The 15 Best Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves, According To Reddit Users

Ad failed to load

John Waters once famously suggested that if a potential paramour doesn't have any books in their home, you should probably, uh, leave. But for many bibliophiles, just having books doesn't quite cut it — it's how those titles are displayed that really makes the difference. If you're craving a deep-dive on shelf arrangement (and what self-respecting bookworm isn't?), check out this reddit thread about organizing personal libraries.

The initial question was simple enough: yesterday, TheWanderingHoboJoe asked the /r/books universe, "How do you organize, display, or sort your books? How do you set up your shelves? Do you use a traditional system or a proprietary one? I am looking at rearranging my shelves and I am struggling to find the best way to do it. The more unconventional (yet still rational) the better."

It's a conundrum many of us with extensive home libraries have struggled with - how do you store and display your beloved books in an aesthetically pleasing, yet easy to navigate manner? Do you do it by genre? By author? By color? Read versus un-read? Or do you try this hives-inducing, "spines inward" style which immediately gives me a stress headache? Do you stack them on the floor? In a box? Do you invest in a series of bookshelves? Do you hide them in hard-to-reach places from sticky-fingered children (or roommates)? What do you do?!

Ad failed to load

Perhaps a good place to start is the Library of Congress - after all, they're kind of the national experts on where to put your books and how. Within a library, each book is assigned a "call number," a series of four number and letter combinations that collectively identify a book's genre, topic, author and publication date. The Library of Congress believes in "serendipitous browsing" — that by grouping books on similar topics together, a reader, in search of a specific title, can easily stumble upon a slew of books they didn't even know they needed.

While creating a call number for each book within your personal library is a bit excessive (although, once you've read through this list, you may be altering your concept of "excessive"), the general idea, that the manner in which books are shelved can affect the ways in which you read, is an interesting, if not poetic, one. Who knows - a quick rearranging of your own collection could open up a whole new world.

Ad failed to load

You Could Shelve Your Books In A Hierarchical Manner


Makes sense. Is already significantly more organized than my own collection, but definitely makes sense.

Or By Color


Ideal for #shelfies.

By Height, Sort Of?


Listen, you gotta work with what you've got.

Ad failed to load

By Surprise!


A different kind of serendipitous browsing.

Or With Absolutely No Order At All



Also You Could Just Hide Them


Here's a book, there's a book, under the bed is a book, on top of the fridge is a book...

Ad failed to load

You Could Use Shelves To Delineate Between Read and Unread


Great idea until you hit a reading slump. Then it sounds awful.

Or By Genre


Yeah, that's seven different bookshelves. Kudos, dude.

Or Just, Like, For Raw Practicality


Makes sense.

Ad failed to load

If You're A Fiction Buff, Dividing and Conquering By Era Could Work


Lol @ "classic classics" versus "classics."

So Could...Whatever This Is


If it works for you, then it works. For you.

Even Sorting By Physical Book Type Might Do The Trick


Mmm, another great #shelfie opportunity.

Ad failed to load

For Massive Libraries, A Series Of Tactics Is Probably Needed


Beginning with "Okay, I have 6 bookcases" and ending with "Kinda boring system" is just next-level humble.

I Don't Know What To Say Other Than "Woah"



On The Other Hand, Why Complicate Things?


"Good" or "meh" - that's all you need in this world, honestly.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

16 Brand New YA Rom-Coms To Add To Your Summer Reading List

Ah, summer. Post-Memorial Day it's all about being outside in the sunshine, lazy pool days and exciting beach trips, warm weather treats, and — most important of all — tote bags packed to the brim with all of the biggest and best summer reads. Whatev…
By Kerri Jarema

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

9 Mother's Day Gifts For Your Mom That Also Give Back

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and unless you’re the type who’s got gift-giving on lock months in advance — and seriously, who is that person? — you might be scrambling a bit for great Mother's day 2018 gift ideas. And while it’s important to cho…
By Carolyn de Lorenzo

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

These 4 Zodiac Signs Are Going To Have The Best Luck In Love This May

Spring fever is here, but not all signs in the zodiac are dealt the same dose of lovin'. Some signs are going to have a better love lives than the rest of us in May, because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. According to astrologer Linda Furia…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan