Organizing Bookshelves

In one of the comments on my last post, Bill mentioned his slightly quirky method of organizing his bookshelves: 

My bookshelves have to be ordered by author, alphabetically, series, width, and height. Obviously it’s impossible for those requirements to be met and thus I can’t look at our bookshelves or I’d go nuts. 
It’s nice to see another soul that appreciates organization based on the size of books.  My books are also arranged based on their size.  I don’t have a problem mixing fiction w/ non-fiction, or religion w/ engineering, and I don’t bother with alphabatizing, but darn they better be arranged based on size, especially height.   The only problem is that not all books use the same height/width ratio, so I end up  with a few short & wide books that threaten the entire system.
So how do you organize your home bookshelves?  I hope at least one of my readers will report that they’ve implemented some sort of dewey decimal system in their home… 

9 comments to Organizing Bookshelves

  • Jo

    I organize my books by genre, subject, and author, although once I've taken books off the shelf, they end up piled up on top of the other books for a while. Similar to your wanting all the same brand of food, I wish books all looked the same. One series I have has different covers because I bought the books so far apart from each other. It drives me crazy.

  • Jo, that would drive me nuts. A few years ago I almost bought the entire "Penguin Classics" series of public domain books – just because they all were the same size, general color scheme, and had the same design & fonts… I wouldn't have ever read them, but my bookshelf would have been so uniform…

    That's one reason why I LOVE encyclopedia sets – they're all the same!

  • I have no such organizational tendencies. Jo knows this having lived with me these past 4+ years. Reuben you may remember this back from when we were roommates, my stuff is always just strewn about.

    In fact, I usually have a harder time finding things after my area/stuff has been cleaned/organized than when it is just left cluttered everywhere.

  • Yea, alex, I remember shoveling all your stuff back onto your half of the room when it would spill over. It cracked me up.

  • GenghisKhan

    The Dewey Decimal system is great! I use it to organize my food storage and recommend others do the same.

    As to books, I only purchase books that are of the same height (one for hard bound, one for paperback) and keep each on separate bookshelves, in separate rooms on separate floors of my house. It is very soothing to look at…

    Actually, I just have small stacks and piles out and in boxes, here and there, but am mildly to moderately (i.e. extremely) annoyed that there isn't greater industry standardization.

  • Libraries, ugh, they kill me. I feel compelled to sit there and reorganize entire stack sets–so very much so that I have to leave before I start.

    I thought I was weird. I feel much better knowing that I'm not the only one who needs bookshelves to be organized.

    Thanks for making my life much better Reuben!

  • Tara

    I haven't organized a shelf in awhile since I haven' had my fun books w/me in months-I have to have fun books in order to feel compelled to spend time organizing a shelf. Anyway, I think that I typically organize based on height and width. But I do try to keep same author books close together regardless of height or width. So I'm a bit random, but overall I would say that height weighs much more in my scale of organizational strategies.

    Right now my fun books are in a box and my textbooks are in a nice, organized pile on top of a crate.

  • Since I work for a company that will organize libraries, I would probably assign Library of Congress call numbers and sort them that way.

  • Auntie Gretchen

    Well, Reuben, I have two wonderful old encyclopedia sets I can donate to your bookshelf!