment the other day…. If I have the luxury of organizing, I put all fiction together by author’s last name. Non fiction goes by Dewey decimal system. I’m a total librarian at heart, so I sort of know how non fiction is supposed to be. I sometimes mix it up. However, right now, my organization is really bad. The to read pile, the second to read pile, the third to read pile, the favorites shelf, the second favorites shelf, the paperback romances, the poetry in the closet, the paperback romances I re-read….. The stack by my bed. The ones collecting dust. ๐Ÿ˜› It’s bad.


  16. First by book category (ie fiction, non fiction, educational, travel, photography), then by hardback or paperback, then by author, with all series being in order. Not that I suffer from OCD where my books are concerned, i enjoy every moment of it.



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