to organize bookshelves

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • richpond

    OK. Question..maybe a silly one.

    How do you guys organize your bookshelves? Right now all of our books are jumbled up on our bookshelves. There is no order. Well, the books I consider our “teaching” books or our read alouds are on a seperate bookshelf with all the “curriculum” books. But we have tons of books that are unorganized.

    Is there a good way to organize books so we can find them easier..BY the way all my children are under 8 so there is no way we can keep up with alphabetizing them. I am just curious what you guys do.




    Here’s my system. I used to have my school books mixed with other books and shelved in broad categories, each with a colored label on the spine. This worked pretty well, but I wanted my schoolbooks in a special place. So…

    I’ve given each year (at least the ones we’re using) its own shelf. I put the ones for the youngest on the lowest shelves. I write the year on the back lower left corner w/ a sharpie. Year one gets y1, year 2 gets y2, etc. I put a colored dot on the spine to indicate additional reading that isn’t on the schedule.

    I still have my non-school books, of which I have tons, labeled by subject w/ different colors. Library books have their own basket, but usually end up scattered w/ us searching for them.

    This system came from a nice lady named Lindafay from her blog post –

    Sorry, I don’t know how to link.

    Hope this helps,



    Oh, I forgot to mention my new weapon for organizing books. Delicious Monster Library software w/ a bar code scanner. This is helping me to not buy the same book 3 times in a row. It keeps a database and also lets me “check-out” items to friends and assigns due dates in my calendar. It tracks anything – books, software, albums, tools, etc. I love it!



    Oh Christie, Colored Dots!!! What a great, simple idea.

    I will also need to look at the DML software…I’ve never heard of it but it sounds great. I am always loaning resources to friends and I don’t keep up with them.



    I can’t wait to hear how others organize…anyone else?


    We don’t have a fancy system because I can’t maintain one with 4 kids 8 and under. We have one bookcase for picture books and story books. Religious type books are on the top shelf, second shelf is Dr. Seuss and such, third shelf has all the board books so little guys can reach them and bottom shelf has the big awkward shaped one.

    The second bookshelf has science books on the top shelf, no particular order. Second shelf has chapter books for the readers, half the shelf is ‘easy readers’ the other half if more advanced. Third shelf has our massive collection of Magic Tree House and Magic School House books and the bottom has all the bigger reference books for science and history as well as story book collections like Beatrix potter.

    Those are both upstairs in the school play room so they can access them anytime. I want them to love to explore books and not worry about mom yelling if they aren’t put back in the ‘right place’ so there’s just a general place.

    Downstairs on my bookshelf I devote one shelf to the books we’re using that year. Right now it’s full of American history along with a few science books and the books we’re reading aloud.

    We keep the library books in a a large laundry basket on the side of the couch where company can’t see it but the kids can easily access. All library books must be returned to the basket upon pain of death.

    I have a smaller bookshelf in my bedroom filled with read-alouds. The kids know they can go look at them if they want, but usually they don’t because they’re longer books without pictures.

    I’m very interested in that library database thingy because I have so many books I can’t keep track of them all and sometimes buy a book I already have. And I’ve lost a few beloved books over the years by loaning them out. Any other systems like that out there?

    I am a little crazy with my books. We have 4 bookshelves in our “library”. The top shelf is reserved for chapter paperbacks and are arranged alphabetically by series. After that they are organized by subject (science, social studies, poetry) and marked with colored tape on the spine. The kids can quickly put the books away by looking at the colored stripes.

    CM mom

    I used the colored dots system for about 15 years. For the past couple of years, my children have been able to put the books back on the proper shelf, and we’ve eliminated the dots. It’s a terrific way to organize with young children, though. We had green for science, blue for history, blue with a B for historical biographies, yellow and orange for literature (depending upon age), and my Five in a Row books were pink. I can’t recall what was Red at the moment. 🙂

    Now, I just have the shelves organized by topic. Because mine are older, and our library system is so good, we own fewer books (about 5 floor to ceiling bookcases now – at one point it was 10-12) and use the library more.


    OK, I’m officially a nut. After using and loving delicious library, I’ve decided I like bookpedia even better (except that it doesn’t track everything, only books). I like being able to scan directly to a specific shelf, being able to have nested categories or collections and the wish list feature, not to mention it is loads faster on my Macbook. Anyway, I am tweaking my collections (categories) and I was wondering what others do. I know I like simple, so here is mine, that still needs work. I welcome input and suggestions. 

    I’m also thinking I’ll put in things by year (Year 3 – Caddie Woodlawn, Among the Night People, etc.), but I haven’t thought it all through totally. I’m trying to make it as organized as possible so that when my younger kids come along, I have a really good reference. 

    • SCM Bible, History, Geography Modules w/ nested modules & optional books I own
    • Module 1 – Ancient Egypt
    • Module 1
    • Optional
    • Module 2 – Ancient Greece
    • Module 2
    • Optional
    • and so on…
    • Arts – How To
    • Arts – Music Study
    • Arts – Picture Study
    • Arts – Poetry
    • Bible
    • Character & Personal Development
    • History (here is where I need to figure divisions for things that don’t fall into the 6 SCM modules)
    • Homeschool Help
    • Language Arts
    • Life Skills & Handicrafts
    • Literature
    • Math
    • Parenting
    • Misc.
    • Science & Nature
    • Medical

    Again, I welcome thoughts and suggestions. I know I am being overly organized, but, well, that’s just the way I am!Smile




    Christie – Do you know if you can download Bookpedia to an iPod or iPodTouch?


    No fancy system here either. I dream of alphabetized shelves, but it’s impossible right now! I keep all our school books, notebooks, and current read-alouds on a bottom shelf. That way, the kids can reach them if I ask them to grab such-and-such book for me. The books that are not school books and not from the library, like the kids’ books to read whenever they want to and over and over if they like, are kept on one shelf in their room. My husband and I keep our books (i.e. parenting books, Bible reference books, Christian fiction, theology books, etc.) on another separate shelf. Library books are also kept together on their own shelf. 

    In short, I guess our books are organized by their use, not alphabetically or by subject.

    Christie, your system sounds dreamy!


    Bookpedia has an application called Pocketpedia for iphone and ipod touch, which is another big feature since DL no longer has one. 

    Lindsey, I have sooo many books that if I don’t have a system, they are useless to me. My problem is I try to over-analyze and over-organize, but in reality it is a very simple system.

    ~ Christie

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • The topic ‘ to organize bookshelves’ is closed to new replies.