How to Organize Books
Organize to match the way you think
How to Organize Books
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How to Organize Books

How to Organize Books

In the Spring I helped a client organize her husband’s home office as a Father’s Day present.  We were given clear instructions to not touch anything “on the desk,” but everything else was fair game.  Her husband is a Neuroscience Professor at an area university.  Of course he had a large library of books. They were in absolutely no order at all.

I was curious how he could find anything.  Why is it that certain people’s brains need order and others don’t?  I saw the client’s husband last week and I asked him how his system works.  He very matter-of-factly responded “I just remember where they are.”  WOW – that was eye opening for me.  He not only remembers what books he owns (and there were hundreds) he can arbitrarily remember where he has placed them.  His system matched his memory style!

Here are some other book organizing styles I’ve observed.  See if you can find a correlation between how you remember information and how you organize:

  • My style – I group books by use (work, personal growth, pleasure reading, etc.) and then place them in order of height so that they are visually calming and appealing.  I know where to look and can find what I’m looking for by going to that area.  I absolutely don’t remember every book I own.  By knowing where each category “lives” I can easily and quickly peruse my collection and select what I need.
  • Client A’s style – His books are organized by subject, but with no need for visual order.  His priority is that he can go to a zone and the books are all logically grouped.  If a tall book was next to a short book that’s fine – it is more important that the topics are right (History books – chronological, Travel books by continent-country-region-city).
  • Client B’s style – It just has to look great – she doesn’t mind spending the time looking for what she has.  The type of books are grouped by construction (paperback, oversize hardback, hardbacks 2″ plus, hardbacks 1″ – 2″, etc.).  She says she remembers what the books look like.

How do you organize your books – is there a correlation with how you remember?  I would love if you shared your comments on my blog – we all might learn more.

3 Comments
  • Ellen Delap
    Posted at 09:22h, 27 August Reply

    Great points and examples Ellen! I agree that matching style means so much. I have many books! For me I group books in different rooms of my home. Of course cookbooks in the kitchen for me! Thanks for asking us to include our style!

    • Ellen Faye
      Posted at 09:54h, 27 August Reply

      Of course cookbooks in the kitchen! Me too. (Then there is the overflow area…I LOVE my cookbooks).

  • Ellen Faye
    Posted at 17:26h, 27 August Reply

    And from my friend Stefanie the writer – she wants it all!
    You left out my favorite! Topic first, then alphabetical, and place the topics in a manner that is most visually appealing according to height and size of books and color!

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