16/09/2014

What's Your Favourite Way to Organise Your Books? {The Birdie Musings}

Organising is one of my favourite things to do. Secret out into the open, shouted through the Internet: I'm a total neat-freak and I love it.
Whether it's putting my DVDs in order, grouping my clothes, buying cool storage tins for my knick-knacks (you guys KNOW how much I adore Brightside tins), I just can't help it. Organising is my thing. And when it comes to my books, it reaches a new level.

 Right now, I'm an ABC-girl. Books in standard alphabetical order, and then the books of each letter grouped alphabetically by their subsequent letters. It makes everything easy to find, and I'm all about convenience.

But lately I've been thinking about switching it up to a new system. So I've listed a bunch of ways to organise bookshelves below to help me decide! 

  
My current method, and probably the easiest. It's a bog-standard alphabetical system that makes finding books easy as ABC.

A really funky way to breathe some life into your shelves and, actually, the room as a whole. Organising books by colour creates an awesome wave-effect and leaves your shelves looking like your own personal rainbow.


 Grouping books together by author works wonderfully if you need a quick and easy way to identify books by your favourite writers. It's not so great if you only have a few books by the same authors though.


Organising books by emotional response. Books that made you angry, made you sad, made you laugh. It makes picking books or what sort of thing you fancy reading easy as pie (and fun too!).


 This is where things get really creative (and time-consuming!). Organising your entire bookcase into spine poetry. It can be loads of little poems or, if you're feeling brave, one long one! Even though it may take hours, the result will be awesome and unique.


 Sorting books by their genre, or the main theme is always a good bet. All the crime books together, dystopias in one place, romances in their own section. Things can get a little confusing when books contain more than one main theme, so it's up to you to decide which is most important!


 Books by release date is a good way to sort out which new releases you have, and which books are still gathering dust and need to be read asap. It's helpful if you've got a reading schedule and don't want to be distracted too much by shiny new books. It's also a pretty good way to keep track of trends throughout the years and to see how your reading tastes have changed.


 Another popular way is sorting books by how much you love them. Favourites first and then gradually descending to books that weren't so great, or starting with less-than-awesome books and then ascending to books that are all-time favourites.


Do any of these inspire you to revamp your shelves? What's your favourite way to organise your books? Are you a standard ABC, or into more quirky methods? Which new method do you think I should adopt?



 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart. Stalk her on twitter, instagram or goodreads.


52 comments:

  1. A big website once did a survey on how people sorted their shelves, and apparently almost everyone sorts them by alphabet or author. Sorting them in a funky way like by colour always looks amazing, but doesn't seem very practical to me. I sort them by genre and age group, so when I'm in the mood for a YA PNR I can easily find one :D

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    1. Alphabetical is for sure the most popular, just because it's the quickest and the easiest.

      Tbh, I'm thinking I don't really need practicality as I don't tend to re-read books a lot, so it's not like I always need to find them easily, you know?

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  2. Oh, this is such a great topic for discussion as it's such a variable topic. :)

    For the majority of my reading life, my books have been organised alphabetically by the surname of the author. However, now the majority of my shelves and piles are just stacked and shelved however they fit.

    I'm getting new, matching bookshelves soon, and have been thinking of using a new system when the happens, too. I think after watching certain booktubers *cough* Katytastic *cough*, I just want all my books to be the same size and look pretty and what not. I think organising shelves by colour is appealing, but it would take too much time. I think the only way that would satisfy me now, would be the following hierarchy:
    * Format
    * Genre
    - classics (highest shelves)
    - adult
    - YA
    - childrens (lowest shelves)
    * Height
    * Author's surname

    If that makes any sense at all...good luck with finding the perfect system for you! :D

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    1. I like the thought of organising by genre as it means books are easily grouped together, but then I feel like so many of my books are similar genres, it'd be too randomly sorted

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  3. I still don't have that many physical books, but do have a brand new bookshelf. I've been sorting by color because it looks cool! But I also try to keep the series together. It is a woke in progress since I'm now buying more to fill out the shelves!

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    1. Oh, I always keep series book together. The first book in the series will be filled in the correct alphabetical place, and then all the rest of the books will be put right next to it in series order. Can't split them up!

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  4. I would love to resort my shelves but I need to get new ones first and I don't think I can fit another one in my room haha. I currently have a favourites and hate shelf, and the rest is basically crammed into any space it can fit. I wish I was as organised as you :P

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    1. I need new shelves too and have absolutely no room either. Not sure what I'm going to do, really!

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  5. I think my bookshelf is pretty randomly "organised" haha. I have my favourites displayed more at eye level and put crappy books down the bottom, and group together series, but other than that, it's just random.
    The only really organised shelf I have is my Sanderson shelf, where I put all of the books I own by Brandon Sanderson. Since he's my favourite author he gets a special place on the bookshelf :P

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    1. I quite like the idea of putting favourites at eye-level and hiding the less great books lol!! I think what I'm actually going to have to do though, is get rid of the less-than-great books to make way for more new reads. I just don't have the space to keep books I haven't enjoyed!

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  6. Heh. Never thought about the different ways to organize. We've been here almost 3 years and most of my books are still in boxes, and the new ones I have bought/received are piled in the hall

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  7. Most of my books are on my kindle but the ones I do have in hard copy are organized by series and then what series is my favorite to least fav. Not anything too original but I like it. ;)

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    1. Sweet and simple! Bit like my current way :D

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  8. I…don't organize my books. I USED to, but then I bought more books than I had shelves for, so now they just kind of get thrown up in stacks. Especially since I moved out of my parents' and my books are just basically collecting dust until I get my own place someday (or move back in with them.)

    Before, though, I organized by age category. YA were on one shelf, adult on another, and then all my old childrens/MG on another. I'd group them together by author/series, and then try to keep hardbacks together and paperbacks together otherwise. Mostly, I cared about how things looked. I never owned so many books that I needed to keep them organized so I could remember where I had things.

    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

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    1. Really? Not AT ALL? Hmm . . . I actually kind of like that lol.

      A lot of people like grouping by aesthetics, but I've never done that because I have so many books, it'd take me ages. But I'm really considering it now because I need the prettiness!

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  9. I feel like the spine poem thing is just wooow! Too much to handle lol. Remember that Kiss the Sky poem I did on my blog? That took ages so this would be just too much, but oh-so-cool! DO IT HEHE. I think a lot of people do the release date order with their ARCs. Luckily I don't have that problem ;) I use I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU NOT more than anything but mostly for I LOVE YOU books. I put my I LOVE YOU NOT books away to the back of my shelf and those are so horrid that I don't even want to rec them to a friend O.o I display my favorite series of favorite series (lol) (A2Y-HF of) on the top of my shelf and on the front row (three rows in total on that shelf) along with my other NA favorites. Then I have a shelf of completely unread paperbacks and some not-read hardcovers. Then a shelf with some series by JLA and Julie Kagawa and in front of them are my gorgeous HC-s that need to be displayed and then.. tall books and UK paperbacks on one shelf. Pffft. I'll send you pictures someday. It's too much explaining haha. But I constantly revamp my shelves and I'd love to do the library thing with ABC :) I STILL VOTE FOR SPINE POETRY MWHAHA.

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    1. Right? How long would that take?! It'd be like a mini novel made out of books (which is kind of awesome, actually).

      See I won't do to the I love you thing, because then I'd have all my favourites chilling together like they were friends and they'd be easier to find if I ever wanted to re-read certain awesome chapters. But I feel like I'd have too many 'eh' books that wouldn't really have a place and would all be dumped disorderly together.

      Books I haven't read yet though . . . they don't even get a spot on my shelves, or I'd lose track of them. They're piled on top of my bookcase waiting for a coveted spot haha

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  10. *high five* to organising. I love it. It calms me down! I tend to just organise my books by colour. It's my latest method and I'm addicted xD But now you've inspired me! I mean, c'mon, spine poetry! I never would have thought of that and am now a little attached to that idea...perhaps on a raining afternoon I might even pursue it :D Brilliant post!

    Jess @ MyReadingDress

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    1. Exactly! It's so relaxing and everyone always looks at me weird like 'how is THAT relaxing you?' but it dooooooes.

      Spine poetry would be beyond epic. If you do that I NEED pictures!!!

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  11. Wow those are a lot of ways to organise a book shelf !
    I like sorting my books by height. I like it when all the books on one row are the same height. But since I have loads of different book formats and that I want to keep books by the same author together, it's not always possible :)

    I really like your blog ! It's so pretty :)

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    1. I never thought of sorting by height before! That actually makes sense and I feel like it'd help me make room for more books, because right now it's hard to stack with so many different heights messing up my system!

      (And thank you! I'm glad you like the design <3)

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  12. WOW! So many ways to organize a bookshelf Allie! :D I definitely am a combination between "you can't label me" and "I love you, I love you not." I reserve my top shelf for my favorite books / series, and then my 2nd shelf is for the rest of my books in order by what genre they are. My bottom shelf continues this and then host my ARCs as well.

    Thanks for sharing Allie, and BRILLIANT post! <3

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    1. I think I'm going to have to have a 'favourites' shelf, because I really like the idea of grouping books together by how much I loved them. it seems less robotic than my ABC method and since my books are precious THEY NEED THE LOVE

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  13. I always think my shelf is pretty unorganized but I do keep books my the same author together at least. I don't go by alphabetical order though and they're not particularly order by feels or favorites, but some of my favs are on the top shelf! I think that spine poetry method would be so awesome but I'm not creative enough for that lol Oh! I do like it when books that are the same size are beside each other too :D Sorting by colour would look great but I'd hate to think of series books being separated. Hope you find one that works for you! Great topic choice :)

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    1. I think I may keep the alphabetical system, but have my own favourites shelf. Just maybe the top two or something, so at least my babies will all be huddled together.

      I didn't even think about series books being separated in the colour sorting thing. Oh, man, I could NOT do that.

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  14. I don't organize my books in any fashion. It would take me WAY too long to do it in an ABC format or something like that. Plus, I have a ton of bookcases and places I keep books, so it would be a bit wonky looking. I like the color idea, because I think it's cool looking!

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    1. Colour would SO look the coolest, but now I've just been reminded that it'd mean separating series books and AHHH. My OCD would go crazy

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  15. Alphabetically, by author surname. For awhile I'd had them as a random collection with my favorites on the higher shelves, but as I got more books, this was just not working. I have seen some AMAZING bookshelves organized by color, but I am just not that creative. Great post, I love this idea and reading everyone's responses :)

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    1. Everyone's responses are just making me even more indecisive lol! I know I definitely want a favourites shelf now, but I also want to do the colour thing, but then I don't want to separate certain books. THIS IS TORTURE

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  16. I do a great big Dolly Mixture of a few of these. I'm having new bookcases made at the minute, so currently my books are all over my dining room table (it's like a mountain of books!) and they're sorted into read, not read, and want to read now!. When I do get bookcases to put them all in, I group like this - larger coffee table books, text books and non-fiction go on the bottom shelf. Fiction is grouped by author, and their location on the shelves depends on how much I loved them. The ones I love are high-up or at eye level to show them off. I also tend to try and arrange by height, because it looks nice and my inner freak likes it, but my sister, who's an interior designer, tells me to be a little looser with it and it will actually look better as more of a mishmash - I'm working on it. Then I'll probably arrange by age-range or genre, but rather than going into themes it will just be by the prevailing genre. I actually can't wait to get these shelves now, this post has got my organisational-loving-heart beating!!! :)

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    1. Everyone seems to do the eye-level thing for loved books except me :( SAD TIMES. I'm gonna do that, I've decided, and then either keep the others in ABC or colour-them. A favourites shelf is now completely necessary though. I WILL DO IT THIS WEEKEND SCOUT'S HONOUR

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  17. I love this post. :) I'm kind of a "put them where they look good" book organizer, which is actually weird because I'm so type A organized regularly. Lol. I only have one bookshelf, so I group books by their author, but simply wherever I want to. My favorite spines are at eye level, my least favorite at the bottom. :)

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    1. That's kind of a good system actually, especially if you're not a big re-reader, so don't need to find things quickly!

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  18. At the moment I'm a mix between "I Love You I Love You" and "You Can't Label Me", although the latter is they're just grouped in how I got them. *sigh* It's really messy and I'm not happy with it. But I'm waiting till the end of the year and then I'm colour coding it!! Although splitting up my series does NOT make me a happy thing.

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    1. YES, let's colour them together!!! And then we can take pictures and be all cool on instagram haha

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  19. Oh, I'm all of them.

    Just kidding. Kind of.

    My last organization scheme was genre based, but I have friends who do it by color. That one boggles me. But if you have a photographic memory then it would make sense. Another fabulous post, Allie!

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    1. The colour thing tempts me because it looks pretty and I don't tend to re-read books a lot so it's not like I'll need to find them quickly or anything.

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  20. Currently, my shelves are sorted by color. It's really hard to place another book (new purchases) on my shelves, though, so I plan on re-organizing it and separating hardbacks, paperbacks, series, etc. soon! I actually want to try arranging them by feels. That might take forever, though. xD

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    1. Oh is it? Hmmm, I didn't think about that with colour, but I suppose that would be an issue. Actually, I'm also thinking stacking books might be an issue too as it'd mess with the colour and ruin the pattern :/ damn.

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  21. I have a shelf for general fiction + classic books, and a shelf for YA books. I organize them alphabetical since it's sooo much easier to do that, but it's annoying though because I don't have room on my shelf to fit new books I get. Shifting everything is so tedious. I don't want to put myself through it when I know a few weeks later, I'll have to take the books off the shelf to reorganize it.

    I want to organize by colors, but I fear I won’t be able to find anything! Also, I’m weird about series being far away from each other. The series have to stick together. Separating my Harry Potter books will be horrible for them! They’re a family. Can’t break them up.

    I’m really considering organizing by how much I love the book. It’ll be far easier. All the books/authors I love to pieces will be on my bedside table because those deserve that spot! I like to see them when I wake up! ;D

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    1. YES, shifting is majorly tedious. What I did recently was re-arrange everything so I had at least 3 extra books' worth of space on each shelf so when I got a new book I'd be able to easily slide it in without re-arranging everything. SO much easier!

      The colour series thing is what's really bugging me. I'd have to keep the series books together and then it wouldn't look uniform.

      I have a mini bookcase by my bedside table – maybe I'll make that a favourites case :D

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  22. Well, my books are mostly organized in piles and boxes, you see. :)

    In the laundry room (yes, the laundry room), I have the books I'm not interested in reading or don't appeal to me in a box.

    In my room at my desk (going across the top of it acting as a bookshelf), I have my books organized by height. With two of my big Barnes and Noble leatherbounds on each side acting as bookends.

    Then on that same desk I have a stack for my books I've read that I bought in June, a stack of books I haven't read that I bought in June, and my library "haul".

    Then on my dresser are this month's purchases in the following piles:

    Friends of the library book sale day one pile (Just added today)
    My Amazon purchases
    My "Thrift Books" purchases (the ones that have come in so far)

    And finally there's my stack of books I bought in June from a library book sale.

    :) I really need some bookshelves. That's not counting all the books I have spread throughout the house. :(

    If I were to organize them on shelves, they'd be organized by genre so...

    Young Adult, Adult, Classic Fiction, Plays, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Memoirs, and Christian.

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    1. Genre is a good way to go, but then I'd have trouble for books that were of more than one genre, or didn't fit into a specific group. I'm a little indecisive when trying to pick categories

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  23. I actually use a combination of ordering my books on my shelf, I keep author/series together but also the rest are arranged according to size. It looks so pretty that way. Great post Allie!

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    1. Size is actually good, because you can fit SO many more on. The less space I have, the more I think of that option!

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  24. I had them sorted by color for a while and even though I loved the look of it I had two problems with it: 1) I didn't find my books anymore. I just couldn't remember their spine color and was startin to think I lost some :D 2)Every time I bought a new book I had to move whole rows of books to be able to put it where its color fit. VERY annoying.

    What's always worked for me is sorting by genre. I don't even mind that I don't have an author's books in one place.

    My main problem with sorting books, no matter which kind, is that I hate that I can't have all my books on eye level. I always feel sorry for the ones that are on the bottom shelves :D

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    1. I always feel bad for the bottom books too! And I get annoyed if the top books aren't as pretty as the bottom ones. Maybe reverse-alphabetical is the way to go :P

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  25. OOOOOH SUCH GOOD IDEAS. Especially the spine poetry one although I DO NOT HAVE TIME. Also by how much you love them/your emotional response. Before, I used to just have the bog standard groups of author's books, then when I moved rooms to a bigger one I organised my books into colour and I think that's how they're going to stay for a LONG while to be honest, because they are SO PRETTY.
    Also. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog you have a new follower and MUCH PRETTY BLOG DESIGN<3

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    1. I think spine poetry would literally take weeks to do. It'd be crazy, but I would LOVE to see pictures of someone's shelves who had done it. It would be the coolest thing

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  26. I could probably organise mine better but with over 600 books, it gets hard. Alphabetical isn't practical for me, I would hate that. I like having series together, I like having an authors books together. I like having my favourites at the front and on the highest shelf. I tried colour once but didn't like how it looked or how long it took to do. It went back to my normal way almost immediately. Alphabetical would make it easier for me when looking for books hidden at the back, but I don't think it would work.

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    1. I do alphabetical, but I keep series books together. So they're alphabetical by the first book's first letter, so Delirium would come under D and then the rest of the books in that series would be next to it. Splitting series books is a no-no for me!

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