What’s a bibliophile to do?
You love books but you don’t necessarily love that your bookshelf is currently packed to the gills with your beloved reads.
If you’re a member of our Ink+Volt community, there’s a good chance you’re also facing this conundrum.
Luckily there are lots of different book storage ideas available that don’t involve adding a library to your home (although that would be so nice!).
Here are some simple and practical ways to help you keep your books in order while also proudly showing them off. Whether you’re looking for a quick-and-easy solution or looking for a creative project, we’ve got you covered.
Declutter your shelves
Before you start organizing and arranging your books, it’s a good idea to do a decluttering session first.
But if you love books as much as we do, you know how hard it is to give them up. You respect the hard work and effort that goes into creating a book. And the content and covers are so beautiful that you can’t bear the thought of throwing them away in the trash. Letting go of a book would be akin to abandoning a family member or a piece of precious artwork.
So how do we make this process as painless as possible?
One way is to follow the popular KonMari Method of decluttering. Ask yourself if this is a book that still gives you joy. Does this book have special meaning for you? Do you think it would be a nice comfort re-read in the near future? Or is it a book that you didn't particularly enjoy or couldn’t get through?
You can also do this exercise by looking at the practical aspects of the book. Is it a book that you think you’ll need to reference again for your work or academic studies? Or could you easily access the information online? If it’s the latter, consider giving away those books.
If you’re still having a hard time letting go, there’s another way to approach it. A tip I once heard was to give away books that do mean a lot to you.
So rather than giving away items that don’t spark joy, you are sharing that joy with others. Sometimes it’s easier to let go of a cherished book knowing that it’s coming from a place of love, and knowing that this book will make someone else very happy.
Here are ways to give away your books:
- Donate books to a Little Library in your neighborhood
- Resell books to used bookstores
- Check to see if a local group is organizing a book drive. Local churches, schools, and community organizers are likely to host a book drive and put out a call.
Now that you’ve determined which books you’d like to keep, it’s time to get them organized.
Book storage idea: Organize your books by genre
Your literary tastes run the gamut from horror and sci fi to poetry and historical fiction. What’s the best way to keep them all organized?
We could always try arranging them in alphabetical order. But if you commit to keeping your books in alphabetical order, you have to stay on top of it, or else it’s pretty easy to slip back into disorganized shelves. Sometimes we just want to read a book and place it back on the shelf, without worrying about messing up the order.
A more practical, less fussy approach is to categorize your books by genre and subgenre. Put similar genres together, like mystery/thriller/horror in one section and memoirs/biography in another. This is great if you’re looking to stay organized but without all the oversight and responsibility. By grouping similar books together in the same section, you’ll have a general sense of where you can find them.
Book storage idea: Organize books by color
You may have already seen this book trend on your Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards. It’s a book storage method that’s been quite polarizing, with lots of fans who swear by it and others who don’t understand it all.
Which camp you’re in obviously depends on your style and taste. But it also depends on how you capture and organize information.
If you’re a visually oriented person, this is a great storage idea. Many people find that they can easily identify their books by the book’s spine, so organization is not a big issue. Also, if you have a creative, artistic side, this could be a really fun and satisfying way to show off your books and your curatorial eye.
In terms of how to arrange them by the color, this article suggests:
“…go from dark to light, bottom to top—with black, navy, and charcoal books on the top shelf, and white books on the top shelf. In between come the colors."
Store your books on the floor
Who says your books have to be displayed on a shelf? Another creative and stylish storage idea is to stack your books on the floor. You could even create a makeshift nightstand or end table with a tasteful stack of books. Or arrange them side-by-side under a bench or a table to evoke a Parisian apartment vibe.
Consider the bar cart
Gorgeous coffee table books aren’t just for coffee tables. Another book storage trend is to display your prettiest books on your bar cart.
Add books that you’d be proud to display, so that the book storage feels more intentional. You could display beautiful art and photography books. Or you could also stay “on-theme” and display books that are food and beverage related.
You can stack your coffee table books on the bottom cart or stack smaller ones on the top shelf.
This is a fun way to maximize the space and furniture you do have, while also showing off your books.
Have fun curating this area and switch out the books every month or so. This way you get a chance to rotate your favorite selection of books while also keeping this part of the room looking fresh.