Here’s What Happened When I Reorganized My Bookshelves According to My Own Advice

How are you managing with quarantine and the pandemic? If you are able, I hope you’re still staying home and that you are staying safe. One thing I’ve noticed about being home so much more, is that I have more time for home improvement projects–including the subject of today’s post: reorganizing my books.

If you read Apartment Therapy, you may have seen a post on their website about book organization tips from a librarian. Surprise! I’m the librarian they talked to.

I’ve talked before (here) about my devotion to Marie Kondo and the KonMari method but, because of space constraints I do have to periodically re-tidy my books so I took advantage of quarantine to do a comprehensive sweep of my bookshelves. Here’s how that went.

First things first: I have a to small folding bookcase (similar to this one on Amazon) where I keep books to read. I unimaginatively call this my to read bookcase and it holds books I receive for review or as gifts, books I bought myself, and anything else I want to read.

After reading Joy at Work and thinking about what I needed in a work from home space (I’ll be talking more about this in another post) and realized I could consolidate the books into two shelves and use the top for desk accessories which has vastly improved my entire desk setup.

Here’s a picture with the books:

The right stack on the middle shelf is ARCs/titles for review and the left is more general books to read. The bottom shelf are books I’ve bought/grabbed from work giveaways/received as gifts. I have been making a lot of progress reading through these although you can’t necessarily tell from here. Please, also enjoy my assortment of owls.

Once this was under control. It was time to turn to my read bookshelves in my bedroom. These are a challenge in general because they’re awkward to get to and none of them are actual bookcases so the shelf heights and depths are a little weird.

Here’s what I was starting with:

As you can see these shelves were pretty packed. I’m a fan of vertical book storage but it was getting hard to keep my stacks together and I realized I wasn’t maximizing space. Plus, some of the shelves were too tight to properly take out books. Changes had to be made.

So I did what Marie Kondo advises and put all my books on the floor. Then I picked every book up and asked if it sparked joy. A couple hours later I had 30 some odd books to giveaway and the rest to return to my shelves.

I call my shelving strategy vibrational shelving. What that means is I group like with like (author, genre, etc.) but I don’t necessarily alphabetize or organize beyond that.

Here’s what my cleaned up shelves look like:

The big wins here were I eliminated an entire shelf on the skinny unit and have room to grow on these floating shelves. My brag items (special editions and multiple editions) have room to breathe and are showcased all together instead of piecemeal.

It’s still a work in progress because my work, my hobbies, and my personality mean that I am always acquiring more books but I feel good about having this as my framework for what to keep and what to pass on moving forward.

Now that you’ve seen how I organize my shelves, tell me about how you organize yours (or tell me what you think of my strategies) in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Here’s What Happened When I Reorganized My Bookshelves According to My Own Advice

  1. Gah I love this and also I think I need to hire you to help me 😂 I love how you chose to organize them- I am such a stickler for either alphabetizing OR absolute chaos, no in between. I had been doing my Read bookshelves alphabetically, with my TBR ones kind of in order of priority. Then they were sort of color coded, Idk, I don’t think it went great. Too many books with black spines, frankly. Then, I moved and it ALL went out the window. Now my Read shelves are “aw crap throw these books here so they are no longer in boxes” and when I finish a book, I just shove it into a shelf wherever it fits. It’s no bueno, Emma.

    I actually used Marie Kondo before I moved, because it was genuinely the only way I could part with books. If I felt nothing, it had to go. If I wouldn’t be happy reading it RIGHT THEN, it had to go. I donated about 400 books, which was impressive, but now I’m right back where i started it seems! BUT your post has inspired me, I am going to try to tackle at least the Read shelves this weekend! So thank you for sharing!!

    Like

    • Good luck with the reorganizing. But donating 400 books pre-move?! That’s amazing! I am always here (or on Twitter) to talk KonMari and book organization.

      Like

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