6 ways to organize your books

11:56 AM

Do you remember that episode of Friends where Ross’ girlfriend has a really messy, dirty apartment and in the end Monica shows up at her house saying she can’t sleep because of it and offers to clean it?

I totally understand Monica.

Not so much her urge to clean, but I have organized my sister’s and my mother’s wardrobe voluntarily just... for fun. 

I assume most people don’t understand this, which is why sitcoms always make fun of borderline OCD characters such as Monica, Niles from Frasier and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. For me, being organized just comes naturally and I like organizing my closet and bookshelf in different ways.

If you struggle to keep your books organized or are just looking to shake things up a bit, here are some ways I have organized my book shelves over the years. 

1) Alphabetically
The simplest and most obvious way to organize your books. It will make you feel like your bookshelf is a real library.

2) Subjects

This is particularly useful when you’re in college and need to do a lot of research. Keep all books in the same topic together. I had three main groups: Literary criticism, Novels, and Brazilian authors.

3) Most used
I’ve always kept the books I use the most extremely close to the table where I work. My dictionary and thesaurus are always at an arm’s reach. You’ll save time if the books you use often are not scattered all over a book shelf or sitting way over at the highest shelf.

4) Color

Not practical at all but great as a decoration device and a way to add more color to a room. Even if it’s not as perfect as the picture above, rearranging the books you already have by color you will make a beautiful effect. If you can stick to this system and memorize the colors of your books, you can start buying cheap books just because of their color.

5) Emotions
Let's be honest, sometimes books save lives. Organizing your books based on the emotions they produce can be helpful. The next time you get home desperately needing a laugh or a  pick me up, you know exactly where to look for. Can you imagine being in a dark mood and all you can find are Stephen King books? 

6) No system, just insanity
I’ve read somewhere that keeping things always in the same place is bad for the memory. So for one month I organized my books in no specific order, just to see if I remembered where they were. Because this is rather time consuming I only advise it to those who really are trying to improve memory.

Always try to organize your books to fit the needs you have right now. 

Recently I decided to organize my books between read and un-read. So that I can easily go through the books I need to finish and avoid buying more books.

Asking yourself how your bookshelf can work for your lifestyle is the best way to start.  

Are you the chaotic type or the Monica Geller type? How do you organize your bookshelf?

Images via 1, 2, 3

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  1. Hey, I liked this "read/unread" organization! It would help me not buying the same Com. Montalbano book, last year ... (sniff). My shelves are bordering sheer insanity!

    1. I don't think I've ever bought the same book twice - at least not inadvertently. Don't despair! I'm sure you'll bring your shelves back to sanity. How about organizing them a little bit each day? xx

  2. Number 1, 2 and 3 are my traditional ways, with read-unread being rather uncommon for me lately, as there's simply way too many unread books in my collection ;) And while I have a lot of monographies that I prefer to group into series and topics I think that read-unread works best with novels. These are the books we usually choose for specific emotions and mood, not interest, and so getting into the right one easily and quickly one is crucial :)
    Also I like to keep books I'm more attached to or those from my childhood separately, and I divide my history monographies into periods - Pirates and sailing ships, XVII century, First World War etc etc
    This way it's always easier to pack them as I'm moving from one place to another quite often, and also helps when I use them for my projects :)
    And I totally agree that colors are not practical :)

    1. Pirates, ships, WWI? Your shelves are very interesting!

      I guess nobody really went for my suggestion of read and unread books... And it's funny that I do that all the time otherwise I never get to the books I need tor read!

      I've done the color system and it looks beautiful, but I think I'm not doing it again any time soon. ;)

  3. Another great idea is to make an electronic catalog of the collection! I can recommend All My Books program. With the catalog it is very easy to know, how many books you've read (even divided by year/months) and many more. I like the statistics :)


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