This Could Change Your Bookshelves

Can’t find the book you want quickly? Don’t know what to do with that book you just finished reading? Bookshelves looking a little untidy?

You just need to find the organisation method that works for you. Here are some options you could try.

Image of a woman reading, in front of neatly arranged bookshelves.
Photo by cottonbro on

The bookstore way

Bookstores use a tried and tested, if slightly dull, method. It works well if you have many, many books. If you read in lots of different genres. And also if you mainly read books by a small number of authors.

Books are split by genre, then by author. And shelved alphabetically by title. It’s that simple.

But there are lots of other options that might be more your style. The great thing about arranging books at home is that you can be as creative as you want.

The more colourful way

Arranging books in spine colour order is a liberating choice. Create harmony or chaos – it’s up to you!

Of course, to find a particular book again, you’ll have to remember the colour of the spine. Or you could just read something in whatever colour you feel like that day.

The chronological way

The chronological method is good for readers who are starting to fill their bookshelves. Not so good for readers who already have a lot of books. Unless you have a great memory. Because you need to remember when you first read each book.

The idea is to create a timeline of books. Start with books you read at school. Then the first books you bought yourself. Next might be the books you read on your first holiday. And those from the first home you owned.

This is all sounds great, doesn’t it? Just remember, you will eventually get to the books that got you through a break up. Or the ones you read while in hospital. Or while grieving.

This book arranging method tells the story of your life, through the books you’ve read.

This could help you appreciate books even more.

The source of all books way

If you’ve ever had a ‘bookstagram made me do it’ moment, the source method might be right for you. You simply arrange your books by who recommended them.

This could be anyone from people you follow on social media, book bloggers, podcasts, and celebrities – to friends and family. Not forgetting school or college, festivals, or even adverts.

The book recommendation approach can help you see which sources are the most useful. If you haven’t kept many books from a particular source, you can probably stop taking their advice.

The scale of intensity way

This is the method I use. The idea is to shelve books by how much you love them. Favourites go at the top. This way you can grab any book from the top shelf, and enjoy a great read.

Good books are shelved directly below your favourites. You will probably come back to them again soon so they need to be easy to reach.

Books that were OK go on the lower shelves. These will hopefully be replaced by something from your To Be Read pile at a future date. Until your bookshelves are bursting with awesomeness!

It’s inevitable you will sometimes read a book you don’t love. But with this approach, you can quickly find a winning choice next time.

What’s your favourite method for well-arranged bookshelves?

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