What Kind of Bookshelf Organizer Are You?

Are you a stickler for the rules? A romantic? A busy mom with other things to think about?

For some people, their bookshelves are the focal point of the home, with spines proudly displayed in organized rows and where every book is placed methodically and with great care. For others, their bookshelf is the ultimate piece of abstract art, where books seem to simply grow together in stacks and groups of the most organic, beautiful nature. But whatever your style—and we guarantee you have one—booklovers everywhere will agree that there is no greater pleasure than looking at your collection and knowing that you are connected to each and every title on the shelf. So what’s your bookshelf style?

The Librarian

Genre, chronology, author—these are important attributes of the books you love, but no more so because they offer an ideal way of cataloging your collection. Your shelves are ordered and tidy and there’s never any scrambling when you are looking for a book; you know exactly where it’s shelved, and why.

The Color Coder

You might not judge a book by its cover, but you certainly organize them that way! You prefer not to limit a book’s merit to what’s found in its pages, knowing that they can be a beautiful addition to your decor. From darkest to lightest or cheerfully color blocked, your shelves are a happy rainbow of like-minded spines, arranged to give a visual representation of the pure joy that reading awards you. Let others scoff at your system—to you, bookshelves are art installations.

The Neat Freak

You won’t find any overcrowding or misaligned spines on these shelves—your mantra is A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place. That probably means that each shelf is dedicated to neatness and order by way of book size and spacing. Hardcovers only abut other hardcovers; trade paperbacks are grouped together; and no matter how many mass-market-sized books you may own, you’ll never try to squeeze just one more onto your impeccably dusted shelves.

The Sentimentalist

Your shelves are like a love letter to your favorite books, and because of that, you must change them constantly. The last book you read was so wonderful, you just have to give it a space of honor on your shelf, which is probably right in the middle of your line of sight because you want it to be the first book you see when you look in that direction. But wait! You’ll have to change just a few more things because you’ve just unearthed the book you read on your favorite vacation, and the memories it conjures compels you to find better placement for it. You may even forward-face the books you most love at the moment, giving them the extra shelf space they deserve.

The Free Spirit

The books don’t care how they are organized, and neither do you. Others may call your shelves chaotic, but you are a-okay with the haphazard stacks that seem to grow ever higher. Sure, at some point you began with rows that were in a sort of loose order, but books want to be held and enjoyed and taken from the shelves over and over again. If they don’t make it back to their intended spot, that’s fine with you. In fact, your bookshelf is hardly the only home for your tomes—you’ll find books perched on many surfaces around the house, just waiting to be picked up. And your bookshelves may not be strictly for books, either—it’s possible that when you go looking for a book, you’ll find a myriad of other treasures you thought had been misplaced.

    Karen Green

    Karen Green is a freelance writer and big city ex-pat now living in rural Ontario. She writes for numerous print and online publications, and considers her library card to be one of her most valuable possessions.


    9 Responses to “What Kind of Bookshelf Organizer Are You?”

    1. Michelle Meade
      Michelle Meade

      I’m a combo of the librarian and the sentimentalist, I think. My shelves have a specific order–but that order is often based on my own random collection of criteria and particular favourites. It’s organized to me, but probably not to anyone else…

    2. Sheila L.

      I am a color coder! I enjoy seeing my best friends brilliantly arranged from light to dark. When I see the shelves, I’m immediately in a happy mood!

    3. Ellen

      I organized my books by color (in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, violet) a while ago, and now it’s hard to find the one I’m looking for!

    4. Lynette

      I am the librarian with bits I’d everything else my books are arranged by genre and then each authors books grouped together in order of when they wrote it. I like my one off’s to be visually nice by colour and size. I have over 1000 books now so I do need a bit of order so I can find one when I lend it out

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