On Shelving With Whimsy, or Organizing My Home Library

I recently was spurred to assess the mess on my bookshelves. A year ago, in a fit of whimsy and insomnia, I arranged my books by LC call number. What? Why, yes, I am that lame. And, yes, I was able to find what I wanted afterwards.

Then my kids woke up and wrecked my system. Sigh. There’s a reason why libraries have “do not re-shelve” signs hanging up….

I side-eyed hard when I rearranged that mess (alphabetically, because the entire collection was of a single subject). Thoughts were thought. Remarks were muttered under my breath. Lots of deep breaths were taken.

Size order doesn’t work. Alphabetical works alright for locating authors but is not very good when your collection spans multiple genres and subgenres and you’re browsing for something good to read on the bus. I thought about the myriad of ways I could arrange my little library, but I went along with my four year old’s suggestion: Rainbow. She who is about all things pink and sparkly, all colors rose and blush, suggested arrangement in ROYGBIV order. She said she’d help with organizing the books into piles.

And she promised to dust the shelves!

Dusted shelves? Deal.

Do I know where anything is? No.

Do I particularly like it? Its pretty, but no.

Do I plan on keeping it? No. Give it a week and one night when the kids are sleeping I’m reorganizing by genre.

Are there any redeeming merits to this? A few.

1. My daughter thinks I need more books. She says I need more purple, green, and pink. She had me at “needs more books.” I think the orange is sorely lacking in breadth. Please leave recommendations for books with orange or pink spines in the comments below.

3. I found an old book that’s in desperate need of repair (the textblock detached from the case) and I’ll fix it eventually.

4. Having Everything is Illuminated and Where’s Waldo? next to one another made me snicker because they’re on opposite ends of the “searching for someone” seriousness spectrum.


6 thoughts on “On Shelving With Whimsy, or Organizing My Home Library

  1. Cute. Really, it is. But I’d kill them.
    I’d also consider locking everything up like the Forbidden Section in the Hogwarts Library. But that’s just me and my OCD.


    1. Oh, my OCD is twitching. I can’t find a single thing. But it’s easier for the kids to reshelve books, so bonus? I’m giving it a few more days then it’s back to a genre-based arrangement.


  2. It is eye-catching! I don’t think I would try it myself with my collection (it’s hard enough to find things as it is!) but it would be fun to have an “accent” bookcase the way some rooms have accent walls – one small bookcase arranged by color, the rest arranged by author or genre…


    1. Everyone thinks differently and your way sounds awesome! I’ve found that, with my kids getting into EVERYTHING, the books stay neater because it’s easier and more natural for them to sort by color than alphabetical order or genre. I haven’t had to reshelve as much, so — bonus!!


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