Taking the time to organize books is worth it, regardless the size of your collection. Organizing your books will give you more time to enjoy them because you can find the book you want when you want to read it rather than wasting time searching for it.
First step when you organize books is to bring all the books to one location like office or living room if you have books in different rooms of the house like bedroom, family room etc.
Create three broad categories first like keep, sell/donate and trash/recycle.
You can donate books to schools, libraries, thrift stores, senior centers, prisons, hospitals, homeless shelters, International Book Project (www.intlbookproject.org), Global Literacy Project (www.glpinc.org) etc.
If you have books that you think might be of value, check out your local used book stores or eBay to sell them.
Another option is swapping. Swap books with friends or family members.
Discard or recycle books that are unusable due to mold, torn, with missing pages etc.
Sort the keep pile into categories like fiction and non-fiction. You can also separate hard cover and paperback.
Decide how you are going to organize your collection. You can arrange books alphabetically by title or author, by subject, by genre, by size, by color etc. If you have a lot of different kinds of books, organizing books by subject or genre is very functional.
The easiest way to organize fiction books is by author. So organize them alphabetically by author's last name. If you have a bunch of books by the same author and similar genres, arrange them alphabetically by author's last name, and then by the titles within that arrangement.
Another option is to organize books by genre such as short stories, poetry, biography, history, mystery, hobby, reference, self-help, health and wellness, humor, sports, gardening, cookbooks, college text books, children’s books and so on like in a library or bookstore.
Organize books in alphabetical order of genre and then by author’s last name within each genre. This way you only need to look in a particular section for a book.
History books can be sub divided by era/year, war or by country.
I have arranged my 4 year old daughter’s books by size and our books by genre.
Group books with similar content on the shelves. Assign different shelves for fiction books (such as novels, science fiction or poetry) and nonfiction books (like biographies, arts/crafts, sports and cooking). College textbooks can go on one shelf. Children's books can be stored on lower shelves for easy access. Use a divider tab or decorative accessory to separate different types of books. When using a divider tab, label it by writing or printing genre (“Self-Help”) or by author (“C” or “B-D”).
This way you're keeping different types of books separate from one another so that they're easy to find. This also works well if you have a larger subject and then you have sub-categories within that subject.
If you don’t have a library or if you have bookcases in different parts of the house, keep regularly used books near the area where they are used most often. Put reference materials near the desk and books to learn new software programs close to the computer in an office or a study, biographies/classics in the living room, cookbooks in the kitchen, novels in the bedroom and so on.
It is a good idea to get hardcover for classics and the books you read often or for at least the cookbooks so that you can wipe them clean if they get oil or other stains.
Maintenance is important. Go through your collection periodically. Consider donating or selling a book when getting a new one especially if you are limited in space. One you are done reading, remember to put the book back.
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