I have a bookish problem–I own a lot of books, and I CANNOT figure out how I want to organize them on my bookshelves. Now that all my books live in the same place since I’m currently living at home, I’m having to face for the first time just how many books I really own.
After I unpacked my boxes of books, I started to put them on my bookshelf, but I ran into a problem: I didn’t know how I wanted to shelve my books. I’ve thought about the pros and cons of shelving books in so many different ways. I’ve thought about all the ways I use to shelve books too, and didn’t like any of them. There’s just SO many choices. For example, I can shelve books by. . .
Possibility #1: Alphabetical by Author
Pros: It’s tidy, and so many systems already sort things alphabetically, so I’m use to it. I don’t have to decide to keep an author’s books together or not(because in some other systems, the author’s books wouldn’t stay together). It’s not difficult to add books into.
Cons: It’s. . . boring? Personally, I don’t like sorting things alphabetically anyway. It seems like there are so many ways that can be more useful. Plus, what if I’m looking for a book but forget the author’s name?
Possibility #2: Alphabetical by Book Title
I considered this system for about half a second before FIRMLY rejecting it. I’m sure there are pros to this system, but I personally can’t think of any.
Possibility #3: By Color
Pros: It’s aesthetically pleasing! I once had a small shelf sorted by color and I also found it very easy to add new books to the shelves.
Cons: It sometimes splits apart series, it can be difficult to find the book I’m looking for.
Possibility #4: By Release Year
Pros: I own a lot of classics, so this system is helpful for that.
Cons: It splits up series & it’s difficult to maintain.
Possibility #5: Randomly
also known as the “Oh, you got a new book? Just stick it anywhere it fits on the shelf” method.
Pros: It takes zero effort.
Cons: Have fun with that book scavenger hunt to find what you’re looking for, self.
Possibility #6: By Genre
This is the one I find myself going back to the most, but there’s difficulties in it too.
Pros: As a mood reader, it makes it easier to find what kind of book I’m looking for. Feeling like science fiction? Go to the sci-fi area. Contemporary? Right there at your fingertips. It may not always keep an author’s work together, but it does keep series together.
Cons: Sometimes I’m unsure of what genre a book fits best into OR I don’t really know the genre before reading because the synopsis doesn’t give enough information.
Possibility #7: By Format
By which I mean keeping trade paperbacks on one shelf, hardbacks on another, then paperbacks, etc.
Pros: It’s also tends to be more aesthetically pleasing, it’s easy to add new books to the shelves.
Cons: This might not be a con for everyone, but personally I own some series in mixed formats, so I’d be splitting series up.
Possibility #8: Appointed Labels
This one takes some explanation, and it’s the system I used in my last apartment(though I only had about 50% of my books with me and it was a much smaller shelf than what I have at my parent’s house). I had a shelf for favorites, then a shelf for trade paperbacks, a shelf for books I haven’t read yet, a shelf for ARCs, etc.
Pros: It keeps the TBR separate so it’s easy to find books I haven’t read yet, & I get a sense of satisfaction from having a “favorites” shelf, though I couldn’t tell you why.
Cons: Sometimes the labels get murky, it does tend to split up an author’s work.
LET’S CHAT: How do you organize your physical books? Right now I’m leaning towards either organizing mine by genre or by my strange designated labels(I do really love having a favorites shelf), but I’m not throwing out the possibility of finding a better way, either.