Since graduate school is at an end, I finally had a (rare) free afternoon to sit and stare at the piles and piles of books that I couldn’t fit on my bookshelves in the last few months. Not only did I need to do another rearrangement, but I hadn’t checked my inventory in several months and I didn’t know how many books I hadn’t read yet.
I went to the Container Store (side note: that place is HEAVEN) and bought a jar for all of my TBRs. Many readers have done this before, but I’d always relied on my Goodreads to-read list. Now that my bookshelves are out of control, having a jar to help choose a book at random would make things more efficient and convenient. I pulled all of my colorful notepads, cut them into strips, and prepared to pen all the titles and authors.
My personal library inventory is all on an Excel spreadsheet, alphabetical by author and categorized by genre and readership (children’s, YA, adult). It helps me keep track of everything I own (books on display and books still in boxes under my bed or in the closet), and I put numbers next to them for the number of copies or editions (very important for my collections). Highlighted books are TBRs, and books in red I’d planned on selling. I penned all the highlighted books, folded the strips, and put them into the jar. I then went back through my spreadsheet, deleted rows of books I no longer own, added in books I’ve purchased and read, and books I’ve purchased and haven’t read (and then penned those for the jar, too).
I’m absolutely astounded to say that, according to the spreadsheet (that does not include nonfiction titles like Chicago Manual of Style, home organization books, publishing/editing books, etc) I own 418 books. I’m scared to see the number if I add in the nonfiction titles…
After the initial shock, I tackled the bookshelves and rearranged them, forcing books to fit wherever they could. Stacks and stacks on several shelves, very few actually standing the way a book should. I’d buy another bookshelf, but I live in a 190-square-foot studio, so you can imagine the available space.
For the time being, my bookshelves are arranged alphabetical by author, unless they’re part of a collection. My collections (Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Harry Potter, Daughter of Smoke and Bone) belong on my desk shelves.
How do you arrange your shelves? Do you hoard books? Have you created a TBR jar?
13 thoughts on “Plowing Through the Piles”
I rely on my Goodreads list and any books I need to read (ARCs and for book clubs). My bookshelf isn’t arranged very well at all and most of it is full of office supplies and reference books. It’s overflowing onto the floor just a little bit. My book buying has gotten bad. I bought three over the weekend. My general arrangement is three sections: Books I need to read, autographed books, and everything else. It works for me.
Oooo, autographed books! Nice arrangement.
I was doing so well with my resolution (buy 1 book for every 5 books read), but then my birthday came around and I received several gift cards. Then it went out of control again. It’s hard!
I make my rule that I’ll only buy books already on my TBR list AND never at full price. I utilize a lot of library sales so it feels really rewarding when I find one.
Wow! I’m very impressed by your organization. My traditional paper books are all over the place at my house (some, sadly, have remained in boxes since my last move). Most of the books I read now are e-books. I can’t survive without a “search” function.
I was talking to a friend about how we decide to buy ebooks over print books. What’s your method? Are you a mostly-ereader user now?
Yeah, I carry my e-reader (a Kindle) everywhere. It’s so convenient. I love being able to highlight and write notes in the “margin” without actually ruining the book. There are times when I miss the feel of paper between my fingers, but not as much as I thought I would.
I also just recently updated my TBR Jar! I have so many books to get through and can’t wait for the summer to find some time to make it through some of that list. I have so many books and they are all over my apartment. I haven’t invested in a bookshelf because I am in between living arrangements, but I can’t wait to be able to organize all my books on a nice pretty shelf!
Good luck with your upcoming move! Your future bookshelves sounds like they’ll be full and wonderful 🙂
I haven’t actually used my TBR jar yet! (Or mugs, I should say…). It looks like your TBR pile is under control! I’ve now separated my bookselves into hardbacks, fiction, YA, children’s and unread review copies, just so I know where they are.
I hope to one day (1) have a place large enough to hold more bookcases, so that (2) I can organize my shelves that way!
Amy Peveto (@AmyPeveto)
I’ve seen the idea of a book jar several times now; must be a sign I should try it out.
It’s so fun to see all the ways people keep track of their books! I use a program called Bookpedia, but something about a spreadsheet warms the cockles of my heart. It’s almost as fun to do that stuff as read!
Also, I’m passing on to you the Liebster Award. Here’s the details. Thanks for being a great blogger!