How to organise your bookshelf guess the question is really how do you fit all your books on a shelf system that isn’t big enough. Is a bookcase ever big enough? Sadly I do not yet own a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, yet. (copyright Disney etc) I don’t own a room high enough to install a sliding ladder either, yet. One day…

BookcaseThis image is my humble bookcase, currently. Horror! I hear you cry, you have books lying sideways…I know…I hate it too but needs must.
So back to the question how do you organise your bookshelf? I’ve had a few in my time so I’ll give you a few options to ponder.

  1. Genre – I’m with that currently, subsplit by author, you know classics, horror, thrillers, biographies you get the idea
  2. Reader – children books together on low shelf
  3. Author – you can go down the full alphabet route, although I prefer to keep all my reference books together by subject and that can fall down quickly with that method
  4. Size – yes size matters! My shelves are higher at the base of the system so I sometimes have to split up any system purely because a book is larger, see my previous moan about airport size books
  5. Value (not just monetary, but personally) – I put my valued books in the far corner so they are protected from the sun by the curtains you could choose to wrap them in fabric or make paper covers, Pinterest is packed with such ideas (spoiler alert! my own Pinterest account coming soon)
  6. Subject – especially with reference books, my study books for example are all together, as far as size allows, so I can dip into them for reference whilst writing
  7. Access – or should I say ease of access – all my dictionaries are next to my reading chair, then when a writer like Stephen Fry baffles me with something I can quickly look it up. Did you know Marilyn Monroe carried a dictionary with her everywhere so she could learn constantly from others, what a gal?
  8. Colour – I haven’t done this one but I have seen it done, it is literally sorting out your books by the colour of the spine, yes you do judge a book by its cover. It is stunning but I think a bit too strict for me, also I’d never find anything. Never say never though
  9. Misc -I have a shelf with books someone in the household hasn’t read yet, a book not worthy of staying on the shelf for life or even long term. It’s the ‘charity shop next’ portion
  10. DVDs and movies – really annoyingly they are on the bookcase, needs must, these are sorted by genre, in the main.

How do you sort yours? Are you a book snob who puts the heavy going stuff in line of sight (think politicians when they are having a quick interview at home etc.) or are you someone so organised that you don’t even have a system?


I’m a writer and creativity coach focused on sharing my love of travel, writing and books. I motivate, educate and widen horizons by blogging about my world of travel and words, writing books and encouraging others to find their voice.