Organising Your Books: How Do You Do It?

Organising Your Books: How Do You Do It?

Are you an alphabetiser, or a colour coder? Do you like order, or literary mayhem? Do you know where each book you own is shelved, or do you often spend ages searching for that one title you want? If you’re a lover of books, and own a lot of books, you will most likely have an opinion on how those books should be displayed. Personally, my keepers are in one bookcase, generally organised by subject matter. A second bookcase holds my TBR books, a third and fourth holds fiction and non-fiction respectively. To the untrained eye, it looks like I have a lot of books everywhere. But believe me… they’re organised.

How about you? How do you organise your books? Do you fall into one of the following categories?

Alphabetiser

Shelves that are sorted alphabetically are a pleasure to behold. If you alphabetise, you probably have a lot of books, and love each and every one of them. You like to know where they are when you need them, which is more regularly than most people with their books. Alphabetisers read a wide range of subjects and genres, with literary fiction holding a special place in their bookish hearts. You are a true booklover, with a deep respect for books.

Colour coder

We’ve seen the photos – immaculate homes with beautiful bookshelves, lined with colour coded books. There’s no doubt that it’s visually very appealing, but really, if using a Taubmans’ colour chart to find a place for a book is your thing, reading that book probably isn’t. In fact, I bet you’d get rid of a book if it didn’t match your décor. You’re not a booklover… you’re a designer. A hipster. Nothing wrong with that, but let’s call it what it is.

Shapeshifter

Unlike the colour coder, the shapeshifter might stack books in a way that is visually pleasing, but it’s done for the benefit of each book, not the overall look of one’s home. A shapeshifter often has a lot of books, of varying sizes. Shelves are stacked with books both horizontally and vertically. They have a wide range of hardbacks and paperbacks, usually organised with a couple of key design pieces, picked up on their travels around the world.

By subject or genre

Lovers of sorting by genre are often voracious readers within certain subjects. Perhaps you read a lot of personal development books, with copious amounts of fiction thrown in. One booklover I know has a vast collection of books on the history of Witchcraft, another crammed shelf containing books on female travellers from the Victorian era, and an area devoted to books on Japan. (Okay, that’s me, I admit it.) You’re great at a dinner party if one of those topics come up.

The hoarder

Usually, being called a hoarder is an insult. However, we’re discussing books here, so despite what Marie Kondo says, normal hoarder rules don’t apply. The book hoarder has books everywhere. Shelves crammed with books, hallways lined with books, bedside tables heaving with books. The hoarder rarely gets rid of a book and because they’re so widely read, their collection is vast and interesting. Friends with dust allergies find it difficult to visit the book hoarder’s home, but that’s okay because the hoarder would prefer to read than socialise anyway.

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                      1. Nicole Cook says:

                        Love your site! The Taubmans’ comment hilarious lol. I previously worked in a university library, in the Special Reserve section (3 hour loans). Students would actually ask for the green book! Frustrating at first, I then learnt to work ‘with them’ and pointing, randomly, I replied ‘oh yes, it’s over there next to the red one’.