Organizing Your Book Collection

Organizing Your Book Collection rainy day organizer

Written by Sonja Anderson

November 14, 2019

Do you have stacks of books all over your house?  A minor book hoarding situation can create a lot of household clutter if you don’t have a system in place to sort and display your book collection.

Books are a great addition to any household, but they do take up substantial space and require organization.  If you have limited space, you may want to store some of your books in boxes.  Add a printed contents sheet on the outside of boxes to make finding the books easier.

Downsizing books should take place once or twice a year.  Do an inventory of your entire book collection prior to organizing the books.  Next decide what to keep and get rid of.  Unless they will be reread, referenced frequently, or bring you happiness they should not be taking up space in your home. 

You can get cash on the spot from taking unwanted books to a store like Half Price Books.  This is especially true for people that rent their residence since they don’t typically itemize deductions to write off donations. 

Homeowners definitely should consider donating their unwanted books.  They can usually write the donation off on their taxes.  You can also arrange for a donation pickup from Goodwill or The Salvation Army.

There are numerous ways to organize a collection of books.  I recommend one of two ways to do this.

  1. Separate paperback and hardcover books. Then create two separate piles for fiction and nonfiction.  You can further organize alphabetically by author’s last name.
  2. Separate paperback and hardcover titles. Create separate piles for fiction and nonfiction.  Separate nonfiction by theme and then alphabetically by author’s last name.  Alphabetize the fiction books by author’s last name.


Unread (new) titles should be in a separate section of your bookcase.  This will be your go to section when you’re looking for something new to read.

Place books where you will use them.  For example, if you knit, wouldn’t it be logical to store knitting books where you do your craft?  Likewise, your cookbooks should be stored somewhere in your kitchen.  If your kitchen is too small, store them in another place near the kitchen.  Regarding cookbooks, you shouldn’t really have more than a few.  I am an avid cook and baker.  I have two cookbooks and a binder full of my personal favorite recipes.  They’re stored in my kitchen for easy access.

There are many other ways to organize your books.  Some people go for an artistic look and organize by color.  It’s appealing to the eyes but not practical when searching for a title.

Another appealing way to organize is by mixing up the placement of books somewhat.  This style includes books placed standing up and those resting on their side.   That is, both vertical and horizontal placement.

Some people like to organize books by size.  It makes the books look really organized.

It becomes decorative when you pair books with mementos such as framed pics, vases, and small statues or other knickknacks.

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