Chaos! Or, How I Organize My Books

If you came over my house to take a bookshelf tour, your first thought would probably be, “Wow, there’s a lot of books here.” Then it would probably be, “Wow, everything is pretty dusty…”

After you greeted our cats, I’d take you around to look at my nine shelves and you might begin to look for some semblance of order among our collection of roughly 1,800 tomes. You’d likely find none, and you’d be mostly correct.

Even after years of having our libraries merged, Sweetbeeps still can’t find books he’s looking for. But I, Queen Hoarder Supreme, do actually have some idea of where most books are despite some rather large reorganization sessions. I don’t always find it right away, but I generally know what shelf of what shelf a specific book is on, even if I haven’t read it (which is good because I haven’t read like, 700 of them. Oops.)

We do have one shelf downstairs that is solely for vintage books and I even did my best to organize it by color (because as much as I like to see those beautiful rainbow bookshelves, there’s no way in hell I’m separating authors and series for the sake of aesthetic!), but really that does us little good because we don’t actually READ these books. They’re just for show…and smell.

There are a few shelves that are themed, if you will. Some contain only historical fiction or middle-grade, but these aren’t all of our historical fiction or middle-grade – they’re still spread about the house. I also tried to keep all my comics/graphic novels together, but they don’t all fit on one shelf so even though they’re in the same room, they’re not all together. Anything I have multiple editions of (Jane Austen, Alice, The Hobbit) are all kept together and I always keep authors and series together. I even half of a shelf on a shelf that’s dedicated to short story collections.

But really, there are books of every genre everywhere and I have no hope of grouping them all together, nor any real desire to do so. What I’d really love is to alphabetize my collection – I think I’ve mentioned this before and it would require like, a literal library, because I would always need room for more books.

Instead what I have are books on top of books, in front of books, stacked horizontally and vertically and balanced precariously, crammed in with a bunch of decorations like pop figures, photos, boxes and artwork.

I’m not a library, and I will tell you that if you ever come over and ask to borrow a book, but I think I do a decent job of understanding the chaos that is my collection and I do think of myself as pretty good home librarian.

~

Tell me about your collection! How do you organize it? Do you like to group by genre, author, color, paperback/hardcover?

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7 thoughts on “Chaos! Or, How I Organize My Books

  1. Hmm… Well every few weeks I literally have to take all my books down and start from scratch in the art of “bookshelf organization”. I buy way more than I have space for (call me a sucker for pretty covers! eek for the bank account). I usually like to organize first by genre (novel, short story, fantasy, mystery, etc) and then by what I plan to read next or what was my favorite and what I want to read more by. That way, if I’m in a hurry to a trip or want to recommend a certain author of novel to a friend, I have a space specifically devoted to those EXTRA special (all books are special 😀 ) masterpieces.

    • Oh man, I don’t think I could reorganize that often. I just keep piling books on top of and in front of other books. I can’t separate out what I haven’t read yet or it’d be an even bigger mess! Lol. Yes, all books are special!

  2. I group firstly in a few categories: books received from publishers, books received from indie authors, my favourite purchased books (mainly ya), my second favourite purchased books (some ya and mg and adult), bargain books, and free books. I separate these categories with a sheet of coloured paper (really, why do I bother?) and organise by alphabetical order of author’s last name.

    • It’s neat to hear different methods others use. I keep authors together if I have multiple books by them but sadly don’t have the space to alphabetize.

  3. I wish I had as many bookcases. I have one and a half and both are overburdened. I’d like to put some books on the floor, but I live in an old house that has silverfish bugs, which love gnawing on the glue that keeps books together. I hate them.
    I try to organize mine by genre and keep all the comics and such together, but sometimes I get lazy and just throw them anywhere. But my ideal library would be by genre and within the genres, by author, and hopefully, alphabetical (but that’s reaching for the potentially unattainable).

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