The lovely Kate tagged me in an Instagram post this morning. She asked me to join the tag and share a photo of my blue books.
While I was stacking the blue-spined books within reach for a quick snap, I realised that though I’ve had the conversation many times before, I’ve never actually talked on the blog about how I organise my books.
Quite a few people I know do shelve their own collections by spine colour. Eli does this beautifully and it’s a wonderful background for our Skype catch-ups! (My background is usually the corridor through to my fairly messy bedroom, so not quite so lovely for her…!)
I used to work in a library, and have always been obsessed with my shelves of books. For years as a child, I ran a mini-library of my own at home. Carefully date stamping on a sticky note in the front of books when people borrowed them. And quite often when they didn’t. I just loved the whole idea of libraries, and stacks of books, from an absurdly young age.
But I’m also fundamentally wired to go for the easy option in most situations. So there was no way I was going to shelve my own books by the Dewey decimal system. I did, however, want a way to be able to lay my hands on exactly the book I wanted. Or be able to direct someone else to find the book in my collection they wanted to look at without having to delve through the murky recesses of my memory.
Starting from scratch
Moving house in 2013 was the perfect excuse to start again. I split my bookshelves between my living room, my bedroom and my studio. It was a wonderful time carefully putting each book in its perfect place. Yes, all the while surrounded by random clutter and boxes. And there are still things I need to deal with two years later. But I digress.
So now I have two bookcases downstairs full of fiction, and one with my ‘coffee table’ books – which I don’t dare leave on an actual coffee table while my cats are up and about. The jewel in the coffee table crown is a signed copy of Room at the Top, a souvenir of my newspaper days and a book I would have done very nearly anything to get my hands on.
Then I have my ‘special’ books at the top of that same bookcase. The signed copies, the first editions, the particularly sentimental ones, and all my Winnie the Pooh books.
Upstairs, the shelves in my bedroom are mainly for cat-snoozing activities. But I do have a selection of fiction books there and it means they don’t get shoved on the floor, which is nice.
In my studio, I have them arranged by subject – photography, self-development, dance, crafting, upcycling, business, productivity. They all have their own (small, but probably abnormally large for a home library) sections.
My dream is to have a studio outside and to turn this room into a library with a big squishy sofabed in the corner. A haven for curling up with a big cup of tea to re-read one of my favourite books on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
How do you organise your books?