A Simple Guide to Organizing Your Home Library

Posted by Sarah Shotts

Last summer I had to pack up my book collection to move to another state. Before then, I had no idea how many books I really had. But I kept finding more and more of them… on bookshelves, in piles, in boxes, and scattered throughout the house. They were everywhere.

I can't be the only book lover who has faced this problem (we're not people know for our asceticism). Organizing a home library can be overwhelming, and now I know from experience. So, whether you're moving or you're just trying to reorganize your living space, I'm here to help. When we're done you'll know what books you own, and be able to lay hands on just the book you're looking for. You may even re-discover a hidden gem that you've been meaning to read for years! Here are four easy steps to get started.

Step One: Re-Evaulate

Look through your books for any that you are willing to part with. It's hard—and can be surprising—but it's essentially, especially if you're moving or trying to free up space. Consider each title and weigh whether you see yourself reading it again (and be honest!) While choosing books to sell or give away, remember that you're making room for new books to come into your life, and freeing the ones you part with to have adventures with new owners.

Make separate piles for Sell, Swap & Donate. You can sell some titles to a used bookstore for credit (yay more books!) Others can be listed on bookswap services like PaperbackSwap.com. Some can go on to your friends, or, you can always donate books to a local thrift shop or charitable organization.

Step Two: Catalog Your Books: These days cataloging books can be as easy as scanning the barcode with your smart phone. (Of course, older books have to be typed in by hand.) There are several book cataloguing services that can help you with this: I like LibraryThing & Goodreads.

If you have a lot of books this can be a daunting task. To keep from being overwhelmed you might just input one or two stacks a week and keep at it until you're done. Or you could marathon The Lord of Rings movies (or the epic trilogy of your choice) and see how far you get while watching!

Step Three: Shelving Your Books: After surveying your books you'll have a good idea about what your collection includes. You may have even found some forgotten gems. Now you'll want to decide how to shelve them.

You could do this a number of ways: alphabetize by author, sort by genre, sort by size (since certain bookshelves have room for mammoth oversized tomes, and some shorter shelves only have room for paperbacks, you might have to do this anyway). Or if you have a colorful book collection you could even…

…organize by color! I usually do some combination thereof. Choose whatever will best help you find the book you're looking for.

How do you organize your home library? Let us know in comments!

Sarah Shotts is a blogger, vlogger, and “nerdlywed”. Recently married she blogs about living a nerdy life as a newlywed on her blog. She also vlogs about all things geeky on the Swot Sisters Youtube channel she created with her sister Mary. When she’s not making stuff on the internet she’s busy teaching theatre classes and doing wedding photography and video.

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