Lit Life

11 Tips on Spring Cleaning Your Bookshelves

You know the struggle: books in the living room, books in the kitchen, books on the bedside table, books by the fireplace–books everywhere, but never where they should be. This is what happens after months of winter weather and devouring books as the snow falls. However, now it’s spring, and you need your home back from the invasion of books. Today, I want to give some advice on how to spring clean your bookshelves to give you and your books a new home.

When we first moved into our house three years ago, I knew one of the first orders of business was creating my sanctuary. My husband is a loud man who loves loud things: sports, video games, movies. I like quiet things: reading, writing, crafting. Growing up as an only child, I always had my own space where I could create, so I knew that I needed to have a space just for me now that we had the room.

My office has evolved over the years, but it is my own space that contains all of my crafting supplies: a large, black writing table; my school books; teaching supplies; a small reading nook by a window that overlooks my backyard. Most importantly, it is home to my books.


After this year’s winter slump, with stacks of books all over the house and office, I knew I had to take the plunge and reorganize my shelves. Here are some things that I learned that might help you reorganize your own bookshelves this spring.

  1. Try pushing in your books. I had mine all flush to the front (like at a library) before I reorganized them. Now that I pushed them back, I can display all my little nerdy trinkets and treasures in front.
  2. Try stacking them in different directions. This is honestly how I fit all of my new books onto these same shelves. By reorganizing them–piling some and leaving others upright–I was able to showcase more books and create more visual interest, as well as make more room on my shelves.
  3. Try organizing by color. I fell in love with this method of organization when I was in my teens (before the dawn of Instagram or Pinterest existed). I love the idea of creating a visual tapestry with your books. And to the question on how do I find them? I just do. At this point I’ve pretty much memorized what color my books are.
  4. Try making themed feature displays. I have some tall, thinner bookshelves on the sides that I like to fill with my favorite or most coveted books. Right now I have a shelf for John Green, Gatsby, Orwell (including my first American edition of 1984), Harry Potter, and my writing books.
  5. Don’t be afraid to spruce up or add to your shelves on the cheap. Although it would be awesome to have a bunch of hand-carved, built-in bookshelves (anyone willing to make them for me?), I found that these cheap Walmart bookshelves work just fine. By utilizing the space well, I am still able to have beautiful shelves on a budget.
  6. Include mementos. Although this is a place to put your books, don’t forget to add in things that have meaning to you. Include photos, plants, family heirlooms, or just things you think are beautiful.  I have a whole shelf that I’ve dedicated to the coasters from my Booze and Book Club (we make coasters for each book we read).
  7. Try different levels of bookshelves to create visual interest and display spaces. I really like having shorter shelves with taller shelves. It adds a lot of variety to the overall look and allows me to create ever-changing displays.20160513_205509
  8. Try letting some of your books breathe. This is probably one of the hardest for me, because I feel like I have way too many books to be able to do this. However, I gathered all my Edgar Allan Poe paraphernalia and my older, antique books to create a feature display. This is especially important if your bookshelves are in a common area. Arranging books among colored glassware, plants, candles, or art prints are all options for giving your books some space.
  9. Try showcasing some of your favorite reads of the moment. One of the big things that I did for the first time some of my favorite reads in the forefront on my shelves. You can see my signed copy of Ohio Poet Laureate Amit Majmuda’s Dothead is front and center on my blue shelf.
  10. Try organizing books by size. Sometimes this is a must if you don’t want to move your shelves around. However, you can have a lot of fun creating different levels and landscapes (bookscapes?) using the size of the books as your inspiration. (Notice the bomb-diggity signed photo of living goddess, Ani DiFranco.)
  11. Try organizing books alphabetically. Using this old standby, you could create a library-worthy system where you will be able to find your favorite book every time!

What are your ideas on re-organizing your shelves this spring?

Lit & Love,

Amy Signature

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6 thoughts on “11 Tips on Spring Cleaning Your Bookshelves

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