Discussion: Bookshelf Organization


As you’ve probably gathered from some of my last discussions, I’m extremely OCD, particularly when it comes to books (for a more inclusive rant on the topic, click here).  Unfortunately, this also holds true for my bookshelves, which are constantly scrutinized and rearranged for a variety of reasons – aesthetic appeal, finding room for newly acquired books, attempting to categorize them in some manner, etc.

If you missed my last post, here are pictures of my books as they are currently arranged (click to enlarge).  And no, I can not make any promises that my books will remain like this for any length of time:


A few years ago, I went through a peculiar phase in which I reorganized my books multiple times per week, almost on a daily basis.  To this day, I still can’t figure out if I was a particularly bored child or if I was beginning to develop a few mildly obsessive habits which have simply manifested themselves as I’ve gotten older.

While I’ve stopped rearranged my bookshelves 4-5 times per week, I tend to pull all of my books off the shelves approximately once a month, scramble them up, and meticulously arrange them on my shelves..  Does anyone else find this process to be fairly time consuming?  It takes me a good 2-3 hours…on a good day…

Despite this constant rearranging, I’ve never been able to find an organization system that works for me.  I’m not a huge fan of alphabetizing books by title or author name, and arranging them by genre is always tricky because many books could be classified as multiple genres.  I’ve always wanted to reorganize my books by color, but I’m too scared – I don’t know how I feel about separating books from a respective series and I’m fearful that, after all of that work, I won’t enjoy it.  Therefore, my books are currently arranged in a hodgepodge of varying titles/authors, genres, and colors.  I also don’t have a designated area for books that are in my TBR pile, they’re just randomly interspersed throughout my shelves.

How do you organize your shelves? Any advice as to how I could reorder mine?

Signature Olivia


13 thoughts on “Discussion: Bookshelf Organization

  1. Oh, the bane of book owners! Organizing books is a tough process. I’m not super OCD about my shelves, but I will reorganize them maybe twice a year. The way I order all my books currently is by author, with different shelves dedicated to series that are only in hardcover, series that are a mix of hardcover and paperback, series that are paperback, and then all my standalones. I used to organize my books solely by hardcover and then paperback, but I hate having series broken up. I also used to organize my standalones by color, which was beautiful, but wasn’t all the practical when trying to find something. There are also a few shelves I have with weird heights that I have to be creative with, so that messes my organization up a bit. I also have to double stack nearly all my shelves, and I hate it. I hate the double stacking. I’ve got four bookcases in my room and two and a half are double stacked. Yeesh. My floors are sagging because of the weight of all my books!


    • Hrm…I might have to limit myself to reorganizing my shelves a more manageable number of times throughout the year. Two or three is sounding pretty good right now. I have too many books for my shelves, so I’m almost to the point of double stacking myself. It’s either that or getting rid of some books, and I don’t think I’m ready for that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • A few years ago I purged my shelves… and only ended up getting rid of about a dozen books max. I just hate letting books go! Even books I didn’t like I find hard to give away! And the double stacking is going to happen sooner than you think… and it’s going to be an absolute nightmare trying to decide which books you want display in front. Good luck with all the organizing!


    • Downsizing is never fun – although I’ll probably have to look into it soon, seeing as I can’t even fit all of my books onto my shelves as it is. I just can never decide what books to get rid of!


  2. I just stick with alphabetical, mostly because of my OCD. I also separate books I’ve read from those I have not read (books I have not read have no organization whatsoever because it changes so often). I really wish I could organize by color, as I am obsessed with rainbows, but I also can’t separate series. Then there is the fact that I have way too many books now to try rearranging them.


    • I feel like alphabetizing my books could definitely come in handy, especially considering the number of times that I spend 30+ minutes looking for a single book. I’m not sure that I’ll ever convince myself to set aside the time to alphabetize everything though! And I can imagine it would get complicated every time I wanted to add a new book to my bookshelf.

      I keep going back and forth regarding organizing my books by color. It’s just such a challenging decision! I’m not sure what I’ll like separating my series, and it might make things a little trickier to find than they are right now. think I’m also worried that I won’t like the end result and will have wasted 4-5 hours, only to return my books to the original positions.


  3. My shelves are divided into two sections: contemporary and fantasy/paranormal/dystopian. My middle grade and childhood favorites get their own respective shelves. What i do to keep track of the books on my TBR is place them horizontal on one shelf, and once they get read they get flipped to vertical and placed with the rest of their genre. That way when i go to look on my shelves is visually very easy to find my unread books!


    • Flipping the books that you’ve read is a really good idea! I may have to consider that… I feel like I always lose track of the books on my shelf that I haven’t read – they just get interspersed with all the ones that I have read!

      Liked by 1 person

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