Organizing Tip: Organizing a Bookcase

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How to Organize a BookcaseDo you love reading and collecting good ol’ fashioned paperback and hardcopy books?

Ever wonder how you might go about organizing your growing personal library in a way that works for your reading and reference habits?

In this post I provide a few tips to help you organize a bookcase.

Figure out how you’d like to use your bookcase.

How do you use your current bookcase or bookcases?

Do you use it to reference non-fiction works, or do you enjoy perusing the shelves for a much-read and favorite paperback?

Perhaps you just need a place to house your books out-of-the-way of your daily activities.

As simple as this may seem, figuring out how you want to use your bookcase is key in terms of putting it in proper order for your personal use.

Do you want to be able to find your favorite cookbook or illustrated collection of fairy tales with ease?

Do you want to have some available space to store new book purchases?

Remove or re-shelve books as necessary.

Bookcases are nice organizing projects because they are really cut and dry storage units; they can only physically hold so many books!

Now that you’ve figured out how you want to use your bookcase, it’s time to sort out the books you want to keep versus those you no longer want. Go through your bookcase shelf by shelf and sort your books into two separate piles: a keep pile and a remove pile.

For those books you longer want or need, perhaps you could donate your unwanted books to a local library, community center or charity, or consider selling or trading them online. As you sort through the bookcase, take a moment to wipe down the shelves.

Choose your own organizational style.

Who says books only have to be organized by an author’s last name, title or subject? There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to organize your personal book collection books. What is the use of having a library if you cannot reference, enjoy and use the books you’ve so carefully collected and cultivated? Feel free to use your own imagination and creativity to find a system that works well for you.

You could organize your books by:

Author: by first name or last name from A to Z or Z to A

Color: use the color palette (think ROYGBIV) for an interesting aesthetic approach towards your books

Title: for practical reference and economy

Size: to keep smaller books from being lost among larger books and/or make sure a bookcase is not top-heavy

Functionality: group books according to subject or usage, such as keeping borrowed library books together, non-fiction, cookbooks, textbooks, self-help books, books related to a project you’re currently working on and so forth

Purchase date: to keep a chronological tally of when you purchased or received a book

Location: to keep books so you’ll know where to find them, say your favorite paperbacks in the top left corner of the bookcase

and so on and so forth…

Don’t forget you can mix and match any of the above systems with each other or any other system of your choice. Your only limit is the size of your bookcase!

How about you? Are you a book lover? How do you like to keep your books in order and/ or find what you need in your bookcase or bookcases? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.