Rows upon rows, shelves upon shelves: whether tens or thousands, everyone who has books stores them in some manner — organized or just randomly tossed in a pile. If you’re like me — and since you’re joining the March of Books, I’m guessing you are — you probably don’t get rid of your books. And with a large stash of books comes the need to keep them somehow, whether in boxes or on shelves or tables.
I love books — seeing them, feeling them, smelling them, reading them, sharing them! Books are more than just words on paper; they are a tactile and aesthetic journey. The journey doesn’t start when you open to the first page; the journey begins when you see the book for the first time, waiting for you. If a book is sequestered away in a dark dusty corner it is sure to be overlooked, but that same book is certain to be picked up if it’s front-and-center for all to see.
Through much of high school and college, I worked in a library. In spite of that, I’m rather, shall we say, unconventional in my book organization. No Dewey Decimal system for this ex-librarian! For me, it’s purely a matter of things looking well-organized. And it’s all about…height. That’s right! My books are organized by how tall they are; outside to inside, left to right. Of course, even within this seemingly nonsensical chaos there is a deeper method at work. Each genre, topic or author is given their own space, whether it’s a shelf or a whole bookcase; and each new grouping starts with another tall book.
I have five bookcases in my house: two in our living room, one in the dining room, one in our bedroom, and one in our kids’ bedroom (and even with all that I still have books in boxes). Our living room contains all of the books about food or drinks. They are just waiting to be grabbed from the shelf, to be opened and a recipe devoured! The dining room contains all of the books pertaining to our hobbies (quilting for myself and home-brewing for my husband), as well as the reference and family books. Children’s books are in the kids’ rooms. Beside our bed is all of our parenting, Christian studies, devotionals, Bibles, and other favorites. Whatever room you’re in, the books you need are right at hand.
Another method, perhaps even more unorthodox and chaotic than my own, is to organize by color. A friend of mine has a wonderfully large bookcase, allowing her to create a rainbow from her books. I don’t even want to know how long such a project would take to complete, but how fun to create a wall of art from the (intact) spines of books! I’ve even seen the color idea taken to another extreme: bookcases that are built in various shapes, using books as paint, creating mosaic images.
As with anything, there are always those who are much more traditional in their book-keeping and follow a system of letters, whether alphabetically by title or author. But where is the fun in that?! I spent more time than I care to mention just looking at how differently people store their books. The internet is brimming with hundreds of methodologies in book organization. How infinitely interesting to not only talk about books, but how they are displayed!
How about you? Is there rhyme or reason to your book organization? Where do you store your books?
Jess is a mom to 4 kids, 2 and under. When not feeding babies and changing diapers she loves spending time with her husband, quilting, reading, and writing.