One of the most frequent questions I get is about organizing books and what my at-home bookshelf organization looks like.
To be honest, I avoided sharing about my bookshelf organization for a long time because it’s not that impressive.
You might expect someone with a master’s degree in library and information studies and a background as a children’s librarian to have a super serious system. . . but I don’t.
My goal with my bookshelf organization is similar to how I approach most of my life – I want it practical and manageable and something I can keep up with.
Also, because of my job, I have many more books showing up at my house than your normal household which makes organizing books a little bit of a never-ending task.
But if you’d like a peek into my bookshelves, here’s how I organize them.
How I Organize My Bookshelves
My office has floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves that we had put in by our neighbor/carpenter.
On the top three shelves, I keep all my holiday books, broken out by holiday
Under that, I have my Everyday Reading Book Club books.
Under that, is a shelf of grown-up novels and below that is a shelf of middle grade books, plus a basket of beginning reader books (like BOB books).
On the floor, I keep my too-tall picture books, and those baskets are for books that have come in for review (books for children on the left and books for adults on the right).
Next to my desk on the other side of the room, I have a basket for my personal library books.
Piano Book Bookshelves
These bookshelves are IKEA bookshelves that have been built in to the nook in the wall (you can see more details about them in this post).
On the top left shelves I have adult paperback novels on the top shelf and adult hardcover novels on the second shelf.
On the middle left shelf, I have my Louisa May Alcott collection plus some assorted non-fiction books.
Below that are my educational and parenting books.
On the top right shelves, I mostly have my book collections – Little House on the Prairie, Redwall, Harry Potter, plus some miscellaneous books from my childhood and vintage books from my grandmother’s childhood.
Then I have my YA book collection and then on the shelf below that on both sides, I have middle grade novels.
On the bottom shelves, I have religious books, food and cookbooks, and our personal family photo albums.
We have this giant 5×5 IKEA bookshelf in our basement playroom (which we bought in North Carolina and now have assembled and reassembled multiple times. . . it’s good times every times).
It holds nearly all of our picture books which I don’t really bother to organize. When I go through the books once a year or so, I’ll put them back with non-fiction books all together and put series together, but on a daily basis, I don’t bother with it. I just want them on the shelf and off the floor.
I keep the easy readers and chapter books on the top rows and then the third, fourth, and fifth rows have all the picture books.
Tally’s Built-In bookshelf
We built in some bookshelves into a nook in Tally’s room and all the board books I decided to keep are on the top shelves there.
We have this bookshelf in our living room and it houses all our library books. It’s so convenient to have one landing place for the dozens of picture books or easy readers we always have checked out.
Girls’ Room Bookshelf
The middle girls have a small bookshelf in their shared bedroom and they keep some of their library books or current reads in there. They also each have book ledges next to their bunk beds that act as bedside tables for their alarms, water bottles, Yoto players, etc, plus a few current reads.
Ella’s Room Ledges
Ella has a wall of book ledges where she can keep her library books and other books she’s reading close at hand.
I think that’s it!
If you think a little less of me for not having them alphabetized, rainbow-ized, or Dewey Decimal-ized, I completely understand.
I LOVED this! Thank you so much for responding. You are a gold mine!
P.S. It seems I recall you showing us that you keep all of your Holiday books in storage. Might be fun and helpful to add that to this post.
We are getting new bookshelves this weekend and I can’t wait to have all my books out and on shelves after moving last year. This post was helpful as there are so many ways to organize and I’ve actually wondered a few times how you do yours. I have one girl who wants do all rainbow bookshelves and another girl wants to do alphabetical by author. Thankful we’ll have a few bookcases to keep us all busy and happy.
Perfect! Thank you!
Love hearing about books and organization – two of my favorite things! We’re a military family and move every two to three years. After our last move, my husband and I finally got sick of unpacking boxes and boxes of books so we had a yard sale and were ruthless with the books! Got rid of so many books, even though we both love keeping books. I’m happy that our shelves are so much lighter and the next move will be less book unpacking but also I’m secretly heartbroken.
You make me laugh. I love how realistic your approach is, very functional and just good! I’d love to see updated bookshelves since you said these were older photos. But only because I’m snoopy & love the progress & growth of a home library.
Yay, I love a house with books!!
I think not having highly organized shelves is the sign of a true reader and encourages reading! Good job!
How many library books do you normally have checked out? Does the shelf with picture and early reader books ever sit empty?
Janssen Bradshaw says
About 100-200 books, so it’s pretty much always packed!
Marianna @ Tell me a Yarn says
I like the bookshelves built into the wall.
My bookshelves are a mess right now. When I have time I’m going to has to sort through them and do a big unhaul.