I love books. Not just reading books but decorating with books. I literally have at least eight stacks of coffee table books, home design books, or pretty magazines around my house, underneath lamps, with candles on top of them, you name it! Organizing books seems pretty simple at first glance...Put books on shelf. The end. Right? If you're not careful though, your home can become filled to the brim with books that you'll never read, books you can't find, books that get damaged, and books that end up in places that don't make sense.
My tried-and-true system is simple:
- Get a bookcase you love that fits in the space well. If you're an avid reader, let it take up more space! If you're a Kindle fan, aim for a smaller one. If you have kids, it makes sense for each to have their own bookcase as well. Since I have a lot of business books, I keep my bookcase in my office/guest room.
- Fill it with books you love. I love going to my library's semi-annual used book sale to stock up on fun new reads for just a few bucks while supporting the library.
- Arrange your books in a way that makes sense to you. You could go alphabetical by title, alphabetical by author, by genre, or (my personal favorite) arrange them by color. Rainbow bookcases are a fad that will quickly pass, but for now I'm enjoying it. My office is bright and sunny, and my colorful bookcase adds to that!
- When you get a new book, one book must go to make space for the new one. Chances are, it will be easy to kick one off the island. Without exception, there will be at least one book that bored you to death, one whose characters you hated, or one your kids have outgrown. Don't feel guilty if it's a book you didn't finish or one someone gave you! Maybe the next owner will finish it or love it more than you did.
- Keep track of the books you've read but no longer own. I keep a journal of the books I've read each year. Some books I loved so much I still own, and some have been passed along. Either way, if I want to remember the name of a book I've read, I have access to that information dating all the way back to college! You can go a digital route by using a spreadsheet or an awesome website called Goodreads. You can track all your books, upload from your Amazon book list, list the books you want to read, and even get recommendations based on books you've read and liked!
The point of this system is ruthless editing. You only have THIS MUCH SPACE and no more. This is one of the keys to keeping a tidy home. By having a designated, limited space for each category of things in your home, you are forced to edit!
I use similar systems with other items that commonly multiply in my clients' homes...
- Clothes: Buy a set number of matching hangers. When you're out of hangers, employ the one-in, one-out rule.
- Beauty products and nail polish: As much as will fit in your chosen container or drawer and no more. The oldest ones get thrown out!
- Movies: Whatever doesn't fit on your designated movie shelves will start the one-in, one-out rule.
- Jewelry: Get a jewelry box, jewelry tree, and/or wall organizer. When you run out of space, one-in, one-out.
- Underwear and socks: If it doesn't fit in the designated drawers, it's time to purge.