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Topic: Help please - How do you organize a large bookshelf?

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Subject: Help please - How do you organize a large bookshelf?
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2008
Posts: 1,321
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Recently I have been unable to locate a book requested from me. I guess I just have too many books. I am wondering how others organize their bookshelves to make locating a requested book quick and easy. Thank you for any help you can give me. Peggy

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I have a separate room in which I keep the books I'm willing to send out, different place from my keeper books.  So, I rarely "lose" a request book.  But I need to organize those books better myself, because sometimes it takes a little while to find out which pile it is actually in, and then if it is at the bottom of a pile, it can cause a bit of an upset when I dig out the requested book...

So my suggestion is to create a separate place to keep your Sendout books so they can be separate from your other books, and easily found.  (If it's a requested book, it's in the XXX area.)

Last Edited on: 9/21/09 4:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I keep the books I've posted to my shelf seperate from my TBR books.  I never usualy have a big shelf between posting WL books and BOB transactions.  But when I post a book it goes in a seperate pile.  I have this sort of night table by my bed with 2 shelves underneath.  That's where I stack my posted books.  So they are easy to grab when ordered.

Ronda (RONDA) - ,
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
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take a look at this link.  I thought this one was most interesting :

I currently have over 700 books listed, with over 200 having been listed in the past omnth, so organization is very important to me. I have 15 banker's boxes full of books to search thru! I have recently started a system where I sort books according to the date listed. Since the request always shows the date listed, I can easily put my hands on the exact box I need. When the boxes get leaner, I combine books into date ranges, such as all books listed in June 2008, or books listed between Oct. 2007 thru Dec. 2007


Date Posted: 9/21/2009 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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I actually have mine first sorted by size then title.  MMPB are all on one shelf and trade + hardbacks on another and then each shelf is "loosely" alphabetized by title.  It works really well for me :)

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 36,818
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I recently organized about half of my tbr pile (mmps) on a bookshelf by alphabetical order.  Not sure how to handle the tradesize, as they are not uniform in size...  right now the books listed on my bookshelf are either in boxes or piles on the floor of my bedroom. 

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,037
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I sort my books by genre, because I have roughly equal amounts of romance, sci-fi and mystery. Oddballs go into a separate pile, as do unpostables.

Within each genre, I sort into rough alphabtic piles by author. So, A-G, H-P, Q-Z.

That way I don't have to spend a ton of time alphabetizing exactly, yet my books are easily findable.

I keep my posted/offered books completely separate from my other books so they don't get mixed up.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I have a bookshelf dedicated to all books I post.  They are sorted by Hardcover, Trades, Mass Paperback, then alphabetical by author.  All the books that are to be posted I have in plastic containers next to the bookshelf.  Not to jinx myself but to date I have not misplaced a book.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,630
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I currently have an underbed storage box full of posted books plus a brown grocery sack piled 4-high and then a stack on the floor next to that.  I try and keep my bookshelf between 150 and 200 books so it's not so much to search thru.

Someday, it will only be 2 underbed storage boxes of posted books.  Once I get the other one cleaned out and posted.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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I keep larger books (trades and hardbacks) is cardboard boxes that hold about 15 books each, spine out, so I can see the titles. They're alphabetized. Right now I have a few books sitting on top of the box they should go in, because there isn't room for them.

MMpaperbacks are in two bigger boxes that hold two rows of 20 or so in each box. Also alphabetized.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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So many great ideas; like many of you I don't (or didn't) have all that many books on my Bookshelf (right now there's only 1 as I'm purging the shelf books and added different titles) but I keep the Bookshelf books in 3 copy paper boxes just as Sara does, stacked in the corner of the spare room.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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For storing my TBR books: I have 2 bookshelves in my office.  They were of course over flowing. So I posted what I thought I would probably never read.

I had previously bought these underbed shoe holders. Basically a zip up bag that holds 12 shoes.  I decided not to use them for shoes.  They worked great for holding mass market paperbacks. I can get about 48 in one bag.  I grouped them by genre (historical romances in one bag, mysteries/cozies in another, etc..,)  I loaded the bag by my computer and had it open to my TBR list.  As I put them in teh bag I put a note on them that they were in a bag so I know where to look.  Since I had them pretty much grouped by author it was pretty quick to do this. I freed up a lot of room in my bookshelves for tradesize and hardcovers which were piling up on another shelf that wasn't meant for holding books (and therefore didn't hold them very well). 

These would work for posted mmps. 

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I have two boxes of posted books, they go in immediately after posting and don't come out again until requested.  And I still managed to lose one a few weeks ago :/   Don't have alot, so don't usually bother to sort or alphabetize the boxes.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 526
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Last Edited on: 5/2/11 7:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 9:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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Alpha order by author. Period.  I don't separate by genre or any other arbitrary determining factor.  If I know the author, whether it is literature, mystery, biography, history, sci/fi...whatever, I can find the book.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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Me too, LeeAnne, alpha by author is the best way I have found for me. I have a three shelf bookshelf here next to my desk. The printer/fax machine is on the top shelf and the rest of the shelves are my PBS posted books, alphabetical by author.

My TBR books are in a much taller wider bookshelf and since the bottom shelves are much taller, I have the Hard Covers on the bottom 2 shelves alpha by author and the paperbacks, MMP and Trade Size on the upper shelves, alpha by author.

Sorting by title gets me confused, does the A or the The count as the first word? I could never stay consistant with that, so now I dont have to search as much.

I also sort all my lists here on the site by Author too, so it is easier to confirm that I have all the books in the right bookshelf.

Last Edited on: 9/21/09 10:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,343
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I'm with LeeAnne and Cheryl -- alphabetical by author, and I sort my bookshelf by author.  If I can't find a book, I'll sort my shelf by date posted, see what other books I posted at the same time, and sometimes that will lead me to a pile that I haven't alphabetized yet.  If all else fails, I find a nice large picture of the book, show it to my DH, and he'll remember where he's seen it. :-)


I think if I only had boxes, no shelves, I might sort everything by date posted.

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I keep my keepers and TBR pile together, and my PBS "shelf" is basically kept in plastic stackable storage drawers for easy access - sorted alphabetically by author.  If you can get & keep them organized & all in one place, that, IMO, is just the easiest way to do it.  As long as I've put everything back in the correct drawer & in alphabetical order, I never have any problems finding books when they are ordered.

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,327
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I have mine on a bookshelf alphabetically by title.  I have the HB and trade size together and the MPB separate (due to the size of the books only).  To me this is the easiest way as the books are requested by book title.  HTH.  Pat

Subject: Thanks so much for all the ideas and help!
Date Posted: 9/25/2009 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2008
Posts: 1,321
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Thank you to each of you who posted your ideas. I really need to do something different as I hate disappointing people and I hate losing the requests when I know I do have the book "somewhere". I have tried to keep posted books separate but I have so many and I guess others in family may not realize that certain book cases are "off limits". Really though I don't think I can blame anyone else. I am not very good at organizing. Maybe I will try alphabetizing each shelf and see if that helps. Blessings, Peggy

Date Posted: 9/26/2009 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I'm another alpha by author organizer.  My posted books are in my office stacked in underbed boxes.  TBR & keepers are in a different room.  Mine are a little more loosely organized: authors A, B and C all in one box, etc. but still very easy to find, with the alpha letters on an index card taped to the front.  Snapping the lid shut on the box also helps keep them from circulating around the house.  I donated all my HB's to charity, since they're just too much of a PITA to wrap and mail.  MMPB's and Trades are much easier.

The only times I run into trouble are when I confuse author and character name, where the character is listed on the cover, like Author J.A. Jance - Skeleton Canyon - A Joanna Brady Mystery.  Sometimes I'll find that in the B's, or look for the book in the B's rather than the J's.

Last Edited on: 9/26/09 12:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/26/2009 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2008
Posts: 118
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With five, almost six avid readers in this house I must keep the PBS books seperate from everything else.  The hardbacks and trade size books are on the top shelf in my daughter's room.  The girls can not reach them and since the bookcases are painted a bright, oh God my eyes, pink, it is best if we keep books on it to tone down the pink in their room. The paperbacks are organized by authors and in grocery bags in the back of the closet.  On the outside of the bag I have written who the major authors are.  I just did a separate bag for romances.  Then I only have to look thru one bag.  I have only lost two and they were both lost after I pulled them to wrap for mailing.  Any book that goes into my son's room is gone forever.  

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 9/26/2009 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I'm with the alphabetical by author group. I sort my TBR by author on two five shelf bookcases. Posted books are in another room also alphabetical by author.
Date Posted: 9/27/2009 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 284
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As I first started reading this I thought really, sort by size? Sort by genre? Sort by date listed? Am I weird? 'Cause alpha by author seems to be the only way to go. But then I saw others thought the same and I heaved a sigh of relief. I'm not weird or at least I'm not alone. I say whatever works for you is the only way to go but the librarian in me won't let me sort any other way than by author. susan/vt
Date Posted: 9/27/2009 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Easy. Have your house burn down. It instantly solves all organizational problems you may have had.

Just kidding. I need to TRY to have a sense of humor about it, or I tend to start crying or screaming or something. Seriously though, prior to the fire, I would keep all my PBS posted books in a seperate area. Beyond that, the only organization was keeping series and identical author books together. Since books were often in stacks, I also tended to have the biggest books at the bottom with the smaller books (mass markets) on top, but that wasn't intentional, it was just the only way to keep the stacks balanced when I ran out of bookshelves.

Last Edited on: 9/27/09 7:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1