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Inspiration for Organizing Your Bookshelves
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Inspiration for Organizing Your Bookshelves

Feb 5th, 2016

You can usually predict a voracious reader the minute you walk into their home. Their beloved passion is on display in bookshelves, built-ins and even in thoughtfully constructed piles on coffee tables or nightstands. For these people, books are an essential part of apartment decorating, and organizing their collection is highly personal. A well organized bookshelf means one can revisit a favorite book quickly, reference a classic in seconds, and effortlessly lend a paperback to a friend. That is the great joy of books. To organize the bookshelf of your dreams, browse these ideas for inspiration on how to get started.

The Library

There are a number of ways to organize your bookshelves that seem highly intuitive and require little in the way of explanation. The most common of these is to arrange your books like a library would, alphabetically, by author or title. Another way is to separate books into clusters by genre (e.g., mystery, romance, literary fiction, biography, history, and general nonfiction), and then organize books alphabetically within each cluster.

No Rhyme or Reason

Serious book nerds often organize books in ways that seem to have no rhyme or reason, but it makes perfect sense to themselves. For example, you could organize bookshelves in some manner of chronological order that’s personal to you, like the order you read them or will read them. You could also organize books from favorite to least favorite, again separated by genre to make the task less daunting.

Declutter Your Books and Your Mind

While on the subject of favorite books and daunting tasks, we’ll give the Kondo method its due. Marie Kondo is the Japanese author of the decluttering phenomenon The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She argues that only books that bring the owner joy deserve space on shelves. Any book that doesn’t make the cut should be donated to charity or given away to free up space. This method also encourages you to purge unread books that have been on the shelves for years. Chances are, you’ll never read them and they’ll continue to take up space in your life – both literally and figuratively – that could be filled with books you will read and bring you joy. The Kondo method will likely leave you with a lot of free space, which is exactly the point: To declutter your surroundings and make room for new, joyous possibilities.

Pure Aesthetics

You can never go wrong organizing bookshelves purely based on aesthetic. Arrange by size (tallest to shortest, thickest to thinnest) or color (color coding and color matching), or mix and match colors and alternate between clusters of standing books and piles of stacked books. Place books in baskets and bins on your shelves and display some of your favorite knick-knacks for an even more eclectic look. There are no rules here, so throw all caution to the wind and create a bookshelf that is beautiful to you.

Organizing books in your apartment is both practical and inspiring. Whether you opt for shelves that require a library catalog to navigate or go totally creative as if displaying works of fine art in a museum, you can’t go wrong as long as it works for you. And if it doesn’t work, just try a different method. (Who doesn’t want an excuse to play with their books all over again?)

How do you organize your books? Share insight you have with others in the comments!

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