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Alright book lovers, it’s time to face the harsh truth: sometimes, it is possible to own ‘too many’ books.

We’re speaking strictly from a practical standpoint, of course. Nobody is here to judge your multiple autographed copies of A Song of Ice and Fire, or your unfinished paperback of Casino Royale you bought forever ago when the movie came out because you had no idea the James Bond movies were based on books.

What we are here to do, though, is help you find a way to organize them that suits your needs! Everyone has different styles of book collections, and as a result everyone has different ways to organize and store them. Instead of trying to suggest a one-size-fits all approach, let’s take a look at a few different book-hoarding scenarios and find an organizational style that works best for you!

 

Do you like a neat, orderly shelf?

Show of hands: who here was the kid with the neatest desk in the room? You’re probably the sort that needs a good, well-organized book collection, either alphabetically or by series (or both if you’ve got a lot of Dune novels to handle). Alphabetizing is a good way to start but it comes with some pros and cons—you have to decide exactly how everything is sorted (Title? Author, like at the library? Publisher? Don’t laugh, we’ve seen people do that) and you have to decide where to keep it. So long as you have enough spare bookshelves to keep everything on and know how the alphabet works, this could be a good way to go, but we don’t recommend it for smaller collections.

 

Do you want to show off?

Books, commemorative plates, Japanese Star Wars toys…whatever it is people collect, and whatever reason they give for collecting it, at least part of the reason is so they can show it off. If your aim is to inspire book envy in your fellow bibliophiles, a more ‘open’ and showy shelving option might be best. Take a few of your favorites—that autographed hardcover of Deathly Hollows, ancient Sherlock Holmes collection you got from your grandpa, or Tom Clancy novel you bought at the airport out of desperation that you wound up kind of liking—and put them up on some wall shelves to show off to everyone when they visit. This is a great way to help separate the “collector’s items” from the stuff you have yet to read, and will give them a nice space out in the open to be proudly admired.

 

Do you need to separate the stuff you’ve read from the stuff you haven’t?

When trying to organize a book collection, a lot of people tend to focus on looks or accessibility ahead of practicality, but your book organization can actually come in handy in many cases. When trying to reorganize any stack of books, take some time to sort out the next ones in the rotation from the well-worn favorites you’ve tackled a million times. This will give you a good visual indicator of what you want to read next, and help you sort and prioritize everything. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll stop you from buying more books before you’re done with the stuff you’re reading already.

 

Ah, who are we kidding? We understand.

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