We’re not talking standard “by author” here (although there’s nothing wrong with that). The best tip for organizing your bookshelves is to find a plan that mirrors how you think about your books. If you’re the kind of Reader who remembers book titles, try organizing your collection in alphabetical order “by title.” You’ll always be able to find A Catcher in the Rye next to Catch me If You Can!
This works really well in small collections, but can be stunning on a large wall! It’s all about commitment. Organize your books by size and/or color, then break them into groups about as wide as your shelves are tall. Install each group of books (about 8-15 depending on the size of your shelves) in alternating horizontal rows and vertical stacks. The visual impact of the checkerboard texture of your books will be a beautiful accent in your room. In addition, it’s easier to remember things in small groups, so you’ll have an easier time finding that copy of Gone Girl if you know it’s with that small group of other dark-spined books like Girl on the Train and The Bone Clocks.
The Story of Your Life
A challenging approach, but the best rainy-day project: consider arranging your books in the order in which you read them! Your Home Library can reflect your entire life, from those mementoes of childhood like your first Mother Goose, to your Twilight phase (it’s okay to admit it), to the Summer you traveled through the UK reading Austen and Dickens. Each space on your shelf evokes your memories, your highs, your lows. And the bonus to this plan is that all new books already have a place to go – just keep adding on to the end!