How do you organise your bookshelves?

I love looking at bookshelves. Beautifully calming book-nerdery.

I have a sort of organisation system. I split my books into short stories, graphic novels, non-fiction, children’s/YA, poetry/plays and fiction. Within that, I just keep the same author’s books together (but they will be split across categories, e.g. Philip Pullman lives separately in children’s/YA and fiction). I also have a shelf on my thin bookcase for books that are on their way out to friends or the charity shop.

Photo 30-01-2014 20 52 46

It does mean the fiction section gets a bit unwieldy, but I like it that way. I really like browsing. Unless it’s something that needs to be read for a book club, I tend not to plan what I’m reading next. I like having a wander over my shelves and seeing what jumps out at me, and, often, when I’m looking for a particular book, a different one I’d forgotten about will be just what I need. Basically, the longer it takes to look for a book, the longer the browsing time and greater the chances of ‘book serendipity’.

Photo 30-01-2014 20 52 19The books I haven’t read are mixed in with already-read ones. I think I would find a TBR shelf kind of stressful and it would stop me re-reading when I wanted to because it would be looking at me in judgement. Yes.

I’ve been trying to keep on top of my book collection by having fairly frequent culls. I tend to keep the ones I think I’ll re-read, or that I have some kind of connection to (because it made me feel the feels or because of the context in which I was reading it). My books are like little capsule memories in that way. Some books hang around for longer than they should, but enter a kind of ‘relegation zone’ in my head and will likely go the next time I cull. I’ve had a recent cull, so at the moment all I can see are (what looks to me like) massive spaces waiting for new books. Sigh. I must be good and stick to my book-buying ban a bit longer! (I have a horrible feeling the ban is just going to backfire and lead to a massive binge – a bit like if you’re not allowed tea and cake).

How do you organise your shelves? Do you keep everything, or do only certain books make it into your permanent collection?

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3 Responses to How do you organise your bookshelves?

  1. I’ll readily admit to being a book hoarder. Unfortunately, I am currently without a decent set of bookshelves since moving into a house a few years ago… So, nearly all of my books have been relegated to a long table in the basement and many, many boxes. It’s largely a permanent collection, but I did cull several boxes worth to donate to the library last year.

    Ideally, when I finally get some shelves, I plan on organizing them by author and keeping fiction and non-fiction separate. For graphic novels, I’ll probably go a little more in depth and organize them by Absolute Editions for DC and the Marvel omnibus collections, then divvy up the rest by publisher and series, so DC will be separate from Marvel and separate from Image, and so on. The one small bookcase I have in my home office is fairly cluttered and unorganized, but houses some of my graphic novels. I also have a few of these over-sized hardcovers taking up space in the wife’s sofa table.

    I also have separate TBR piles, one of which sits atop the office bookshelf. A second pile of books I haven’t gotten to are separated from the other books I have read in the basement.

    I’m starting to feel like one of those weirdo hoarders on reality TV, so maybe I ought cut this short! lol Great post though, I love a good shelf collection!

    • D says:

      I think if I had more space my natural book-hoarding tendencies would be unleashed! It’s weird because I’m kind of a minimalist with everything else and I don’t like a lot of clutter or ornament-type things.
      I don’t think I could deal with books in boxes, I like to see all the books I’ve got (I am a browsing weirdo I think!).

      • Books and movies are my big weaknesses, so I definitely like that shelf-aesthetic. The boxes was a rough adjustment, but necessary. At least I can go down the stairs, pay a visit to them and reassure myself! 🙂

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