Options to Consider for Shelving Book Clutter

Do you find your books are everywhere?  Getting frustrated trying the find the resource guide or novel you want?  Then it is time to get those books organized! 

Assorted books stacked
Sort your books first by determining which reference books are most suitable to each of your work spaces.  Keep those often-referenced books on your work surface or a shelf within reach of working area.  Keep other reference materials or books on a shelf out of the way or get rid of them if you no longer use them.  For non-fiction books, sort categories within business such as Finance, Leadership, Skills, Technology, etc.  For other types of books may consider using categories that are more general, such as biographies, cooking, hobby, business, fiction, etc.  Then the sub-category for storing books could be by author name or book title within the primary category, if there are several within a category.  If possible, assign only one category to a bookshelf.  If shelves are different sizes and are not adjustable and most books are the same category, another alternative is to sort books by size.  This alternative will put all the tall books on the same height shelf and the smaller books on shorter shelves.  Be sure to use labels on the shelves to keep book categories on correct shelf.

Ideas for hardback books include bookends because they are usually heavy and may require something to hold them vertically.  Using bookends works to hold books in vertical position.  If there are not enough bookends or spending money on bookends is not desirable, then use heavy ornamental items, which are planning to have as display items, for bookends.  A heavy vase, statue, or trophy will hold up books as well as most bookends.  If the display ornament is not very heavy or not very tall, then lay two or three thick books, which are seldom referenced, stacked on their side to hold up the other books and then display the ornament on top of the short stack.  This works especially well if trying to keep books by category and some are very tall.  Stack the tall ones on their side so the shelf can be shorter.  Additionally, if there has to be more than one category per shelf the horizontal books can be a divider between the categories.   If many short shelves or used, then more shelves can fit in the same space. 

Space saving idea for paperbacks, if it is hard to part with books for additional space, consider separating the paperbacks from the hardbacks in a given category.  Paperback books can often be stored in two layers on a shelf.  Store the least used paperbacks at the back of the shelf and then place the more popular ones in front of those.  Be sure the ones in the front are a loose fit in the shelf to make them easy to pull out so the back ones are easier to retrieve. 

Final option is to use technology to eliminate the need to store books.  Get one of the e-readers, put your favorite books on it or on a USB drive, and get rid of the print copies.

Where to take books you no longer use or seldom use?  If you are near a library, consider donating references books seldom used to it since the library already has the shelf space.  This way when needing a particular book, make plans to check it out of the library and save valuable workspace.  Just be aware that by donating the book, you lose ownership and they could decide to sell it in a fundraising effort.  For other books that you may no longer want, consider a book trade with friends or colleagues who can increase the books you read while keeping expenses down and space free.  There are also book trading websites you might consider, however these sits may cost you a membership fee, or shipping/handling charge.  Still, you save space and dollars with the concept.  Another choice that may make you a little money, books in good condition may be traded or sold to some bookstores, sold in a garage sale.  Of course you can donate books to senior centers, daycares, or a local charity to pass on the joy of reading while de-cluttering your personal space. 

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