How to Arrange Your Bookshelf, 5 Effective Ways

Avatar of Amel
Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Arranging your bookshelf tends to be a very daunting task, especially if you are a bookworm and you have a very large number of books.

You can arrange your books on your bookshelf in many ways. For example, you can arrange them according to their genre, colour, height, author, alphabetical order, or depending on the volume of these books (i.e. the number of pages), or you could just arrange your books depending on their language if you are a polyglot.

We have arranged these methods in a very simple way so that you can choose which one works best for you. So first, we’re going to talk about how to arrange your books according to their genre, and then we’re going to talk about how to arrange by colour and then by height/ size and then by alphabetical order. And last but not least, we’re going to talk about how to arrange them by read and unread method.

We’re also going to discuss the pros and cons of each method so that you can choose which one works best for you.

Finally, at the end of this article, you will find a summary of all these methods in the form of a table to quickly scan each method.

But before we get started, we need to do some basic decluttering first that applies to any method and should be done first.

  • First of all, you should get rid of all the books you have already read or don’t want anymore. You can do so by giving them away to some friend or a local library.
  • Then, you can take all the remaining books down and start cleaning your bookshelf to prepare for their arranging.
  • Before putting them back, you should choose how you want to arrange them first. For that purpose, we have written this article to help you choose which way best fits your style.

1. Arranging Your Bookshelf by Genre

Organizing your bookshelf by genre is one of the most effective ways to arrange your books. This method boils down to two main categories. These are nonfiction and fiction books.

The nonfiction section corresponds to scientific books, which you can further classify into many branches like history, geography, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, technology, humanities, social sciences and so on.

Fiction books could also be subdivided into fantasy, mystery, action, horror, thriller, and romance.

The benefits of this method:

  • Gives you easy access to multiple genres at the same time, so whatever you want to read more on a specific subject, you could just go to the section where these books are located and pick up one to read.

The drawbacks of this method:

  • Because your books are arranged only according to the genre, this means they have different physical characters like different colours, heights, and volumes, which makes your books in each section look somehow messy.

2. Arranging Your Bookshelf by Colour

This is a very simple way to arrange your books by their colour so you can just see many books sharing the same colour and then put them in a single section. For example, green books could be added all together in one section, red ones go into another section and so on.

The benefits of this method:

  • It looks extremely eye-pleasing to see books arranged according to their colours: green ones together, red ones together, yellow ones together and so on. It seems to be highly organised and neat.

The drawbacks of this method:

  • Since you are arranging your books based only on their colour, they might differ vastly. So, you might have books with different volumes and genres stacked together in the same section. This might not look really organised for some people; however, other people like the idea of arranging their books by colour. So, if you’re up with this method, go ahead and do it.

3. Arranging Your Bookshelf by Height/ Size

This is one of the most organised ways to arrange your bookshelf. In this way, you just arrange your books by their size or height, so the tallest books go first, and then you put shorter ones gradually. You can also create your own pattern of size arrangement. For example, you can start each section with tall books, then put short ones in the middle and then put some tall ones again on the other Edge.

The benefits of this method:

  • The most well-organized way to display your books on your bookshelf.

The drawbacks of this method:

  • Not so helpful for you in the long run since you are just arranging books by their size, no matter their genre. This makes it difficult for many people to find what they want.

4. Arranging Your Bookshelf in Alphabetical Order

 As its name implies, this method organizes books by their titles or the author’s last name in alphabetical order. This is a very practical way to organize books, that is why libraries and bookshops often use it. To kill two birds with one stone, you can arrange books in alphabetical order after categorizing them into groups based on their genre.

The benefits of this method:

  • Very straightforward and allows you to quickly access the book you want to read.

The drawbacks of this method:

  • Books of different genres would be put together.
  • It might not look so organized as here we don’t care for the size of the books or their colours.

5. Arranging Your Bookshelf by Read and Unread

This method is for those of you who don’t like to get rid of any of your old books. This method might be helpful for you. You just arrange your books by red and unread, so the books you’ve already read go into one section, and those you haven’t read yet go into another section. The books you haven’t read could also be further divided into subsections depending on their genre, size, or colour.

The benefits of this method:

  • It works best for those who like to keep their old books and are unwilling to get rid of them.

The drawbacks of this method:

  • The discrepancy between the number of read and unread books makes it difficult to put all the unread books in one section. So you have to find an additional way to further arrange the unread books by another method: by colour, size, genre, etc.


We’ve given you many ways in which you can arrange your bookshelf. Now, it’s time you pick up one method and start arranging your bookshelf accordingly.

If you’re still confused, we’ve arranged all the information mentioned above in a very simple table so that you can see the bigger picture of all the methods collectively. By the end of this article, we hope that the process of arranging your bookshelf becomes easier for you. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of sheer personal preference, so do whatever you want so long as you like it.

Finally, don’t forget to leave empty space on your bookshelf or decorate it with a family photo or a souvenir from an old friend. This makes your bookshelf look more beautiful in spite of cramming books together without an empty space for them to breathe.

How to Arrange Your Bookshelf, 5 Effective Ways
MethodGenreColourHeight/ SizeAlphabetical orderRead and unread
How to do soBooks are arranged based on their subject. You can generally divide your books into two main categories:
1. Nonfiction books.
2. Fiction books.
You just arrange your books by their colours as you like. You can do so by:
1. Putting books of the same colour together.
2. Create a colour pattern you like, such as a rainbow spectrum.
You just arrange books by their height; the taller ones come first, followed by shorter ones gradually.You arrange your books in alphabetical order. You’re free to choose whether to arrange them alphabetically by their titles or by the name of the author.
As its name implies, you just arrange your books into two sections; read and unread.
Pros1. Makes it easier for you to navigate your books by subject.
2. Facilitates the process of picking up a new book to read based on your preferences.
1. Aesthetically pleasing.1. The Best way to organize your books if you have OCD; the books look so neat and tidy.1. Allows easy access to many books once you know their titles. 1. The best way to organize your books if you have compulsive accumulation disorder.
Cons1. Books of different sizes and colours are packed together, which might not look so organized.1. Not so practical when it comes to reading and picking up new books to read.1. Like the colour method, it is also not practical for reading.1. If you don’t organize books by genre first, it will look like a haphazard arrangement since all genres would be stacked together.1. Keeping old books that you have already read will take up lots of space on your bookshelf and might not be the best option for you if you have a small bookshelf.
5 ways to organize your bookshelf

In case you are not convinced by any of the previously mentioned methods to arrange your bookshelf, the following video gives you more interesting ways to do so.

7 ways to organize your bookshelf

Enjoyed this article?

Then, check out 9 Must-Read Mystery Books for Kids and other similar topics on our website.

Why not subscribe to our LearningMole Library for as little as £1.99 per month to access over 1500 fun educational videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *