10 Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

If you’re a book lover (and I know you probably are, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my lil ol blog here. Unless you’re a ME Lover, which is…well, wow, I’m flattered. Uhm, unavailable, but flattered,) anyways, if you’re a book lover you may have from time to time been faced with the dilemma of how best to organize your bookshelves. It can be quite the decision, with more options than you may realize at first glance. I have compiled a list below of 10 different ways to organize your bookshelves, including colourful commentary on my opinion of each one. Because why not?

Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

By colour. I love the appearance of rainbow shelves. They’re so aesthetically-pleasing, so eye catching. Such a pain in the butt to set up – I imagine. I also don’t think I’d love attempting to search for a specific book if my shelves were organized this way. I love seeing other people’s shelves organized by colour but it’s not for me.

By author. The biggest problem I have with this method is that I rarely remember who wrote the book I’m looking for, or I will mix up names and create new names that are a weird combo of character names and the author’s actual name. For example, recently I was trying to find my copy of the 100 and I was convinced the author’s name was Morgan Taylor. It’s not. It’s Kass Morgan. But the actress who plays the main character in the TV show is named Eliza Taylor and so my brain apparently just did the thing it does and came up with Morgan Taylor. I would never find anything with a system like this.

By title. In a way, this option sort of makes the (2nd) most sense, and it’s not just because putting things in alphabetical order makes my nerdy little heart pound. But in a lot of cases, we go looking for a book with a specific title in mind. So if your books are organized by title, you should always be able to find what you need. Unless you’re remembering the title wrong, however. Then you’re screwed. Sorry.

By genre or subject. Depending on how you interpret this, and the variety within your collection, this can be a really great way to go about it. If your books include a lot of nonfiction titles spanning a wide assortment of topics then yes definitely sorting them by subject sounds like a great idea and a huge time saver. When it comes to fiction it may be a bit trickier to work out which way to go about this, but there are still so many great ways to categorize genres that I think it could be really effective.

By size/height. I can imagine this being a really infuriating system when your favourite series isn’t consistent with book size, but otherwise I can see it being pretty aesthetically-pleasing as well. Especially if you’re the kind of person who really likes things to look very uniform. I worry about those super weird odd-sized books that some authors release from time to time – I’m assuming in an attempt to stand out? – what do we do with those? Oddball shelf? Bury them in the back?

Photo by Emily from Pexels

By Read status. Kinda self explanatory. Anything on the TBR pile goes on a different shelf than what you’ve already read. I actually see a ton of benefits to utilizing something like this, but I think it needs something else…(read like 3 more down to find out what.)

By physical book type. So hard cover books go together, paperbacks go together. The big problem I see with this is if you’re the kind of person (like me) who just buys whatever is available, you might have books from the same series scattered all over the place if say for example you bought the first in hard cover format and the rest as paperbacks (or even worse if you were forced to swap back and forth!)

By date released. I don’t even know who you are. Weirdo. Ok, ok, I’m kidding. I did know someone who organized their books by release date, at least down to the month and year. I couldn’t make sense of this system but somehow it worked for them. You do you. (Weirdo.)

A combination. In my opinion one of the most efficient ways to organize your shelves is to use a combination of different criteria. Most often I sort by series, then obviously each book in each series in sequential order. Then I’ll try to group other books by that same author right after in alphabetical order. I also think organizing by TBR or read status, then series or author, then title would be a pretty good system and probably really efficient if you have a lot of books.

No order at all. Books everywhere. It’s book chaos. Some are backwards, some are horizontal, maybe there’s a box of cookies on the shelf too. It’s madness. (…this is me currently. I can’t elaborate.)

How do you organize your bookshelves? Any of the options above? If you go the combination route, which combination works best for you? Are you consistent with putting your books back in the correct spot each time? And the most critical question of all: What kind of cookies do you think I have on my shelf? (It’s Oreos. You can just say Oreos, because it is.)

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Happy Reading!


    • They are SO similar I almost feel like I should apologize for copying you even though I’m pretty sure I didn’t! Love your post. I think I like how you worded things and structured the post much better than mine! 🙂

  1. My personal favorite has definitely been by color. However, I will say I do get periodically annoyed that I can’t find anything because there’s no real order to that method and try to switch my organization, but I tend to almost always go back to shelving by color.

  2. I am an organizational nutjob. My physical books are sorted by genre only, which is probably a relief to the rest of my family. My digital books, however, have meticulously had all their meta-data updated and tagged one-by-one by hand (all 67k of them), are sorted into separate digital libraries based on whether I’ve reviewed them and if they have DRMs, and then sorted further into an array of grouped genres (erotica/romance, fantasy/paranormal/science fiction, etc), which can then be further sorted by title, author, etc. Digital Libraries are a beast, and I love them.

  3. Release-date organizers are definitely weirdos! 🤣 My own shelves are organized by genre and within that by author, although I also always keep one author’s books together (Which, let me tell you, takes some serious organizational skills when people suddenly decide to write in multiple genres 😅 But I manage – It’s all about having smart genre boundary sections 😁). I also only have read books on my shelves – my TBR pile is always stacked on my nightstand. I tend to read my new books almost immediately after I get them, so this method has always worked well for me 😊 Great post, Angela! And I think you like oreos? 😉

  4. I have a TBR shelf (fine, shelves)–with a smallish section of “To Be Written About.” But beyond that, it’s Fiction or Non-Fiction and Alpha by Author, then TItle. My wife would prefer if my NF were by subject to make life easier on her, but I assured her if we started that, it’d be a strict Dewey Decimal thing and I’d spend too much time organizing it.

    Which, yeah, sounds like fun–and I’d like the excuse–but it was enough to get her to go with my wishes. 🙂

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