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Every Way to Sort Your Bookshelves

I was thinking of blog ideas the other day and this one ended up popping in my head! I know that a ton of other articles show up when you look it up, but I thought that I’d show my own take on every way to organize your bookshelf! I’ll do a little description and show the pros and cons to each, so hopefully this will be a fun blog post! Hopefully this doesn’t seem as much as an “attack” than it is, a lighthearted blog post. 🙂

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1. Rainbow

This is my own go-to method of organization and like it’s name obviously suggests, it sorts books by color just like the order of the rainbow. It may look pretty, colorful, and appealing at first glance, but be warned. Since things aren’t sorted by any reasonable measurement and series are separated, you essentially have to memorize the color of every single spine to find what you want. Sometimes, the front cover doesn’t actually match up with the spine color like you thought it did, which can lead to many frustrations and endless searching.*

*Based on a true story.

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2. By Series

I used to have mine sorted this way, and it’s not a bad method of organization! All the series are clustered together, so that you have those nice consistent spines lined up right next to each other. The same problem arises like sorting by color with not being able to find the series unless you know where they are. But hey, at least you can finish whatever series you’re up to without intensely searching for the next book! Plus, everything is a little more organized in general.

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3. By Height

For the obsessive perfectionist, sorting by height is a great way to go! I have mine by height right now, but there will always be those five books that don’t have any conventional size. I swear, I have a book on my shelves that is probably a centimeter shorter than all of the others. Why? What is the point of that? It frustrates me to my very core, but at least the heights are *somewhat* similar! Plus, it can be easily combined with other sorting methods for your own enjoyment.

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4. By What You Have, and Haven’t Read

I’ve seen a lot of people sort their books based on what they want to read and what they’ve already read, and it honestly just sounds like a good, all-around method. Plus, as a bonus, it encourages you to actually read the stack of books on your TBR, since it forces you to look at the entire chunk of them! I would say that it’s hard to find reads this way, but it doesn’t matter, since you’re just reading whatever’s on your “haven’t read section.” So to anyone sorting this way, you’re doing good, but just make sure to have books you need to read so you aren’t left with a jumbling unsorted shelf!

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5. Alphabetically, in Any Way

If you’re shelves are sorted like this, I actually applaud it. It feels like such a time-consuming way to sort, but once you’re done spending 23471084930 hours with it, its all good. It kind of reminds me of a real library in a way, so I guess it’s like making your own library inside your home! Especially if you sort by author, all the series are together, and everything is all nice and organized. It’s only just a pain if you’re obsessed with seeing similar sized books grouped together.

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6. By Genre

Looking for an impromptu switch-up in genres of your newest reads? The “by genre’s” have got your back. Everything is organized by genre, with maybe another subgrouping in there, so it’s easy to pick out books to your heart’s content. Things are especially great for mood-readers who “feel” a certain genre, but don’t quite know what they want to read from it. The only problem with this, are those awful “dual-genres.” Does a historical romance get it’s own section? Is it stuffed in with the historical fiction or romance novels? Or what about a rom-com? You have to charge ahead with making those decisions, and more importantly, remembering what you even did. Which is horrible if you’re like me and you have insanely bad memory.

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7. By No Way, Whatsoever

These are the people whose shelves really aren’t sorted by any way, whether it’s out of laziness, not-caring, or just not needing to sort it. Yeah, I’m talking to you. It takes absolutely no work to do, which is always a bonus, but it’s pretty hard to find anything, especially if you have a large library. But, I guess it’s kind of just a spin on rainbow in a way, without the rainbow, so I don’t think I should be talking.

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8. Of the Bookshelf

I’m often victim to the crime of creating massive stacks of books next to my bookshelves. It’s the ideal method of storing for people with too many books and not enough shelves. It’s even more ideal for people who feel too connected to their books to unhaul anything, and who let books pile onto them (I am wholeheartedly, 100% talking to myself right here). Storing books on stacks is honestly all good, until the book you thought was on your bookshelf was actually midway through one of your five stacks. This is an especially painful realization, especially for those rainbow or non-sorters out there, who have no way of verifying that books are where you think they’re supposed to be, until it’s too late.

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Anyways, that’s all I could think of, so I hope you enjoyed this fun little blog post! I thought it would be a nice, lighter read for all of you! I’m going to do my best to post weekly on Tuesdays, but with a ton of classwork and just work in general, my posts might be on the shorter size.

And as a bonus message for all of you US citizens reading, it’s Election Day, which means that you need to vote if you haven’t already! I know you’ve heard it a thousand times, but I’m here to say it again. Do what you will with it, but your vote really does matter.

With that said, happy reading!

-Allison

20 thoughts on “Every Way to Sort Your Bookshelves”

  1. Love this post Allison!!! I don’t even know what category I fall into. My bookshelf is organized by color, height, series, alphabetically, AND by what I’ve read/haven’t read?? If what people say about bookshelves being a reflection of one’s character is true, my character is most definitely a chaotic mess 😂😅 Again, amazing post, Allison! 💚

  2. I love this post Allison!! I don’t even know what category I fall into. My bookshelf is organized by color, height, series, alphabetically, AND by what I have/n’t read??? If what people say about bookshelves being a reflection of one’s character is true, my character is most definitely a chaotic mess 😂😅 Amazing post, Allison! 💚

  3. Good post! My books are rainbow then size. If I had a lot of books, though, I’d have to alphabetize them so I’d know where to find something (or gasp, so I wouldn’t buy a book twice!).

  4. This was such a great post, Allison! You definitely got a few good jabs in 😂 I am one of those people who organizes her bookshelfs by genre, and then by author as a subgroup to that, so those “dual-genres” or authors who write in multiple genres are the bane of my existence… Those are actually the reason why I stopped organizing alphabetically within the genres – I have a very elaborate system in place so that those books can go in “genre boundaries” on the shelf and fit in both. Yeah, it’s very complicated 😂 And all of my books on my shelves are read – for the TBR books, I use the “Off the bookshelf” method and just stack them (very messily) on my bedside table…

    1. Thank you! I love the complexity, and I would totally do something like that if I wasn’t so horribly lazy 😂 I honestly need to separate my TBR books too, since they often get lost in my collection! And my philosophy is that as long as it works, it doesn’t matter how messy it is hahaha

  5. I loved this! I never knew there were so many ways to sort a bookshelf. Mine is by genre but with no order whatsoever… I literally just try and squeeze as many books as I can into the tiny shelf haha!

  6. This is such a fun post! I actually use several of these methods, so I’ll try to summarise. Here goes…

    My contemporaries are in rainbow order, because they’re usually brightly coloured, and they’re all standalones so I don’t have to worry about separating series. Then I organise by series within genres, (e.g. all the fantasy series are on one shelf) and within that I try to group them by author and colour. So multiple fantasy series by the same author go next to each other, and if they have white spines then another fantasy with white spines will go next to them. Even within this I have subtle divides between epic fantasy, YA fantasy, etc.

    It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but when I write it out it seems so confusing. 😂 Basically series are together, grouped by genre, and within that I put similar colours next to each other. It blends a lot of different methods and I really like it! Oh, I also have a separate little shelf where I keep unread books. Those are organised by genre 😂

    1. Thank you! I actually really like your sorting method! I like the idea of sorting by color to make it look nice, while also maintaining the organization of series/author. It sounds like a really great blended method.

      I also love the idea of the separate shelf! I totally need to separate my TBR from my shelf so they don’t get lost in the void of all my other books 😂 Sorting by genre sounds like such a good idea for that so you can pull out a book based on what genre you want to read!

  7. This post made me smile. 🙂 Once upon a time when I had far, far fewer books I did take the time to sort everything alphabetically by author. But as I kept accumulating new books that quickly got out of hand and things began falling out of order. These days I actually combine many of the systems you mention. I double stack on shelves with what I’ve read in the back and what I haven’t read out front where I can see it. I try to organize somewhat by genre, with specultive fiction mostly in a couple book cases, photography in its own, nonfiction and non-speculative ficiton over on another one. I try to keep books by the same author together and series together, but that doesn’t always work, so sometimes things become a bit haphazard. And I have lots of stacks in front of the book cases that I’m constantly reorganizing and moving around but never fully getting on shelves (no space). And recently I did sort a collection of fantasy/sci-fi magazines by color, though that was for a photo shoot. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I like the idea of combining all the methods! I feel like it’s so hard to sort everything alphabetically when you get larger collections, because it’s so much work making everything fit & minimizing mistakes. I think separating by genre is a great method, so that you can easily find a genre you want to read if you’re picking up a book from your shelf! I’ve always wanted to try doublestacking to save space, but I’m so scared I’ll end up trying to find something & not knowing where anything is haha.

  8. Ahh, I love this post!! I simply can’t sort my bookshelf properly:/ I mean, I know where everything is, but the colours don’t really match and everything. The bookshelf in the header is basically bookshelf goals! Hopefully, my bookshelf will look better soon (:

  9. This is such a fun post! I love organisation, so it’s nice to read about all those different ideas.

    Personally, I try to organise my books by genre and then by author alphabetically, or in a way that it’s visually pleasing. Some of my shelves can only fit books if they’re stacked so there I stack them by height. It might sound messy, but it’s perfectly organised for me! The unread books are stacked randomly in a different part of my room, so I can keep the tbr pile in control!

    1. Thank you! I like your organization method, and it definitely makes it easy to find things. I think that each person can have their own interpretation of what is neat or messy! I totally have to do something similar with my TBR books so they aren’t lost in my normal bookshelf haha.

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