The Great Reorganization

I like to read. I’m not saying I’m the world’s greatest reader (I rank a dismal fourth out of four in my own immediate family), but I do enjoy a good book.  

I have collected a reasonable little personal library.  They run the gamut of styles and genres from my favorites (Salinger, Heinlein, and Asimov) to classic series’ (Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Tolkien, Rowling, and my childhood favorite Piers Anthony).  I also try to be well versed in the literary classics (Joyce, Tolstoy, Henry James, Bronte, Austin).  

It’s not exactly the Library of Alexandria, but they are mine and I’m proud of my books.  I come from a family where my mother is a writer and my sister is a librarian, so I got handed the reading thing early.  

Why am I telling you all of this?  Do you remember a few nights ago when I said that I needed desperately to clean my room?  Well, I got carried away.  I decided to do some reorganizing of my room.  Then I decided to do some dusting.  And one thing led to another… and now all of my books are on the floor.

Dewey Decimal my shiny rear end.

Like I said, it’s not the most impressive collection in the world, but it’s several hundred books for which I must now think of some organizing system.

I organized my books two years ago when I moved in.  Eighteen months of pulling books off the shelf, loaning books to friends, buying and receiving new books led my shelves to be chaos.  

I NEED ADVICE.  HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE YOUR BOOKS?  I’m leaning towards this system:

Divide my books into five categories

1. Science Fiction/Fantasy, and then Alphabetical by author.  When multiple books arise by the same author, Alphabetical by title or chronological by series.

2.  Fiction, and then Alphabetical by author.

3. Biographies, Alphabetical by subject.

4.  Non-fiction/Reference, then sub-grouped by topic, then alphabetical by Title.

5.  Poetry/short fiction, alphabetical by Author.

Here’s the face I make when thinking about this undertaking:

That's a lotta categories, man

Somehow, my organizational idea doesn’t seem ideal.  Let me tell you what I want:  The system which requires the least work to organize while still dividing my books into reasonably self-explanatory groups.  

PLEASE HELP.  I won’t tackle this until after the holiday (likely to receive at least one book for X-Mas) so you have time to plan.  

PLUS__Shockingly, I don’t own any books about beards or beard grooming… so if you’re looking for a late gift idea for me, I’d start there.

Probably won’t post on Christmas Eve or Christmas (but i make no promises) so until the 26th, let me wish everyone a happy holiday season.


Day 53 out of 365 days of the Yeard.



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2 responses to “The Great Reorganization

  1. Adam

    I have a collection of similar size, which I organize in alphabetical order by author’s last name. (I know original)

    However, I find the most annoying aspect to be adding in new books once I have neatly organized my collection.

    I would suggest a Factor of Safety for each shelf… Based on your book acquisition rate leave an appropriate amount of empty space on each shelf.

    I know this doesn’t directly impact the organization system, but I actually think it is the most important consideration.

  2. Sorry I didn’t weigh in on this sooner. I’m behind with my blog reading because of the holidays.

    Personally my books are arrranged in the following fashion: Fiction on the bookcases in our bedroom, alphabetical by author and title or series within the author, and a separate section for children’s books. Nonfiction in the office, arranged at random. I know, the shoemaker’s children have no shoes. I’ll get to it eventually.

    I think the categories you came up with sound about right for your collection. I heartily endorse Adam’s point that you need to leave space for expansion, or be prepared to weed your collection.

    If you want to get fancy, you can use to catalog your books. Then you could actually use LOC or Dewey for your nonfiction.

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