How to Organize my Bookshelf?

I’m having a problem with my bookshelf.

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Let me start off by saying that I’m currently extremely happy with the organization of my bookshelf. I have it organized into genres, alphabetically by author. I like this because even if I can’t remember who an author is (for example, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I read it like, ten years ago, and I have no idea who wrote it), I can still find it easily because I remember the genre. It’s organized, it makes sense, and everything is quick to find.

So what’s the problem?

I have adult fiction (as opposed to sci-fi or fantasy) broken into two sub-genres: “classics”, or books written before I was born; and “contemporary”, or things written after I was born. I don’t know, 1900 didn’t seem quite right, and neither did 1950, so I just went with my birthday. Whatever.

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The classics shelf has always been pretty crowded and will always remain crowded. I love classic literature, and most of my favorites were written in the 1800s. Even when I don’t like them, I prefer to keep them on my shelf for posterity. It makes me feel fancy to have The Great Gatsby and Jane Eyre and Tom Jones on my shelf. Especially since I’ve read them.

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The contemporary shelf is one of the least crowded shelves in my library. Not because I don’t read them, but because I am cautious of buying books I don’t know are going to be good. I don’t want to be stuck with some random book nobody has ever heard of that I didn’t even like 20 years after it was published. When I do buy contemporary novels I didn’t enjoy, I also feel less obligated to keep them.

At least, the contemporary shelf used to be the least crowded. Suddenly it’s filling up, and I realize there’s only room for one more book on it.

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What do I do?

Option 1: Combine contemporary and classics. I don’t think it will help, the classics shelf is also quite full.

Option 2: Combine fantasy and sci-fi, which many bookstores and libraries do because they are often very similar. However, my fantasy shelf is also in danger of running out of space. I like fantasies!

Option 3: Buy another bookshelf. That’s my favorite option! But sadly, I’m running out of room in my study/craft-room. I don’t think another bookshelf would fit. Curse you extremely convenient and needed closet space!!!

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Option 4: Completely re-do the whole thing, and combine all of fiction alpha by author.

I actually rather like option 4. It’s simple, and it would create a lot more room long-term. However. How on earth will I ever find Red Mars? I’d have to either stare at my bookshelf for the several minutes it would take to browse every single book I own, or I would have to google it. Which, to be fair, took about fifteen seconds (author Kim Stanley Robinson, if you’re curious), but it’s the principal of the matter! It’s my personal bookshelf, not a library! I shouldn’t need a digital catalog!

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Option 5: Get all of the children’s books out of my library and into the kids’ playroom. That would open up two whole more shelves for me.

This is probably what I will end up doing, but it just breaks my heart. I don’t want A Wrinkle in Time anywhere but my bookshelf! It’s MINE. My own. My precious.

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I don’t like any of these choices (except get a new bookshelf, which is IMPOSSIBLE!). What I really need is some Time Lord technology that will make my bookcases bigger on the inside.

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So, bookish friends. Help me. What should I do?


11 thoughts on “How to Organize my Bookshelf?

  1. I know how you feel, but I have one room, not just one shelf. So I have the one shelf, and that’s full, so I brought up a cabinet (but it’s an old record cabinet so it’s not really meant for book storage)…I have books in suitcases and in crates, under the tv in the cabinet there, in the closet, and even in my drawers!
    So I know how you feel: one bookshelf isn’t enough. I’m not able to buy another: it’s not an option for me as I only have the room. My advice?
    Buy another bookshelf. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would personally say buy another bookshelf, if you can. Also, are there any genres or books you don’t like ? ‘Coz if there are enough of those, you give them away and you get more space. Moving the children’s books to their room isn’t a great idea because kids never handle books well. I currently have all my books in cartons, I don’t have ANY space for shelves in my current apartment. So I understand how that feels, it’s a pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if I put the kids books in the kids room, I would probably box them up for a few years first, until they were old enough to read them. Right now the kids bookshelf has board books and picture books, much more age appropriate!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. daniellethamasa says:

    That is always a tough decision. See, I would just get another bookcase, but that’s me. I’m starting to run out of space and pretty soon I’m going to sort through my closet and throw out a lot of stuff just so I can add some bookshelves to the closet.

    It sounds like for now perhaps the best option would be to remove the children’s books from the shelves and store them in boxes until either new space for books can be found or the kids are of an appropriate age for those books.

    Liked by 1 person

      • daniellethamasa says:

        On the plus side, at least you’d only be boxing them up for use later. My least favorite thing to do is to actually weed through my personal library and get rid of books.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I hate doing that too. Somehow (I don’t know how) I got rid of The Kite Runner! What was I thinking?!?! Fortunately, I haven’t bought much since the last time I did it, so hopefully I won’t have to do it again for a while.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah. The plagues of too many books. Hahaha! I have written an entire discussion post on bookshelf organization and the many methods. So, I completely understand your plight in addition to have too many books and not enough space. (About 30 of mine sat on the floor behind my couch in my apartment until I finally bought a new shelf… and then I moved. >.> )

    1) I think you should definitely move out the kids books. Yes, I get it. They’re near and dear to your heart, but I feel like having them in a separate room is forcing more compartmentalization of them. (I’m huge on compartmentalizing.) It’s also nicer to show off a full ‘adult’ bookshelf to friends/family. 😉 But that part could just be me. :p

    2) Space? Who needs space? If you got enough space for even a skinny bookshelf, buy a new bookshelf. Hee hee! Bookshelves are always a safer and tidier place to keep books. so, it’s the preferred method.

    3) Organize dem books how YOU want! The thing my discussion focused on was brain organization/personality = shelf organization. If you organize it in a way that doesn’t completely embody you, it will bother you FOREVER! Don’t re-organize just because of space. Organize by preference. Trust me on this one. ;p

    4) … BEST OF LUCK! Bahaha! This is quite a tough decision to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My other space problem is what to do with my complete collection of Animorphs books. Haha. They take up a bunch of space, and I am ridiculously proud of them, but there’s not really a reason to have them on my bookshelf. I’m never going to read them again. But where else would I put them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Daaang! That is quite an accomplishment (reminds me of when I tried to get all the Bernstein Bear books. Bahahahaha!) But I’m not sure. I feel like… that’s one of those things you get a display case for or maybe find like… mini-wall-shelves to put higher up. Then you could like… line the ceiling with them for display or something? I dunno. My collections are super boring (and always in boxes. Darn you, moving!)

        Liked by 1 person

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