For those who know me or those who have read our previous blogs from July, it’s no secret that I am a book lover. With well over 1,000 books on my shelves, my joy of books is not contained to simply reading, but also organizing.
Fun fact, if you have more than 1,000 books, your collection is considered a library!
Book lovers can be very opinionated about how to arrange their books and I’m no exception. Previously, my books were grouped by genre, then by author and finally in the order of publication to keep series together. Then in the fall of 2020 I watched The Home Edit on Netflix. Founded by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, The Home Edit is a lifestyle brand and home organization system. The four core steps of “edit, categorize, contain, and maintain” direct these efforts – and they are obsessed with organizing by colour. My books were already edited and while they were categorized, I was drawn to look of the rainbow book shelves that were featured in both the homes they organized, and the wall behind their monologue space. There is something so visually pleasing about the flow of colour from red, orange, and yellow, to green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV). I added a secondary area for brown, cream, white, grey, and black. I still use this system for the majority of my books, but I have tweaked my system to suit my style. At the end of the day, they are your books, and you should organize them the way that makes you happy.
The ladies from The Home Edit are smart cookies and the first step to organizing your books is editing.
Have you ever had this internal conversation with yourself: Do you need to keep all your books? (Yes!) Are there ones you are finished with and could donate? (Not many!) Are there ones with outdated information or books you’ve outgrown? (But they are pretty!). Evaluate your collection and your shelf space. Do you need more bookshelves? (Always!)
Now that you have made the tough decisions, and are down to the books that are keepers, the decision on how to categorize your collection needs to be made. There are several options:
- Alphabetical by Author. Similar to a library, you can assign a Dewey Decimal system if you are hardcore. Books are alphabetically arranged by the author’s last name, author first name and then book title. This allows for the ease of finding any book on your shelves.
- By Genre. If you have a wide variety of tastes, sorting books by genre may appeal. Books will be categorized by type (thriller, fantasy, mystery, non-fiction, etc.) and then they can be placed in alphabetical order or as you deem best.
- By Size. It can be helpful to group books by size to maximize shelf space, as oversized tomes require a larger shelf versus a standard paperback. It can also be aesthetically pleasing to have books grouped together this way.
- By Colour. Grouping books together by colour is very pretty. You can arrange the books in colour blocks as you like or follow a certain natural colour progression such as ROYGBIV.
- Book Lovers Choice. Arrange your books in a way that is visually appealing and makes logical sense to you. This may combine variations of the options above or just randomly group your books together in a style you like.
Truth be told, I am an option 5 book organizer. While I employ the colour rules, I do separate out my mass market paperbound books from the rest of my collection. I have dedicated bookshelves that are narrower to hold those styles of books. I have also found that I prefer series to be kept together; mine are grouped together by genre and sit above my standalone books that are arranged by colour. Truly I take the rules more as guidelines.
As always, if you are looking to chat books or see what my current read is, I am on Instagram at @books.with.manders. I hope this blog helps inspire you to take a look at your books and explore a new organizational system or fine tune your existing one. Its National Book Lovers Day, let us know what you’re reading!