Book Chat

TBT: Bookshelf Organization

Last weekend I reorganized my bookshelves. Again!

They’ve been in rainbow color order since we moved into the new house, but after a recent purge there were large chunks of empty spaces and instead of shifting everything back into ROY G BIV order, I decided to rearrange. I was tired of having all the series out of order and wanted to separate the books that I haven’t read yet, so this was a good opportunity to put everything in an order that makes sense in my brain.

Here’s a Before from a couple months ago:

And an After:

I love looking at other people’s bookshelves and I think the titles and organization says a lot about a person. So just in case you’re as nosy as I am, here’s a blueprint of my book brain:

We got these two Billy bookshelves on an Ikea buying spree a couple months after we moved to San Francisco in 2011. The couch we brought with us from Mississippi wouldn’t fit through the door of our new apartment, so we needed a cheap one quickly… and after a long afternoon of negotiating and shopping, half of our apartment was furnished by Ikea; we came home with a couch, bar cart, bed, desk, and two bookshelves. (Blogged here!)

I’ve blogged about my bookshelves many, many times. After rearranging my books for the umpteenth time, I started thinking about how these two bookcases have traveled through two moves with us from California to Tennessee and how I’ve organized the books throughout the years. Plenty of books have come and gone but a few are here for the long haul, whether they’re sitting on a bookshelf or in a pile or in a box.

Since it’s Throwback Thursday, let’s travel back and look at how the books sitting on our Billy bookshelves have changed over the years!


Way, way back in my early blogging days when I was a newlywed in Mississippi, we had this little bookshelf on the staircase landing of our one-bedroom townhouse. Don’t be fooled, I had plenty more books stashed in boxes and various nooks and crannies too, but this is the only space I had to display a few books. I see a few lifers that are still with me today!

(Blogged here)


When we moved to San Francisco, that sad little bookshelf didn’t make the move, and we upgraded to Ikea (truly, it was an upgrade in comparison). Our new Billy bookcases flanked the dresser in the only bedroom of our tiny apartment.

Of course I blogged about it: Oops, I Organized Again. Don’t worry, there are diagrams that I created in Microsoft Word!

I was nosy about other people’s bookshelves back then too, and I have the blog series to prove it: Take a Peek at My Bookshelf! I made a list of questions about bookshelf organization, favorite (and embarrassing) titles, etc. and asked a bunch of my friends to respond and send photos of their bookshelves. You can take a peek at MY bookshelf here, or take a peek at some of my favorite bloggers’ bookshelves here.

That might be a fun series to revive, if anyone is interested!


In 2014, we moved to Tennessee and I decided to take advantage of a blank slate to jump on the Pinterest trend or organizing our books by color. I placed the two bookshelves together to make one larger unit, and our books were front and center in the main living space. I loved the ROY G BIV look!

I blogged about the whole process here.






At the tail end of 2015 we moved into our first house, and I had the chance to rearrange my book collection once again. I went back to rainbow color order because I liked the look of it so much. But since we had a whole house to fill up instead of cramming everything into a tiny apartment, my books naturally spread into other rooms too. I blogged here about having mini collections of cookbooks in the kitchen, craft books in the sewing room, and TBR books on my bedside table apart from the main bookcases.





When Amelia came along, I also moved my children’s picture book collection into the future nursery closet. It’s so nice to have some room to breathe!


Almost two years later, there hasn’t been much change (other than regular purging), until last weekend. It might not be quite as pretty as before, but it makes more sense.

Now I can find what I’m looking for, especially when I need something new to read! My goal is to actually read all the books on my bookshelves, and decide if they’re keepers or not… but let’s be honest, I’ll probably never read all the books I own. And that’s OK! Too many books, too little time.


How do you organize your bookshelves?


2 thoughts on “TBT: Bookshelf Organization

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