Discussion Posts, Features

Bookish Babble: How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves? Featuring 8 Ways To Arrange Your Books


I recently reorganized my bookcases because they were in desperate need of an uncluttering & unhaul.  It was getting to the point where I was just stacking books up in front of the others and I had no more room for new books.  I just couldn’t put it off any longer!  


*I would like to preface this post to state that the pictures included in this post are poor quality.  In my new house, my bookcases are located in a room that doesn’t get much natural lighting.  I am currently looking into lighting options for photography purposes.  If anyone has any insight, I’d love to hear it!

Since more room on my shelves wasn’t going to magically appear, this meant that I had to make the tough decision to let some books go.  Picking and choosing which books to unhaul was NOT easy.


Which books did I decide to unhaul?  Basically books I no longer have any interest in reading, books that were mediocre reads, and books I know I wont be rereading, even if I enjoyed reading them the first time around.  Unfortunately I do not have unlimited space, so these books had to go.  What do I do with the books I unhaul?  I keep them in storage to use in my Little Free Library that sits in my front yard.  I like to spread the joy around 🙂


This whole process of unhauling and reorganizing my bookcases got me thinking.  How does everyone organize their bookshelves?

8 Ways to Arrange Your Books…

» Alphabetically

Some chose to organize their books alphabetically by author’s name or even the title.  Organizing books alphabetically is probably the most practical method of organization.  The biggest positive of this method is the ease of locating books on the shelves.  This would probably be a beneficial method of organizing books for those who have an overwhelming amount of books and that like to reread or loan them out to others.

» By Genre

Some chose to arrange their books by the genre.  The drawback to this method?  Sometimes books do not fit neatly into only one genre.  You have the “main genres” like fantasy, contemporary, historical fiction, science fiction, horror, romance, thriller, etc.  BUT then you also have sub genres included within each genre.  This method can become a little complicated.

» By Color

Arguably the most aesthetically pleasing method of organizing books.  Organizing books by the color of the spine is a popular method of organizing books, especially among the YA crowd.  This method is not practical in the slightest, but it sure looks good!   Some people go as far as taking off the dust jackets and organize their books by the color of the naked cover.  Again, this looks amazing, but what do you do with the dust jackets?!  Also, what do you do when you have a series that does not share the same cover color?  Books in a series are like a family – they belong together!

My bookcases

» Chronological Order

Not sure why you would chose to arrange your books this way, but I’m sure there are some that chose to place their books in some type of chronological order.  You could order by date you read the book, order by date the book was published, or if you are really ambitious, order by time period the book is set in.

» By Size

Some decide to organize their books by size.  You can arrange your books from tallest to smallest or vice versa.

» Vertical & Horizontal

Do you stack your books vertically AND horizontally?  I feel like this method gives the bookcases a more interesting look.

My bookcases

» Read vs. TBR

Some people may separate the books they’ve read & the ones they have yet to read.  This method really gives you a great visual of how many books you have on your physical TBR.  When you mix all your books together, it is easy to overlook that growing TBR pile.  Maybe after seeing just how many books you have yet to read in one place, you will find the motivation you need to tackle those neglected books.

» Backwards/Pages Facing Out

A new trend that has gained popularity over this year would be to place books spine side in, so that the pages are facing out.  Like sorting by color, this method sure does look neat, but is incredibly unpractical.  I would only suggest this method for people that have bookshelves as decoration and never actually plan on reading the books that sit on their shelves.  How do you ever find the book you are looking for?

» Bonus: Bookish Merchandise

Do you include things other than books on your shelves?  Another trend is to include things like bookish mugs, Funko pops, book letters, book related pins, bookmarks, etc. on your shelves.

My bookcases

Looking at all the potential ways to organize books, I would label myself as someone who uses a combination of the different methods.  My bookcases are arranged by genre, size, read & TBR separated, and I stack books vertical & horizontally.  I also include  bookish merchandize on my shelves.

What does this all say about me?  I’m going to venture to say that it means I really like to categorize things & I go for practicality over aesthetics.  I personally would never be able to be one of those people who arranges their books by color or with the pages facing out.  It would just feel wrong.  I can appreciate how beautiful it looks, but it just isn’t functional.  Call me boring, but if boring is wrong, I don’t want to be right 🙂



How do you organize your bookshelves?

Did I miss any of the methods of organizing books?

Does the way you organize books say something about your personality?

Comment below & let me know!

26 thoughts on “Bookish Babble: How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves? Featuring 8 Ways To Arrange Your Books”

  1. That’s an interesting way you organize your shelves. I do mine only by genre/subject and sometimes alphabetically, if I’m in the mood. I have some Funko pops on mine and couple bottles of liquor.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol! It’s because when I purchase/am gifted a bottle of wine or something, I place it on my bookshelves instead of on the wine rack. Dunno why I keep doing that.
        I now have about 2 bottles of wine, a bottle of champagne, and a bottle of tequila on there. This reminds me to move them. 😀


  2. Loved this list! Mine has always been my author, unless theres a need for otherwise. For instance, I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and buy some of the spinoff books, so obviously those have to be together in one area.
    I do the some horizontal some vertical thing too though. I just really like the way it looks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You missed a category: by type of book! I have sections for: novels, short stories, nonfiction, and all together is poetry/plays/ novellas. Then, in one large tote I have all my TBR. The time is every book title must be visible through the clear plastic, and the lid has to go on. Otherwise, no new physical books. This has encouraged me to READ LIKE CRAZY through my own owned books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My shelves are a mess – running out of room! My books share space with board games and dvds and all kinds of other junk. I really need to do something! As it stands, I have my books separated by the ones I’ve read and the ones I haven’t, and then both groups are in alphabetical order. I like your organizational re-do! Looks nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha I agree, books in a series belong together. I could never use the color method. I keep authors together too. Because I have so many books and not enough space, my read and unread are all together, stacked vertically and horizontally and double stacked. I do have a few shelves that are MG or historical fiction and I try to keep my comics/graphic novels in the same area. But there’s very little rhyme or reason to my crowded shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on finally tackling such a daunting challenge! Unhauling books is always intimidating for me. How many books did you end up unhauling?

    I want to say I shelve my books by genre, but many of my books are still in boxes in the basement… O_o We don’t have a lot of book spaces! Basically, I have a fiction shelf, a non-fiction shelf, and a TBR shelf. The fiction and non-fiction shelves are arranged by sub-genre and then series. The TBR was, at one point, listed in read order… but the pile has grown so much it’s fallen by the wayside. O_o Instead, I use different tools to track my TBR. So embarrassing.

    I love seeing the pictures of your shelves! I don’t have any lighting recommendations, as I don’t really Bookstagram. You have both the hardcover and paperback versions of The Summer That Melted Everything?! Sweet. What is that book which looks like it has holes bored into it?


    1. I’m going to say I unhauled at least 30 books… but I didn’t count them.

      Books in boxes! What a crime that is 🙂 Are bookcases in your near future? Do you just not have space for bookcases?

      And thank you! I do adore my bookcases. I do want wall to wall built ins at some point, but we are still a ways off from that dream lol

      I do own two copies of TSTME! The paperback was actually sent to me by Tiffany herself. She knew I wanted one and was set to pick one up at a book festival, but she didn’t end up making, so she mailed me a copy 🙂 She’s the best!

      And that is a book letter “B” for my last name 🙂 It’s an old reader’s digest book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! So many books! Good for you! I’m glad you have a Little Free Library to share the wealth in. Do you find that books make their way into your library or are you the sole source of books?

        It’s a HUGE crime. I have three bookcases in separate rooms of the house. We just don’t have a ton of space for them. David said he’ll build me some shelves so I can start to put more up, but really I want some bookshelves! Wall-to-wall built-ins are also my dream. With a library ladder on wheels, obviously.

        D’aw! That’s so sweet of her! Tiffany McDonald is a wonderful woman. I’m so glad you connected us!

        AH! That makes so much more sense. Personally, I love turning old books into art. Not that I turn them into art… but bookish-art makes my heart happy. I have a few things like that in my house, too. 🙂


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