How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves? {Discussion}


A couple weeks ago, I shared with you guys an updated Summer 2014 bookshelf tour. As much as I joke around about how ashamed I am of how many unread books I own, I do take a lot of enjoyment in making my bookshelves look pretty and just staring at the beautifulness of them all 😀 There’s nothing that really gets me quite as excited as being able to look at an entire shelf filled with gorgeous same-height hardcovers. I mean, that’s the dream.


For me, personally, my favorite way to have my shelves organized is by unread/read, and then by genre. I have 3-4 bookcases of books that are read, which are all separated by genre, and then 3 bookcases of unread books, which are separated into genres as well.

But, how do you guys sort your bookshelves? There are so many different ways to go about it!


1. By genre. This is what I do! For me, it’s just the easiest way to find my books and I think they look really pretty that way as well.

2. Alphabetical order. Plain and simple — just put in order by the author’s last name and, boom, you’re done!

3. Rainbow. This is another very pretty option! I actually went to a restaurant recently that was decorated with books in shelves around the room, and they were all organized by color. It was so cute!

4. Priority/Excitement level. I think that this way is actually kind of cool. I’ve heard of people doing this for a stack of books — not really with all their books, because that’d be kind of crazy with multiple bookshelves — but I think the idea is an interesting one.

5. Publication Date. I actually kind of like this idea! If I didn’t have mine separated by genre, I might seriously consider choosing this option. I feel like, for book bloggers especially, organizing your books from oldest-to-newest might actually beneficial. It’d be easy to browse and would maybe encourage you to pick some older-catalogue books to read with your more recent books (I’ve heard a lot of bloggers say that they have trouble getting motivated to read those older books that are still on their TBR).

6. No particular organization! This is how I used to have mine “set up” before I became more seriously interested in reading and collecting books a while back. I didn’t really have a system, I just threw them all in together! When you only have one bookcase, I guess it doesn’t really matter too much if you just leave them disorganized. While I definitely wouldn’t want to do this again, I bet it’s still a popular option and it’s totally fine if you want to be all crazy like that! 😉


So what about you guys? How are YOUR bookshelves organized? Do you stick with one particular system? How often do you rearrange them?



26 responses to “How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves? {Discussion}

  1. I reorganise my shelves regularly, out of boredom, but no matter by which criteria I organise them, read/unread books will always be on separate shelves, too. Sadly, that’s possible and necessary with my amount of unread books …

    When I’m in a reading slump, I usually put the books I’m most excited about on eye level. I recently bought two new shelves, and the books on there are organised by colour – I rarely do that, because it’s impractical, but I wanted the new shelves to look pretty.

    Usually, though, my books are organised by publisher, edition + author, because that way my Penguin collection looks best. 😛

    • Oh that’s an interesting idea, organizing them by publisher. I didn’t even think of that!

      I think that the whole “organized by color” thing looks really pretty and is a cool idea, but would actually be such a pain in the butt haha. I feel like I’d never be able to find anything!

  2. At the moment, I only have on true bookshelf *shocked gasp* I have two others, but they don’t really have my important books in them … they’re more like overflow (or what I *thought* was overflow until I started book blogging and then somehow ended up with more books that I have ever had in my entire life – EVER).

    So my one good bookshelf has my favourites in it – but not really. it is a very small bookshelf, and it’s overflowing to the max. In fact, I have heaps of books just stacked in piled in my room, in the lounge room, on the kitchen bench, and in the spare room. I have a problem, Miranda! 😀

    But I have already decided that once I finish uni this year, I am going to do a HUGE organisational haul of my bookshelves. I’m cleaning out my room and getting rid of crap that I don’t need/has lost its importance over the years, and buying bookshelves to completely line my wall, like a kind of library. And then I will organise my books alphabetically, because that’s an easy way to find them – just like a library!

    Although I really do think that publication date is a great way for book bloggers to organise things! I just think it would be a bit harder to do because you’d have to open up every book :/ Still, it would make sure you’re reading the right book at the right time!

    • Oh good point about the publication date thing. Although I heard of one blogger who uses those little circle yard-sale stickers to organize her books…I’m not sure whether she had the dates written on them, but that might be a way you could make it easier on yourself. Although I think I’d be worried about the stickers ruining the books and looking unsightly haha.

      I love the idea of lining a wall with bookshelves! I wish I could do that at my house, but we have too many windows! I never thought I’d think that was a bad thing 😛 But I hope to somebody be able to move and turn a whole ROOM at my new house into a library! With back-to-back shelves just like the library 🙂 That’d be awesome!

  3. I have to organize mine by height, then within the different heights it’s by authors last name. I also like to keep my hardcovers and paperbacks separately, but this gets annoying when I have hardcovers and paperbacks by the same author. And then when they are different heights too….this drives me crazy! Weird I know 🙂

    • I really like having my books line up height-wise, too! It doesn’t always happen, but I’m in love with my YA contemporary shelf that is just hardbacks and is perfectly level all the way across.

  4. I don’t really organize my bookshelves. My books are kinda all over the place, like most of them aren’t even on the actual shelf so whenever I want to go find a certain book, it turns into this scavenger hunt around my house to find it. Which can be annoying but usually I have a vague idea of where I had it last so it’s not such a big deal. Usually I just have the books I want to read next on my bedside table and then everything else on my bookshelves however I put them back. I don’t often go back to my shelves to take out a book once I’ve read it so it kinda works out! Though I know if I had more books and read the books I owned more often, this system probably wouldn’t work very well. In fact, I don’t know if I would even go so far as to call it a system? Because it isn’t really organized at all. Maybe one day I’ll gather up the courage to organize it and if I do, I think by genre would be my way to go too!

    • Haha yeah wow that sounds like the worst system ever, no offense 😛 My books totally used to be like that, too…just everywhere with no real sense of organization. But just because of the sheer volume of books that I own now, I kind of have to have a system haha. Otherwise there’d just be like 400 books all over the place and it would be so overwhelming!

  5. I organize pretty much all my books alphabetically by author’s last name. I am a librarian, after all, and any other way seems way too disorganized for me personally. I do have a few of my favorite books or series pulled out from my main bookshelves though, such as Harry Potter and the zillion copies I have of Pride and Prejudice. Those books are on a more decorative shelf and are more on display.

    • That sounds very organized! I approve! Author’s last name is probably the “best” way to do it, and I considered it, but I don’t know…by genre just kind of seemed like a better fit for me for some reason. I don’t know! But maybe I’ll do it like you someday. Or maybe I’ll do that with my “read” books…which is actually a good idea, now that I think about it.

  6. Weirdly I organize my books by height and series on my bookshelves. I have the Billy IKEA bookshelves and with as many shelves as I try to fit in them the space between the shelves is different, so the larger books are in different shelves then the smaller books. I have a shelve with only those short mass market paperbacks. I do make sure that books in a series are next to each other and usually I also try to group books by the same author close together, but some authors have a different size books for each series. I know there’s one author who’s books are on 3 different shelves, because of the difference in height.

    Beside that I have no particulair organiziation, but I still can find a book I search for quite easily. While I love being organized I don’t mind my bookshleves not beign organized, no idea why, but it just doesn’t botter me and I don’t care enough to change it.

    • This is so interesting…somebody else commented that they organize their books by height, too! I never even considered that as an option before, but it’s really a very interesting system. I really like it when the books next to each other on the shelves are the same height, too 🙂

  7. See, it’s funny to me that people divide books by genre, just because I don’t feel like I often really know which genre a book belongs to. I mean, if it’s got fairies I know it’s fantasy and stuff like that. But honestly, when I go to label a book as a certain genre in a review, I always just pull whatever Goodreads says as the genre. I just don’t really know the technical definitions for each and don’t really care, so don’t think about it! So yeah, obviously I don’t shelve by genre like you do >.>

    I personally love doing the rainbow option! It’s my favorite method of organizing when it comes to everything – even my iPhone apps on my phone. I don’t know what it is, but it just pleases my eye and usually I have decent color memory so I can remember what color a book is when wanting it, so know where to find it in my shelf rainbow! 🙂

    • I totally would’ve guessed that you’d have your books organized by the rainbow! I’m so not surprised 😉

      I can see where you’re coming from about organizing by genre, though. But I think that the genres I have my books sorted into are vague enough where that really doesn’t become a problem for me. It’s really just: Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Dystopian, Paranormal, and Fantasy. I know that there are subsets of a lot of those genres that have intricate definitions and whatnot, but like you said, I also don’t really care. Somebody even commented on my most recent bookshelf tour and told me that I had The Fifth Wave under “paranormal” instead of “fantasy.” Whoops! I just kinda thought aliens were paranormal? 😛 But whatever. It’s a very relaxed genre organization over here haha.

  8. I really like the idea of organizing first by unread/read and then by genre. I don’t even have a bookshelf, can you believe that? It’s just something that never happened though it was desperately needed. Right now my books sit in random piles on the whole right side of my closet. It’s not organized at all and sure does make it difficult to find books I’m looking for. AND I really want to show off my books when people come in my room, not hide them in my closet! That’s it, I’m asking for a bookshelf for Christmas! 😉

  9. I organize mine by read vs to be read and then alphabetically by authors last name within both of those shelves/sections.Right now I like it but I might change it up. I also have sporadic places where I don’t like to have them all by authors last name… like Harry… he gets his own shelf 😛 I love reading about how others organize their books, bookshelf tours on you tube are probably one of my favorite things to watch 😛

  10. I organize my bookshelf by author (since I mostly only buy favs, it ends up being quite a few per author). Top shelf is all-time favorites, then the other shelves go in alphabetical order based on the authors last name. Bottom shelf is my TBR! 3 bookshelfs just for TBR!? Oh boy that sounds like both a dream and nightmare, haha!

    • I have an all-time favorites shelf in one of my “read” bookcases, too! But then the other ones are by genre. I’m thinking about switching it to author’s last name (only for my read books), though, because I just don’t like how it looks right now.

  11. I don’t have lots of bookcases and bookshelves, but I keep them organized as best as I can with what I have. I have a shelf for books that weren’t very memorable for me. I have a shelf for my all time favourites. And I have a shelf for my unread books. Each shelf is then organized by series/title and so on. I’m always reorganizing books, but I always try to separate the books I’ve read from the books I haven’t so it’s easier to choose my next read.

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  14. Since I have books of different sizes and bookshelves of varying heights, I’m forced to put the taller books where there’s room for it and the smaller books in the smaller section. After that, I don’t really have an order. I like to put my favourites in the middle though (I guess to kind of showcase it more?) I did order them in rainbow once and took a photo, but then right after that I just put it back to the way it was before, haha.

  15. I organize books first by genre, and then by series in order of book size, and then in series order. My favorite books go on eye-level, though.

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