Lifestyle - 28 Apr, 2020

10-easy tips to organising your bookshelf

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Books and graphic novels and comics are once again a popular hit to keep individuals busy and a clever way to help people learn and grow their vocabulary, improve basic comprehension reading and writing skills.

If you’ve been in the habit of cramming your books wherever there is an extra inch of spare shelf space, now is the perfect opportunity to step up your organisation game. A solid book organisation system is more than making it easier to find what book you’re looking for, but it makes you more likely to pick up a book and read it. Bookshelves aren’t just for books; they can also be used for other items like holding picture frames, decorations or memorabilia you wish to showcase when visitors come over.

Organising your favourite reads doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming either. We have rounded up a list of 10 simple and creative ways to organise your books in the most efficient way possible – with no professional librarian needed.


1. Arrange your books by colour

The best part of this method is that you get to be artistic with your bookshelf. It is another great way to organise if you like an aesthetic pleasing set-up. You don’t necessarily need books as well, if your book collection is a little short on the yellow colour, you could add other decorations that are yellow. An additional pro-tip if you are set on colour coding, use wrapping paper around books! You don’t even need to have just solid colours; you can try getting creative by attempting a rainbow or ombre effect.

2. Separate your hardcovers and paperbacks

By separating your hard covers and paperbacks it creates a design element. Hard covers usually tend to be larger in size than paperbacks and sturdier, so sometimes you will need the larger shelf of your bookshelf to fit these in nicely. It also presents a cleaner and more streamlined look on your bookshelves. If you’re a collector, this is a great way to view your collections as it shows a flow. This is a great way to organise if you’re a person that enjoys aesthetic visuals.

3. Don’t be afraid to stack books

Another great way to help your books stand out is to stack them. Keeping all your books in neat rows is a thing of the past. You can stack them by theme, cover, size, colour and you can keep them on their own or use them to break up a row. Stacking is also another great way to maximise shelving space. If you’re a book hoarder listen up, go horizontal with most of your books, it’s the most efficient way to make use of every inch of shelf space, stack them horizontally, or half of the books vertically and then stick some horizontally on top.

4. Organise books by genre

Group together your romance novels, your cookbooks, your 18th century English literature novels, and so on. This is a great way to spread across your collection of books. You can arrange your books by whatever genres you have, a few suggestions are:

  • Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Art and design
  • Cooking
  • Young adult
  • Graphic novels

You can also break them down further into subgenres. With fiction, you can create a science fiction tab. For some books that might overlap, that is when subgenres could help be a little difficult so try sticking to the main theme.

Related: Bunnings DIYs to get you through self isolation

5. Organise your books alphabetically

Alphabetically sorting out your bookshelf is one of the most obvious options and is likely the best way if you want to find your books very quickly. You can use a few methods when alphabetising. You can go the classic library and bookstore route and alphabetise the last name of the author. If you want a different method as you might not have the largest collection of books, you can also try alphabetising by the title of the book itself.

6. Arrange your books by height and size

If you need that clean and uncluttered feel, maybe this is the way for you. Keeping books of similar size and height creates a streamline flow in your bookshelf. The goal is to create straight, even lines with the tops of your books – no staggered mountaintop rows. The good thing about this method is that in most cases books of similar genres tend to run similarly sized (coffee table books, graphic novels, textbooks, poetry). This will visually give your bookshelf a sense of clutter free and crispness.

7. Separate your books by author: contemporary or classic

This method works well if you have a diverse collection of old and new books. Authors that range from Stephen King and John Green types, to your Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway types. This is another method you can get creative with; you can define contemporary and classic however it suits you. Maybe you want living and deceased authors, books written before and after a certain date, or books published in specific time periods.

8. Organise books chronologically:

If you’re a book lover who reads through many different ages, this might be a great method for you. While this can be a little more difficult for fiction titles, it would be great for people who mostly read non-fiction titles to organise them chronologically. This method could go both ways, you can use the publication date to chronologically organise your shelf, or you can organise it by the dates the novel covers. With history books, for example, you might start out with Ancient Greece and make your way up to 18th Century British History and then into our current socio-political issues.

9. Put your favourites first

Instead of putting all of your favourite books amongst their not-so-great neighbours, you can display your favourites front and centre where they can shine. This is great as revisiting old favourites can be difficult if they are in a pile where you have long forgotten, this way they will always stay near. Most people suggest and loan their favourite books to their family and friends, so this is another great organising tip for you not have to rummage your shelves for them.

10. Reflect who you are and how you feel

If you have more books than room on your bookshelf, this method will help you to get rid of any books that you feel doesn’t represent you as a person or you don’t emotional respond to anymore. Keep the books you would proudly defend as part of your personality. This can be a book that made you motivated and inspired to pursue your passions. If you tend to have strong emotional responses to creative forms, this organisation method is an awesome way to distinguish what you’ve read.

Words by Ece Demir

Reading can make us feel like we’re in another world, but if you literally want to escape, how about building your own tiny house?

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