How To: Organize a Bookshelf

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Like all other shelves and surfaces, bookshelves can become dumping grounds for trinkets, papers, and of course, books. No, no, no. Think again, my organized child. A messy bookshelf can take your space from hero to zero. On the other hand, an organized bookshelf can morph your room into a tidy haven. So let's take out our reading glasses, brew up a cup of coffee, and work on neatening up those bookshelves. Feel free to start off by separating your book collection by genre or how much you like/reference the books. You can even separate them by color because that looks cool sometimes, too. But once the divvying up is over, here are a few tips on how to make the bookshelves look neat:

1) Arrange the books by size order. There are a few techniques that you can employ here. One is that which we grew up using on class-picture day. Tall kids in the back, short kids in the front. Shuffle the books around to place the higher ones on one end of the shelf, leading down to the shortest books at the other end (think: staircase). Alternatively, you can place the higher books on both sides and shorter ones in the middle (think: half pipe).

2) Place all of the super long books at the way end. The long ones, not tall ones. You know, the ones that jut out more than the others. Since they stick out like sore thumbs, placing them at the ends of the bookshelves helps them blend in and keeps things looking tidy.

3) Eliminate any clutter or trinkets that are sitting on top of the books. It's easy to consider the tops of the books an ideal spot for tchotchkes that you don't know where else to put. But that creates a messy dumping ground so get that thought out of your head. Take away any non-book items and store them somewhere else. They'll just make your bookshelf look like a madhouse.

4) Make sure all of the books are standing upright. That means all tops are at the top and all bottoms are at the bottom. No one needs to get dizzy when they are browsing your book collection so let's line these guys up like soldiers.

5) Avoid placing books laying down along the tops of the standing books. Again, this will just make the shelves look messy so get all of those books standing upright. No crowd-surfing books allowed.

And now: reading glasses, coffee, couch, READ!