Get Organized

Recently I saw a post on one of my favourite bookish Facebook pages, asking “How do you organize your personal library?” By colour? Size? Maybe your inner librarian says “alphabetical is the only way to go!” I then found quite a few fun, lighthearted pieces about what our book shelf organizational style says about our personalities. This all got me thinking and sparked a discussion with my book loving husband, too.

In our home, our personal book collections are scattered throughout the house in small bookcases. We have books in pretty much every room and we like that. As much as we love and admire books, we do regularly weed our personal libraries, donating books to charities or “little libraries” to ensure that our collections don’t take over our house…a very real possibility.

Our DVDs, CDs and vinyl (yes, happily aging myself here!) are kept in alphabetical order. We are unanimous in that being the best option, well, at least for us. Apparently this means we like schedules, problem solving and are the friends that everyone goes to for solid, thoughtful advice. Our neatly, alphabetized collection most probably includes a healthy sprinkling of classics…music, movies, books. Interesting! But how we organize our books is done slightly differently.

My husband is an enthusiastic reader, keeping pace with and, during the COVID crisis, surpassing my appetite for the written word. He reads non-fiction almost exclusively. In fact, except for the odd Tom Clancy, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him read a novel. His passion is military history (WWI, WWII, Korea), politics, hockey and the monarchy. His books are organized by genre, and then broken down into periods in time. Currently he’s working on building a collection of memoirs of select Canadian Prime Ministers and American Presidents.

So, what could that mean? Sorting by genre indicates he doesn’t like to waste time hunting down a book. He wants to get reading! Filing books chronologically hints at having an academic side; holding onto and filing papers and books for easy future reference, which you know is inevitable.

Before I move onto how I organize my books, here’s a bit of fun, entertaining information on what your preference just might say about you!

Colour Co-ordinated. Your bookshelves look like a rainbow…a carefully planned rainbow. Your wonderful creativity is one of your best traits. You like to stand out, be the life of the party, and live your energized life to the fullest! You might not class yourself as an artist, but you love being a maker and especially enjoy crafting and DIY.

Up, Down, All Around. Are your shelves a mish-mosh of vertical and horizontal placement? Do you fit in as many books as you can without damaging them? It doesn’t look organized but to you, it is BEAUTIFUL. You don’t take life too seriously but what is serious is placing the highest value on what’s on the inside. Besides your extensive book collection, you probably also love games and game nights with friends.

Bring On the Colour! Perhaps your book shelves are a mix of colourful books, decorations, twinkle lights and knick knacks. You love displaying cherished pieces you have collected over the years with the books that hold a special place in your heart. You are fascinated in the smallest of details, enjoy reminiscing, have a great memory and tell the best stories.

In the Dark. The spines on the majority of your books are black. The shelves are organized, but dark with the occasional punch of blood red or deathly white. Sounds like the shelves of a mystery, sci-fi, or horror fan. Your bookshelves are not the focus of the room, they blend in comfortably, and this could reflect your own personality. You like to retain some mystery while still sharing interests with the new people you meet. Not everyone gets you, and that’s okay, but your closest friends do, and that’s all that really matters.

Floor to Ceiling. You have been surrounded by books since early childhood. Your parents were big booklovers and huge readers. The more bookshelves the better! Floor-to-ceiling shelving, a dedicated reading room in the home, plus book shelves in additional rooms, hallways, any available space. You love to make big, grand gestures to show your love. You are active and competitive, but deep down, your favourite thing is to sit down at the end of the work day and read the hours away.

Designer Style. You have one very large bookcase and display your books with the paper facing out instead of spine. Or perhaps you enjoy curating small stacks of beautiful, topical or the currently bestselling books to sit neatly on accent tables. Elegant collectibles, vases and other art pieces are tucked amongst the books. Whether it’s books, paint colours or shoes, you are always absolutely on trend. You’re a stylish perfectionist who values a polished presentation throughout your home and your life.

So, where do I fall? With my all-time favourites, these well-worn books are alphabetized by author. But my TBR collection, while neatly placed on shelves, are in no particular order at all. My cookbooks are divided by type whilst my travel memoirs (some read and loved, some an extension of my TBR shelf) are sorted by country. And yes, in the bookcases there sit collectibles, vintage postcards and bookish knick knacks. Let’s see. I guess that means I am a reader who is detail-driven and doesn’t like to waste time, appreciates a good schedule, enjoys reminiscing, has a great memory (disputable the older I get!) and tells the best stories. Yep. I’ll take that!

— Sandi H.