7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

If you’ll recall from a few days ago, my last post was about bookish ships, and today I’m bringing up another topic that’s incredibly popular for bookish people to talk about: BOOKSHELVES.

A few people have asked me to do a bookshelf tour, and that will be a bit later in the post, but first let’s talk about seven different ways to organize your bookshelf.

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

1. Alphabetical Order

The most obvious way to organize a bookshelf. I organized my books alphabetically by author’s last name for quite some time, and this method is super helpful and organized.

For readers who: favor order over aesthetics

 2. Rainbow Rows

My current and favorite organization method (more on this later).

For readers who: feel happy every time they look at all their books arranged in an aesthetically pleasing order, and who have a variety of different colors on their book spines

3. Diagonal Rainbow

A variation of the previous method, bookshelves using a diagonal rainbow are also organized by color, but these ones are a little more complicated. I used this system briefly, but I found that it was too hard for me to locate books when, for example, all of the red books are spread out between different shelves.

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Let’s talk TBR. To be read. In other words, books you have not read yet or books you would like to read soon/next/immediately. I use the term loosely most of the time and every month I also use it to mean all the books I want to read that month…which is usually only four because I know myself. . Now let’s talk numbers. I have hundreds of unread books (“TBR books”). I spent 11 years buying them used for 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ each and building my collection which quickly grew beyond what I could match my reading speed to, not that I was trying to because I only really started reading intentionally and regularly a few years ago. I don’t buy as many used books now days, but I do receive a lot of books from authors and publishers each month. . Now let’s talk TBR shame. I read a comment on someone’s post this morning and the commenter said she is ashamed of her own TBR number. Why are we now allowing ourselves to feel guilt or shame because of the number of unread books we own? Don’t be ashamed of your TBR number! Having a surplus of unread books does not mean you’re a failure in any way. It means you have a delicious selection of book “friends” waiting in the wings whenever you should need them. I personally like having a library-esque selection at the ready for me to pick and choose depending on my ever-changing whims. . What’s your TBR number and have you ever felt shame because of that number?

A post shared by Emily Sweet (@sweetbookobsession) on

For readers who: have enough books of each color to spread them out between shelves, and about the same number of books per color, and who really like this aesthetic and don’t mind spending a little extra time to locate a specific book (or maybe some people are better than me at finding books while using this method, idk)

4. Color Squares

Similar to #2, but with bookshelf squares for each color and some books stacked vertically (this will make more sense once you see Cait @ Paper Fury’s shelves below!) (They are so beautiful.)

For readers who: like the rainbow aesthetic and who have those cool square bookshelves (I think I’ve seen them at Ikea)

5. Genres

You can organize your books based on genre or age group.(e.g. fantasy, historical fiction, etc., or children’s books, young adult, etc.)

For readers who: read from a wide variety of genres and like to keep each type of book grouped together.

6. Spines In

Perhaps not the most practical organization method (I’m not sure I would want to use this one), but dang, it sure looks pretty.

For readers who: want to prioritize the neutral color scheme over ease of finding books (there’s nothing wrong with this! Whatever works for you!)

7. Height Order

I would never be able to do this one (my books aren’t all the same height, and honestly, I’m very impressed by people who are able to accomplish that?) but it it very pleasing to look at. Often combined with the rainbow method.

For readers who: have books that are mostly the same height

Bookshelf Tour!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…my bookshelf tour!

Main Bookshelf

So here is my bookshelf (you may remember it from my room tour!) and it is my pride and joy. This shelf has been in my family for probably my whole life and I was SO excited in fourth grade when we moved and it was given to me.

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

Starting from the top, we have some various trinkets and things that are just hanging around. The top of my shelf is really dusty because I’m too short to reach it. 😓

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

Here is where the books start! On the left, I have a bowl (where I put my loose change because I can’t stand to have it in my wallet or my backpack) and a candle that I won in a giveaway from Clara @thebookwormofnotredame, who is so sweet and you should absolutely follow.

bookshelf tour_first shelf

As I mentioned earlier, my books are organized by color, and within each color section the books are organized alphabetically. Some people think organizing books in a rainbow is weird and it’s too hard to find books, but I can say with certainty that this is not the case for me—I know where all of my books are. MY YOUNGER BROTHER HAS TESTED ME EXTENSIVELY ON THIS MATTER.

(The same brother wrote the back-to-school message for me on the signboard as well.)

You may have noticed that there are some books piled on top of the rows and that is because I am kind of running out of space.

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

Down here on the third shelf, I have not organized the books by color because this is where the series go. A few of the series got split up and mixed in with the colors, but for the most part, this is where I put my series.

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

And then we have the bottom half of my bookshelf, which is mostly not books. I have a lot of stuff on these shelves, so I have very helpfully labelled some photos and provided a list. (You’re welcome.)

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

A. Bin with various bullet journaling/art supplies

B. Washi tape dispenser (I am hoarding way too much of this stuff)

C. Old journals

D. A basket with my Instax camera and all the stuff that goes along with that (film, pictures I’ve taken, etc.)

bookshelf tour_fifth shelf

E. Non-fiction books (mostly arts & crafts books, coloring books, stuff like that)

F. A little drawer unit with sewing supplies

G. Partially-used notebooks

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

H. Blank notebooks

I. My softball glove

J. Some scrapbooks, plus a bag of candy

K. My yearbook collection

L. Old sketchbooks


I like to separate the books that I’ve read and the books that I haven’t read, so I dedicated this space on top of my dresser for books on my tbr.

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!


Last but not least, I have some books stacked in the back of my closet. These are books that I a) am considering giving away, or b) want to read eventually, but aren’t a priority right now. I was going to include a picture of this stack as well, but the lighting in my closet was too bad. :/

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Tell me about where you keep your books! Which organization method do you like best?

♥ Annie

7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

12 thoughts on “7 Methods of Bookshelf Organization + A Tour of My Bookshelf!

  1. All of my books are in alphabetical order. It’s nowhere near as pretty as rainbow organisation but I know if I did that I would never find the book I’m looking for! Similarly to you, I do have a separate shelf for my TBR but I’m a bit jealous of how small your TBR is!

    Sam | ohbookitsam.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

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