Organizing Book Shelves

Clean Organized Bookshelves

How to Organizing Book Shelves

Today when so many of us have iPads and other tablets, smart phones, Kindles – many are using these devices to read and gather books.

Bookshelves are no longer just a place to store some of our favorite books, they are also used to display family photos, memorabilia and some of our favorite accessories. Bookshelves can be both functional and decorated nicely to please the eye.

It’s not that hard as long as you resist putting every keepsake, photo, every book you own, and all your knick knacks on the shelves. Some of us just need a helping hand at keeping it clean and simple.

Get Rid of Clutter and Clean the Shelves

The first thing to do is sort through the books and decor items that currently reside on your book shelves. Unless they are sentimental or valuable – books you no longer read (and have no desire to read) need to go.

If there are books that you had vague plans to read sometime in the future but it’s been years and you haven’t made time, it’s time for them to go.

If you have vases and other knickknacks that sit on shelves with books, ask yourself, are they are really necessary? If they simply sit there collecting dust, get rid of them, donate or give them away. If there are some you like, limit yourself to a few items so the shelves don’t look so cluttered or find a spot in the house where they look better.

When you’re finished cleaning off the bookshelves, give them a good cleaning and/or polish them up to shine nicely.

Displaying Paperback Books vs Hardcover Books

Personally, I like to display both paperback and hardcover books as long as they are in relatively good condition. Not all paperback books hold up as well as hardcover books so be selective, especially if they aren’t a favorite or will never be read and some paperback books are oversized and can be displayed right along side a hardcover book nicely.

When displaying them, try and keep it color coordinated. Books can be standing up and laid flat. If you have regular sized paperback books you can stand a few up then lay some on their sides next to the standing ones in between the taller hardcover books.

With a bit of trial and error, you can make the books you want to display look nice together.

Arranging Books

Many people like to have their books divided by fiction and non-fiction, and then arranged alphabetically. Some other suggestions you might find useful when arranging your books are:

By Mood

If you like to read books based on your mood, you can arrange your books by the general theme of the book. You can classify books as comedies, tearjerkers, self-help, learning books, etc.

By Subject

Try arranging your book shelves by the subject of the books. Divide them into subjects like current affairs, mysteries, romance, history, true crime, etc. This type of arrangement makes it easy for you to find books that you want to read, and then you can grab the next one when you return your first book or replace them with new ones.

By Author

If you have several books by the same author, you might want to keep those books together. For example, authors who do a continuous book series can be organized from the first to the last in the series. Similar authors can be grouped together like Stephen King goes next to Dean Koontz, and Joseph Ellis would go near David McCullough. It can be easier to choose from books grouped in this way, especially if you find yourself drawn to a small number of authors when you purchase books.

By Family Members

If you have several members of the family that love to read and want their books on the shelf, try giving each a shelf, just don’t over stuff the shelves. This is a great way for each member of your household to easily find books they want to read, especially young readers that want a story before bedtime.

Adding and Using Decorative Objects

Adding decorative objects, some knick knacks, family memorabilia, mirrors, family photos, a photo box, a plant, a nice vase with faux flowers, a bowl filled with sea glass, and some artwork can add a lot to a bookshelf and make it stand out.

I like old clocks and some of the ones I collect are old windup alarm clocks of various sizes. I also like displaying some of my collectibles in pairs of three.

Just remember don’t over stuff and keep it as simple and pleasing to the eye that you can.

When you’re arranging the bookshelves, take a step back every so often to assess the work you’re doing. This way you can see if things are looking symmetrical and are balancing out the way you want.

Arranging Bookshelf Tips

  1. Books do not need to be on every shelf they can be staggered.
  2. Place books in the horizontal and vertical positions.
  3. Decorations do not need to be on every shelf they can be staggered as well.
  4. Decorative objects can be placed on top of books.
  5. Leave some space so the shelves don’t look cluttered.
  6. You can paint or add wallpaper to the back of shelves for a pop of color and add some interest.
  7. A photo box hold photos, a basket can hold movies, a decorative box can hold paperback books or magazines you don’t want on the shelf.
  8. Vary heights, center items, off center items, it doesn’t need to be perfection, you’re looking for something that has visual interest.
  9. You can also put bottles of wine and glasses on a book shelf, preferably if you don’t have kids.
  10. Frame the kids artwork to display on shelves.

So we’ve given you some ideas to organize and arrange your bookshelves and now it’s time for you to go organize them.