Books lined on a shelf

6 Creative Ways to Organize Your Bookshelf

I am two things: an avid reader and an organized person. Or, at least, I’m organized when it comes to things I can see daily, like the books in my bookshelf. I reorganize my bookshelf in different ways every couple of years just to mix it up and make it easier to find the books I most often look for.


Now, you don’t have to organize your books. It’s not for everyone. But if you’re an organized person or if you’re trying to find a way to fit all your numerous books on your bookshelf in an appealing way or you just have a bunch of time to kill and need a project, here are six cool new ways to get organized and maybe even gain a new appreciation for your books.


1. By color


Books by color

Image via Curbed


This may seem simple, and you’re probably wondering how organizing your books by color is “cool” or “new.” Well, anything can be cool or new if you add a twist, and here’s mine: use the color of the spines to organize your books in such a way that they form a picture. I once organized all my blue and black spined books to create the cover art of The Great Gatsby. It took a lot of time, but the end result was amazing, and a real conversation starter. 


2. By next read


To read shelf

Image via Pinterest


This may seems simple and cliche, but, honestly, it’s a really good way to stay organized and get to reading faster. I have tons of books that I’ve bought and am waiting to read, and I have no idea how to choose which book to read next. One year, what I decided to do was randomly pile my ‘to read’ books into my bookshelves and just read whichever book was on the top, and go from there. It helped cut down on decision-making time, and it was cool for other people to see what was on my list by reading the titles in the piles.


Need a recommendation? Check out As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. It’s always been a favorite of mine!


3. Genre or series with a feature


books by genre

Image via National Library of New Zealand


This is another one that’s cool because of a twist. When I was in a phase of only reading series, I would fill my shelves with every book of the series in a normal fashion, then turn one book forward, so everyone looking at the shelf would see the cover. I’d place that book in front of the spines of all the other books in the series so that it acted as a feature book. It’s very organized, and a very good way to find exactly what book you’re looking for. This isn’t just for book series. The method also works if you decide to organize your books by genre. 


Here’s a tip: if you have a historical fiction genre, your feature book better be Les Misérables


4. In order of “goodness”



Image via Faling for YA


If you have friends who are books lovers, you’ll have to tell me what that’s like. But more to the point, if you have friends who are book lovers, this may cause some controversy. But we’re all entitled to our own opinions. Put your books in order of your favorite to your least favorite. Your favorite will be the first book on the highest shelf, and your least favorite will be the last book on the lowest shelf. I never had a favorite book, so I could never do this, but I had fun organizing my markers by favorite color, so I’m sure this will give book lovers the same feeling, and I would’ve loved to put A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in the last slot. This method is definitely time consuming, but it’s a great way to showcase your interests and easily find your favorite books that you want to read over and over again.


5. By life stages


children's books

Image via Sunnysideup


This is a really fun one and my bookshelf was organized this way just a few months  ago. Organize your books by when you read them in life. All my Dr. Seuss books were first. Then I put in my Arthur books, The Berenstain Bears series, and one of old favorites, Anne of Green Gables. On my last slot is the hardest book I’ve read to date, the original French version of The Count of Monte Cristo. You can also use the opposite method, putting your recent reads first, and the children’s books last. This is an easy way to find your books. When I was in a nostalgic mood and I only had ten minutes to read, it was way easier for me to find One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish than ever before.


6. By emotional response



Image via Children’s Book Review


This is the way my books are organized currently, and I’m planning to stick to it. This method makes it easy to both recommend books when a friend asks for a scary book or sad book, or to grab a scary or sad book for yourself when you’re in those kinds of moods. Whenever I need a sad a book, it’s easy for me to find Anna Karenina, and on sunnier days, it’s simple to grab my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (clearly the best book in the series). The best thing about organizing your books this way is that it’s really fun to do!


Featured Image via Collegemagazine