books, discussion, personal, TBR, writing

Discussion: Ways To Organize A Bookshelf

This is a pretty popular discussion – but I wanted to give my take on it, as I have a pretty unique system of organizing my bookshelf.

Here are five common organization methods to try out on your shelves – along with my own method (feel free to try it).


This one is very popular on bookstagram and booktube – though I personally have little interest as it seems like it would get annoying after a while -(per the order of the books having no rhyme or reason and series being separated).

But essentially, separate your books by spine color and lay them on the shelf to form a rainbow. It’s pleasing to look at even for the non-book hoarder.

Library System / Genre and Author:

This is a mix of organization systems – but you could do either individually. (As in, separate solely by author or solely by genre).

By genre is essentially, separating genres of books onto different shelves or sections so you can easily find a book for whatever mood you are in.

By author is generally by last name in alphabetical order.

If you do these in conjunction – alphabetizing authors within each genre section – then it becomes very easy to find a particular book rather than remembering where the hell you stuck it.

By Favorites:

Pretty simple. But your favorite reads at the center / eye level / front of the shelf and hide less favorites at the corners or back.

Your shelf will personally make you happier to look at. Since you’ll be staring mostly at you favorite books. This might also make it easier to write tag posts, as you’ll have your favorites in view.


You can do this two ways.

If you have multiple shelves, one can be read books and the other unread.

If youΒ only have one shelf you can use half for read books and the other half unread books if you don’t want them mixing.

Or you can employ my chosen method – useful if you want to keep authors and genres together that are only particularly read: within a different organization method – put unread books vertically and read books horizontally as I prefer (but you could always do it the other way around).

Separate Hard- and Paper-Backs:

This ones simple – separate the hardcovers from the paperbacks.

Put the paperbacks in the back or the corners so they aren’t the focus, and the hardcovers more at eye level, center or main shelf – prettier and more eye catching and makes for a nicer overall bookshelf. Could also be done in conjunction with “By Favorites”.

My Method:

Obviously, some of these methods are not mutely exclusive. You can organize by both genre and author. By color and still separate hardcovers from paperbacks. Color coordinate TBR separated bookshelves etc.

My chosen organization is this:
By genre, by favorites, and by TBR.

Here’s what I mean.

I have one free standing shelf and two wall mounted shelves.

Books I love and books I need to read soon go in the free standing shelf (easier to reach – separated by genre and from each other within this).

Books of genres I read least or have the least to-be-read books within the genre go on the top / harder to reach wall mounted shelf. And so one.

Read books are horizontal and unread books are vertical. SoΒ unread books are easier to get. And read books overall take up less space, so as I read I get minimally more shelf space.

Β Let me know what you think.

How do you organize your shelf?

Has this inspired you to try something new?

Which is your favorite?

23 thoughts on “Discussion: Ways To Organize A Bookshelf”

  1. This is an awesome post!
    I personally do a bit of most of these haha!

    I have one normal bookcase and then two 2 x 4 cube shelves. On my normal bookshelf my top shelf is strictly Harry Potter, the next is some of my favourite fantasy series, they don’t all fit so this is just really high faves then my next two shelves are all of my TBR books and they are in colour order.
    Then my cube shelves the top two of both shelves are Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts themed, I think I have a problem πŸ˜‚. Then the rest of those shelves are separated into genre!

    I’m a bit all over place but I love it! I will have to condense my Harry Potter shelves soon as I’m starting to run out of room in the genre shelves 😩

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Running out of space is THE WORST! Thanks for sharing! And trust me, you can never have too much Harry Potter (I need those anniversary editions but my mom is against me buying duplicate copies and I’m dying…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Harry Potter related books are the only duplicates I own! I have 2 different editions of the Hogwarts Library books and then I have the Gryffindor paperback and hardcover of the 20th Anniversary. I’m so glad I had a bit of extra cash this month!! I really want to get the hardcover of every house. I think the hardcovers look nicer and I just really want to read the extra info in the start of each! I can never have enough Harry Potter info!!!
        And most of the time I’m against buying multi copies but when it comes to Harry Potter I press buy before I even know what I’m doing πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


              1. You’re welcome! I’m from Aus so I know the struggle of ridiculous shipping! It’s lucky one of our Aussie bookstores just changed to free shipping in Aus! So happy but most of the time the book are a little bit dearer than book Depository but sometime they have 80% off specials. I just bought Akarnae by Lynette Noni for $7.99 AUD!! 😳😁😁

                Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha can never have too many copies of Harry Potter! My main issue is I have so much Merch and stuff that I want on display and like to keep it all together!
        I only have 1 copy of the full set of Harry Potter and that is the Original UK edition. But I really want the one where the Spines make the Hogwarts castle but it’s just a lot of money at once. 😫😫

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I have the original US prints, and a few international copies, as well as the illustrated editions. Plus then the extra books, Fantastic Beasts, Cursed Child, etc. But I am really hoping to expand my international set. 10 years later and still mad at my dad for not letting me into a bookshop in Italy. Probably my fault for stuffing my suitcase full of books.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have the Illustrated editions too and I have considered getting the US original cover editions from ThriftBooks but I just don’t like the illustrations on the front, so I have never gone through with actually buying them. And some of the editions from other countries are really odd! I did a Book Travelling Thursday post of Philosopher’s Stone and some of them were just so weird. It would be cool having editions in other languages though, but I haven’t been outside Australia as it costs too much so for now I think I’ll stick to the UK ones haha.

            And that would be my struggle when travelling to, I can’t read too much on my iPad because it gives me headaches so I have to take mostly physical books! But because I only travel within Australia I have a whole car to fill. πŸ˜πŸ˜‚

            Liked by 2 people

              1. It’s crazy how different some are. Like majority stick to the Harry and the Train for Philosopher’s Stone, just different illustrations and then sines it’s like hold on what even is that and what has it go to do with Harry Potter?!

                Liked by 2 people

  2. Mine is currently organized by genre, and then alpha by author. But I’m thinking of reorganizing it so that it’s just everything together alpha by author. Because like, The Night Circus and Uprooted are CLEARLY fantasies, but often are put just with fiction. Why? And my YA shelf has hardly anything on it, so why should it get a whole row when classic fiction is overflowing? I would just in general be able to fit more books! Downside to this plan, is I can’t always remember the name of an author when I’m looking for a book. It’s not that hard to scan the genre, but it would be time consuming to scan my entire massive bookshelf.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hehe well when I used to organise my book shelves it was by genre and then author (and also how pretty the covers looked side by side)… Now most of my books are in boxes and it’s organised as: books I need to read, books I need to give away, books I want my sister to read and then general chaos πŸ˜‰ I know- stroke of brilliance πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, currently more organization is “Tetris the books so they fit oh my god nothing fits everything is nearly collapsing” so I can’t judge… I have more books than bedroom space…


  4. I really don’t have any organization to my shelves at all, the only way my shelves are organized is that almost all my classics are together. Other than that I have no organization.

    Liked by 1 person

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