Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tips to Organizing a Bookshelf

If you are like me (and I suspect some of you are) then your bookshelves are purely functional. They hold books with no room for anything else. Often times they are over flowing with more books than you know what to do with stacked high and deep. You yearn to have a bookshelf that could be featured in a home decorating magazine but then where would you put all your books.

And if you are really like me your bookshelves become unmanageable. And if you are exactly like me you decide that you need to declutter your house top to bottom and nothing is save not even your books.

So I am going to share my personal tips for sorting through my books (and since you are like me you will find them very helpful).
  1. Take all your books off the shelf. I recommend tackling the bookshelves one at a time. If you try to do all the book shelves at once you will immediately become overwhelmed and freak out.
  2. Make four piles. One loved it want to read it again and again and again. Two like it may read it again. Three hated it why do I still own this book. Four haven't read it yet. Occasionally there is a fifth pile why do I have two copies of the same book.
  3. Now go through the fourth pile, haven't read it yet, and ask yourself honestly am I going to read it? Make a new pile of the books you will not read.
  4. Take all the hate it books and books you won't read and place in a box to be donated or traded at local book store.
  5. Now place all the books from pile one, books you love, and books from pile four, haven't read, that you decided you would read back on the shelves. 
  6. This next step is the hard one place as many of the books from pile two, books you like, on the shelves. If you are lucky they all fit on the shelves, if you are not so lucky you have to decide which books stay and which books go.
  7. Now do this do all of your book shelves.
If you are not OCD and don't feel the need to have books in a perfect order then you are done with your organizing you can now go clean out a closet. If you are like me, and I think at this point we have established you are, please read further.

Dick:  I guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?
Rob: No...
Dick: Not alphabetical...
Rob: Nope...
Dick: What?
Rob: Autobiographical.
Dick: No fucking way
-High Fiedelty

Like your records there are many ways to organize your books and I have done many of them. The most common is alphabetical by author or title, this one is very handy when trying to find a book. There is the artistic way of grouping similar book jackets together, all the yellow ones together. This is the most frustrating way because I can never find my books.

My favorite way is by genre. This is where you get to decide how you would group your books...I don't always agree with book stores.
  1. Go through your bookshelves and purge your books (see above steps)
  2. Now go through all your bookshelves and get all the books from any genre. (we will start with mysteries).
  3. Decide which book shelf you want the mysteries on and take all the other non-mysteries off that book shelf. 
  4. Now fill your bookshelf with your mysteries.
  5. Do this with all your books, you may have several genres on one books shelf depending on how many books you have it that genre. 
If you are really obsessive with your books like me, and we know you are, this is where it gets crazy. You have to decide how do you want to sort your genre. I personal like putting my favorite authors at eye level and I fit the others around that, here is how.
  1. Look at your genre and decide who in that category is your favorite.
  2. Stare at your book shelf and decide where your eye goes to first. 
  3. Put your favorite author in that spot. 
  4. Organize the other books on the other shelf.
If you take it to the level I take it to there are a few more steps you need to finish. You purged, sorted and decided on your favorite author but in what order to you place the books on the shelf. That is simple, chronologically from date of publication.

Of course you are bound to run into the problem where the series was published out of order and are torn. Do you place them in the order they should have been written or the order they were published.

I suggest the order the series should have been written unless its the Phillipa Gregory books and then you have to put The Cousin War books before The Tudor Court books even though the were written in the other order. Having those books in any other order but historical chronologically is a crime.

How do you organize your books?

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