Getting the Most Out of Your Home Library

Updated: Aug 17

I want to share a really fun organization project we did right before shelter-in-place and which has just now had the final touches added. I have been excitedly awaiting the moment when I can share this one since it was really enjoyable to work on and it came out so nicely.

Here is how we approached this project:


We took everything off the shelves and set up staging areas for decor items and books.


The books were then categorized by the owner. In this case, it was important for the owner to categorize the books herself as it allowed her a chance to review each individually, get rid of any that do not serve her, and decide which book categories work best for her. During this process, the owner had some great takeaways in regards to categories of books she wants to develop and books she had forgotten and which she wants to revisit.


While the owner was organizing her books, we cleaned and dusted the shelves since it was the first time these shelves had been empty in 3+ years. We also cleaned the decor and accessory items that were on the shelves so that everything would be pristine when it went back into the space.


We arranged books by color within each of the categories that had a substantial number of items. We love arranging books by color within categories whenever it fits the needs of the client as it makes for a cleaner, more clutter-free look within a space.

Thoughts on Book Organization from Emi Louie, Professional Organizer and Konmari Consultant

Emi has a great eye for aesthetics and also loves to arrange books by color. She put it very well with the following statement:

I love love LOVE to organize books by color! Our books are a literary journey of our past, present and future, but because many of us will never re-read our books they risk becoming part of the "clutter" in our homes. When you organize by color, or group vintage books or pop coffee table books together, you allow them to be enjoyed in an entirely different way.”

For the categories that did not contain enough books to make it possible to arrange by color, we organized them by look. For some, this meant largest to smallest and for others, it meant putting books in arrangements that just looked beautiful together. There is no perfect science to this part - it’s about balance and design. Some people are really good at this off the bat but for others, like me, it takes practice.

I want to note that color-coding will not work for all bookshelves as it does not allow books to be in alphabetical order. For large collections, it can make it really hard to find what you are looking for. Alphabetical by author or title are other great options for arranging books.


Now that the books have been organized, it’s time to find space on the shelves for them. We arranged the categories around the library, working to balance out the space so that it wasn’t too heavy with books in any particular area. Some categories like fiction which had a large number of books were placed on one wall where all the books could fit together and we didn’t have to split up the category.


We labeled each category with these gold label holders. Watch our video below for more details on how we are using these labels.

To write on the labels, we used a black acrylic paint pen from this set. These are easy to use and if you make a mistake or need to change the text on one of the label holders, you can get the paint off with a little scrubbing.

All in all, I think this space came out very well. I love organizing libraries and bookshelves because these spaces lend themselves so well to design in addition to function.


© 2020 by SortJoy. 

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