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Book Shelf– How do You Organise Yours?

March 20, 2012

Once upon a time, when I had vague thoughts about having a career, we were learning about icebreakers– techniques for getting people talking in an unfamiliar group. The only thing I remember is that somebody said that the way to get women talking is to talk about how you hang out your laundry. Strangely, it works. Women can talk with great perseverance and eloquence about hanging tops by bottoms and bottoms by tops (or not) and matching pegs (or not) and what they do with their smalls.

I, however, have discovered another potential icebreaker. Organising books on the bookshelf. Everyone who loves books has their preferred method. My sister is the only person I know who organises her books alphabetically. Mine are by type of book, and within that they are organised visually. They have to look right. Books by the same author are usually grouped, unless they belong to different categories.  I have heard of books organised by colour or by size or by series or by most to least favourite.

In our house, books are loved and collected and arranged and stared at. We treat our bookshelves like large sculptural areas. We stack vertically, as well as lining up horizontally. We fit heaps more books on the shelves, that way, and the vertical stacks can be used as book-ends. The variety of height and lines makes the arrangement look more interesting. We can also achieve spaces on the shelves in which to put other things. My shelves are arranged to accomodate my various ceramic sculptures.

My sister uses found objects like hip flasks and handbags– anything rigid and with a narrow profile– filled with pebbles or rice as book ends.

found-object bookends

My second bookshelf doubles as an extension of my kitchen and potion making supplies. It’s a non-fiction book shelf. Mostly. Incidentally, it is my favourite new thing– I made it over from a very beaten-up old fashioned wall-unit. In my next blog, we’ll look at how I did it 🙂


From → Books, Icebreaker

  1. Now that is an interesting subject–I’ve never given it much thought. I organize the books on my shelf by height; the books at near the sides of the shelf are the tallest, and the heights dip down to the shortest books near the middle.

    And I always have them pushed forward so they line up at the front edge of the shelf (and so it makes for an even row). I blame the last on working at a small and used bookstore some years back.

    The supershort or super large books are set on their sides on the top shelf. What I need is more shelf space so I can add some items between books; I love how you did it with yours–very stylish!

    One of these days, I will invest in some invisible bookshelves too. ( )

  2. The only way to arrange vinyl records is as follows

    Rare 60’s soul
    70’s rnb
    late seventies disco
    90’s dance
    jazz, latin and instrumental
    High powered 70’s dance acts
    High powered 80’s rock bands
    David Bowie and Talking Heads

    Anything else is blasphemous

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