How To Organize Books

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Love reading? Have mountains of books? Wondering how to organize books or how to sell old books? Our simple tips will help you straighten things up.

Organize Books Title

Book organization is imperative to an orderly home or office. Even with today's paperless technologies and the vast effort to save our planet, books are still more popular than ever and continue to be one of the major sources of clutter.

The process for organizing books, ways to discard books and suggested products outlined below will help you get started. Happy reading!

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How To Organize Books: The Organizing Process

Utilize the general organizing procedure of purge, sort and store, and apply it to organize books.


  • The first step in how to organize books is to go through your book collection ONE book at a time. Pick up each book and decide if it is worth keeping. In order to accomplish this, ask yourself appropriate questions (i.e. Is this book in readable condition? Am I going to read it again? Is it something I will reference in the future? Is it outdated?)

  • As you make decisions, put the book in the corresponding pile, bag or box - Keep, Donate, Distribute, Trash. **Don't forget to record your donations for tax purposes.** (Trash can be broken down even further into Trash and Recycle)

  • Take out the trash and put the donations in your car. Also, contain all books for distribution in a bag or box and put them in a place where you will see them and remember to give them out (i.e. by the back door). This hinders the possibility of undoing your hard book organization work.

How To Organize Books:
3 Fantastic Ways To Discard Books!

1. Donate
Donated books get put to good use. Consider giving to local public libraries, schools, charities, and nonprofit organizations. To find out who else is in need of books, Google something like "donate books" or "donate books Washington, DC" (for local results).

2. Swap
Exchange the books you don't want anymore and get something new for a fraction of the cost. Check out PaperBack Swap and SwapTree.

3. Sell
There are many ways to sell books for cash. This is especially good for books kept in good condition. Check out Amazon, Cash 4 Books and Sell Back Your Book.


  • Now that all unnecessary books are gone, it's time to focus on what's left. Divide the books into categories that make sense to you, so that relocating specific titles later is effortless.

  • For example, separate them according to type of book and then alphabetize them by author. With this system, you would find "Harry Potter" in fiction with the other authors that have a last name starting with an "R". Another idea is to categorize the books by genre and then color code them for a beautiful look like we did for one of my clients in the photo below.

Organize Books wm


  • Given the nature of books (re-readable, often referenced and so on), they are not always easy to pare down and this can obstruct the path to book organization.

  • If you have a lot of books and a considerable amount of space for multiple bookshelves, then utilize them for your categorized collection.

  • If you are not in a spacious situation, and you find yourself with a large collection even after you've purged, it's time to adapt and get creative.


Rather than trying to stuff more books into the cabinet or adding more pieces of literature to the already-bowing shelf, let's utilize the artistic value of these items. Decide which books you would like to exhibit (most read, often referenced, complementary cover colors, same size, etc). Mount a modern bookshelf (like below) to the wall and occupy it with the chosen items. Art and book organization all in one!

Instead of shoving more books underneath or into the coffee table, let's create another usable piece of furniture. Stack some sturdy books to produce the stem of a table, and place a larger book (or a piece of glass) on top of the stack to serve as the surface. Put a lamp and coasters on it to complete the look. Presto! Aesthetics and functionality all in one.

Get a bookshelf that sufficiently divides the room (like below) and then put your books on it. Voila! This is great for decorating small spaces and storing books.

Books can be overwhelming if they are all in one area of your home. Divide them up by topic, and distribute them to appropriate areas around the house. For instance, utilize a cabinet in the kitchen (cookbooks), an area near the bathtub (novels), a shelf in the office (reference books or organizing books), the mantel by the fireplace (fiction), and/or the space under the coffee table (photographic books). Tada! Alleviation and practicality all in one.


  • Be sure to put books back in their proper places after use.

  • Once a year go through your book collection and weed out the ones you know you will no longer use.

  • If you like to buy books, then be sure to get rid of a book you already have to make room for a new one.

  • Don't forget all of the digital options available to you! If you have a tablet or some sort of e-reader, buy e-books or download free e-books rather than purchasing physical books (that take up space and potentially become clutter).

How To Organize Books: The Storage Products

The following book storage products can help you on your journey to decluttering your home. Check them out!

Invisible Floating Bookshelf
Function meets style with this funky wall shelf. Mounted on the wall, this shelf gives off the appearance that the books on it are floating. Buy a few of them and make a wall design of your own!

Spine Book Tower
If you're wondering how to organize books creatively and practically, then you've found it! This awesome vertical product successfully saves space, holds a lot of books, and enhances your interior design.

Kids Bookshelf
Here are some great bookshelf options for kids, so they can easily see and reach their reading materials. Check them out!

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