Book Chat

Oops, I Organized Again

I LOVE my new bookshelves.  In our first little apartment, I had no space for books, just one cheaply made squat bookcase from dear old Wal-Mart.  I had room to display some of my favorite children’s books, but mostly stocked it with chapter books that I had collected but not yet read.  (For more overanalyzing about the purpose and psychological ramifications of stocking a limited bookshelf, look here.)

My other books–old favorites, children’s books that I used for school, resource books, books that I might re-read in the future–were crammed in a myriad of strange locations.  A narrow cabinet (now a kitchen pantry!), plastic drawers, piled on the floor, basically stuffed everywhere conceivable.  Some never made it out of boxes from my college apartment or my parent’s attic.

Like I said, I LOVE my new bookshelves.  Two tall “Billy”s from Ikea that flank the dresser in our bedroom.

And for once, all my books fit in one place!  Now when I go to sleep and when I wake up, I have book spines to ogle and reflect on fondly.  It’s a serious comfort for me to be surrounded by my books.

I had to put everything together really quickly–I was in a hurry to get ri of all those boxes of books (7 in all!) from the move that were taking up valuable storage space in the hall closet.  Now I can’t even remember why it was such a rush, but I guess every step of unpacking for this move has been chaotic–it seemed I was always trying to get ready for a new guest or a new piece of furniture, and needed to empty boxes as quickly as possible.  So as I was unloading books onto the bookshelves, I shelved them as I unboxed them, not giving a lot of thought to how or where I was placing the books.

And it drove me crazy.  After surgery, I lay in bed lamenting that I couldn’t lift anything heavy and probably wouldn’t be able to re-organize the bookshelves any time soon.  Why had I been so careless?  It was actually stressing me out, this un-organization of my bookshelves.  Sorry, but that’s who I am.

But then… I started actually looking at the books on each shelf, and realized that I had unconsciously grouped books in pretty clear categories.  Oops… I organized again without realizing it!

Since I have a lot of time on my hands, I made a table in Word to represent the type of books on each shelf.  It was pretty.  Then I copy & pasted it on WordPress because that’s about the limitation of my blogging skills, and it looks all wonky now.  Oh well.  Here’s a rough look at my two bookcases, each box representing a shelf (accompanied by some equally rough iPhone visuals):

L.M. Montgomery:
Anne of Green Gables series, Collected short stories, audio books

Photo Albums

Crafting books

Lightweight Paperback books

Lightweight Paperback
chapter books

Children’s Hardback books

Hardback Nonfiction books

Hardback Fiction books

Heavy Hardback books

Jane Austen, Classics

Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling books

Hardback Series, Classics

Case #1, top 3 shelves: L.M. Montgomery, Crafts, Lightweight Paperbacks
Case #1, bottom 3 shelves: Hardback Nonfiction, Heavy Hardbacks, J.K. Rowling
Case #2, top 3 shelves: Photo Albums, Lightweight Paperbacks, Children's Hardbacks
Case #2, bottom 3 shelves: Hardback Fiction, Jane Austen, Classic Series

So, I grouped series of books together (mostly juvenile literature: Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women trilogy, Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, etc.) and heavy books at the bottom, with random chapter books in their own boxes.  But everything turned out somehow cohesive.  I suppose my organizational neuroses are just too hard to suppress, even when I’m not aware of it.

So I guess I can rest easy for now, until I decide that alphabetical order would be better… or by spine color?  Or height?  Or Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir, etc.?  The Dewey Decimal system?  The organizational possibilities are endless, but for now I am satisfied.


4 thoughts on “Oops, I Organized Again

    1. My parents moved into a smaller house right after I got married (the moving truck was literally leaving the day after we got back from our honeymoon) so I had to store everything I wanted to keep from my childhood–it was so hard! I try to stay uncluttered and organized, but I have such a soft spot for books that I couldn’t give up a lot of my old children’s books and favorites from high school. Other than my paperbacks that I still haven’t read, I think I’ve finally whittled my collection down to my absolute essentials.


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