Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Girls Don’t Cry: How About My Bookshelves?

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Book Girls Don’t Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don’t miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:

Bookshelf Tour – AKA: A Call For Help!

Ok first I have to warn you this will be scary. You may leave this blog today feeling jittery, and twitching at the horror these images will bring. You have been warned.
Signed – Messy Shelfer

Voila, my shelves! *cringes*


How do I organize my books? Sometimes people ask me that. Well, I don’t O_O But, look! They’re still alive back there! It’s like book prison! Oh my god am I torturing my books? *sobs*


They did used to be all alphabetized – yep, every single one of them. And then blogging happened. At first I was only packing up these 3 shelves and I even had a system:

IMG_0582The top shelf was “read”, the middle was my “to-read ARCs”, the bottom was my “to-read me-books”, then it got out of hand and I had no more room, so I started packing on a new shelf, then another, and another, until it looks like the picture on top (notice how there are books ON THE FLOOR)! What’s worse is I give out books to family (and the crap ones to Jenni) ALL the time! I should open a library!

And then you’ll spot corners with swag and bookmarks and other bookish things that can fit in between the mess to make more mess:


Now I do have a bookshelf in the living room, too, which is kept clean and tidy. (Yes there is a lot of Nicholas Sparks; I had a phase, it passed.)


So this is how I don’t organize my books! 😀 I hope you didn’t cringe too much during his bookshelf tour! (Hey at least I take care of my spines!)

Do you organize your shelves a certain way or are you like me
(throw em wherever there’s room)?

We’re looking for topic suggestions for future BGDC posts! What would YOU like to discuss (can be anything from vents to advice)?
Leave a suggestion via this short form!
You know you love me!
XOXO, Book Girl

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

53 Responses to “Book Girls Don’t Cry: How About My Bookshelves?”

  1. Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic

    Hahah, love it. I always enjoy looking at other people’s shelves. I was like this, with books everywhere, and inside boxes and on the floor, before we bought our new (and 4th) bookcase. Now all my books have a place, but I wonder how long that will last. We’re building a house though, and it will have a dedicated library, so that will go a long way.

    I did a post on my bookshelves recently, you can see it here!

  2. Jennifer | Book Den

    Aw, I love your unorganized shelves. I’ve been donating books like mad lately because I just don’t have the room for all the books. Even now, though, looking at your close up photos is giving me grabby hands!!

  3. Alice

    Oh wow it’s a crazytown in there! But what’s important is that it works for you haha. I can imagine that it would have been possible to keep a system BEFORE blogging, but after blogging, it just became too difficult.

    LOVE your bookshelves though! Despite their craziness haha. <3

  4. P.E.

    I love it! Haha, I used to have all my books piled up near the wall beside my bed room and within my drawers (who needs clothes?) but then my mom finally bought a bookshelf which I keep very organized alphabetically. I love the chaos you have going on- one of the only times ever I feel like it would be fun to clean/organize. :p

  5. Ariella

    Your bookshelf is so messy! O___O I kinda feel sorry for the books but they have other book friends so they won’t be lonely? Yeah, I’m weird like that lol 😛 CLEANING YOUR BOOKSHELF MUST BE A KIND OF FUN ACTIVITY, NO? 😀

  6. Kris

    Your shelves are awesome. I do the whole stacking books on top-of-each-other and in-front-and-behind-each-other thing too. Actually, I had so many books that they were leaking into the study room shelves too, so my mom made me clean out the shelves, which meant packing a lot of my books into boxes. I give away books to friends all the time, but they just keep on coming, lol.

  7. Kelly

    You’re a lot like me!! Before I bought my new bookshelf, I had books piled in mine all over the place and stacked up all over the floor and even under my bed! I finally got a new bookshelf and organized all of my books according to series and then stuck all of the standalones where the would fit. They look pretty right now, but a few more books and I’ll be double stacking and just placing them wherever I can. Also, I was at a 50% off sale a week or so ago and a man bought so many books that he said “Now I’ll have to go home and build another bookshelf” as he was walking out the door. Oh, the life of a reader! haha

  8. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter)

    Love this post, Giselle! I do try to organize my books … somewhat. They used to be in alphabetical order, and then I organized them by genre (Canadian, poetry, fiction, ya, etc.), and then they were back in alphabetical order … then I moved my library from a room to the loft and they weren’t quite in alphabetical order anymore. Just recently I made a bookcase and a half for read books, one has non-fiction, one and a half has my tbr books, I have a shelf for signed books, and a small bookcase for books that were gifted. But I’m sure this ALL will change soon. I like organizing them. 🙂

  9. Savy

    My shelves are looking okay but slowly packing up a mess. I do my best to try to keep it clean. Right now they are color coordinated. 🙂

  10. Angelica @ Paperback Princess

    Don’t worry Giselle, for the amount of books you’ve got there, it’s actually not that bad LOL

    I organise mine in size and Authors. Nothing fancy, but with all the extra books I’m purchasing recently I’m starting to do the horizontal stacking as you’ve been doing LOL.

  11. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    OMG that is epic!! My post is going to be even funnier I think. Me and all my bins. I have to hide them away because hubs thinks that books are a waste of space. His thing is, read them and then get rid of them. *gasp* I have some stacked on my computer desk, but ones that I have already read, sadly go to the bins. I think I have convinced him to let me make a library out of one of the spare rooms upstairs though.

    • Giselle

      When I did this post I told myself it can’t be as bad as Amy and he boxes or bins – I remember you telling how you stored your booked away haha. I can’t wait to see the video!

      When we get our house built next year I’m going to have a room with just bookshelves I’ll organize then >.<

  12. Siiri

    I re-orgainze a lot so I have different systems depending on my mood lol. Yours is truly like a library without a keeper haha. I love the fact that you didn’t like.. re-organize it for taking the picture and left it the way it is naturally:) And it’s not so bad. I’ve seen worse. As long as you’re happy–that’s all that matters 😀 Heh. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I can totally relate to you on this one. I have a nicely organized book case in the living room but the ones in my room are a wreck. I have books in jail and the receipts and things shoved in the mix. Yours look just like mine—except you have a lot more books than me! even before blogging my book shelf was a mess. Now I just have books piled up on end tables and the kitchen counter–have to have easy access.

    My Friends Are Fiction

  14. Bonnie

    hahaha Your shelves look exactly like mine. BEFORE blogging mine used to be organized too but after a point you just lose free space and they go where there’s room. It happens. I envy those people that can have like 9 bookcases and still maintain organization. Oh well. 🙂

  15. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I want a library soooo bad. But then I wouldn’t let people take books because I’d be scared they won’t bring them back. And I’d be scared of them messing up my books too. So basically I would have the suckiest library ever, but it would be pretty!
    My shelves used to look like yours, I just upgraded to 4 6-shelf bookcases and now they look nice. Even though I prefer reading ebooks, I still love print books 🙂

  16. Alexia

    I have to share a bookshelf with my mother and pre-teen brother so out of a five shelf bookcase I only have two shelves (2 are my mother’s & one is for pictures) I alphabetized them last week because it was driving me bananas. Unfortunately after acquiring a butt-load of books last week I’m worried they won’t all fit into my 2 shelves. Maybe I’ll steal a third shelf.

  17. miki

    i organise mine per genre and language ( french one/ english one) then paranormal romance, urban fantasy, fantasy etc and then by series

  18. Angie

    That is scary haha. Usually I organize alphabetically by authors last name. I’ve tried organizing by size or by series or by genre but I’m just too obsessive for any of those too work.

  19. Candace

    I love looking at others shelves, even if they are messy! I am constantly reorganizing my books but if my shelves where THAT packed, I’d find some more shelves. I keep adding to my collection of bookshelves and recently cleared off an entertainment center in my bedroom and loaded it with books so my books are no longer triple stacked. I also have built in shelves in my living room but they are way high so it’s a pain to use them, but I needed them and now they are full. Well, not true. I have one I can still use.
    I keep all my swag in little flower pots on a bookshelf. So it’s like decoration but convenient to grab for my giveaway’s, when I go out (I pass it out at the library and bookstores), etc.

  20. Kristin@Blood,Sweat and Books

    My books (minus current reads) are in boxes at the moment. Once we build a house I’ll organize them into a library nook that I plan on adding to the living room. For now though they are neatly sorted into stacks inside water proof bags (I’ve lost my collection to flood before) and then in boxes.

  21. Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

    On the floor?! Oh lord, that gives me the shakes. I have purchased books from our used book store just because they were doing that. Sad, I know. Now I’m trying to find some system that will allow me to show off the covers of the signed books I have. It’s just not working and the family is starting to shut me down on the space I use. So not cool.

  22. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    You have so many books! My bookshelf isn’t even full yet, and that’s even with a few random shelves taken up to throw random stuff on! I have all of my books alphabetized by author, but I see how that could be really problematic and difficult if you got so many books and kept having to rearrange the shelves to fit everything! I’m not really picky about where I put my books, as long as it’s somewhere that isn’t too disgusting/dirty, but I have definitely dumped some of my books on the floor >.<

    Fantastic post, Giselle!

  23. Jennifer @ Some Like It Paranormal

    My bookshelf is a disaster too! LOL I also used to have a read shelf and a to-read shelf but since I have a teeny tiny bookshelf now everything is shoved in where it fits and the shelves are packed 3 books deep. I also try to giveaway anything I don’t plan to read again. I mostly buy books on my kindle because I just don’t have the room and when I move it is such a pain to move them.

  24. ShootingStarsMag

    hah Nice! your shelves look like mine. They weren’t so bad until I started blogging as well. Now I have a lot of arcs and review books, but I also tend to buy more books these days too. I don’t have a whole lot of order. I cleaned it up a bit this past weekend, but I need to go through it again soon.

  25. Charlotte

    Can I steal those books? There’s so many of them that I think I’m gonna drown. I don’t have shelves but I store my books in boxes and drawers.

  26. Angie

    This was super fun to look at.. yea it’s a crazy mess. Sometimes though a crazy mess is just fun. I would love to just explore that book shelf right now!!


  27. Ellie (@Bookshop_Girl)

    Yaaay, book porn! See, I don’t look at those shelves and see “OH MY GOD THE HORROR!” I look at them and think “OH MY GOD I WANT TO PLAY IN THERE FOREVER.”

    I chop and change with my own bookshelves. Sometimes they’re neatly arranged by category or author. Sometimes I start with good intentions but rapidly devolve into having piles everywhere and having to sift through books to find what I want. But here’s the thing… I actually find that I’m sometimes MORE inspired by my shelves if they’re a mess. I don’t need to worry so much about where things ‘should’ be, and I usually have a pretty good idea of where each book is so I can find it again. By mixing everything up, I’m more likely to read a variety of stuff instead of keep heading back to the same sections or the easiest reads. Other things catch my eye, I can peruse one shelf and find a whole range of books to choose from, and I like that. Same reason I like charity shop bookshelves and jumble sales and car boot sales I guess – there’s a whole mix of stuff on there, you never know what you’re going to find!

  28. Megan (Ink Skies)

    Okay, so my shelves are NOTHING compared to yours. I feel a bit disappointed, lol. I like that your books are all over the place and disorganized, if you’d believe it. I feel it adds a bit more personal touch, hah. Not too sure your family agrees. 😉

  29. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows

    Sigh,it’s kinda sad that these overflowing bookshelves are more exciting to me than anything. I have a problem O.O Although, the ones hidden in the back of the shelves grasping for air kind of make me twitch. I had to do it myself after BEA but it made me cringe every time I passed by so I had to move some stuff around to sort of fix it >.< Anyways I still want to run around in your shelves! AND I love seeing other book lover's book shelves so I just loved this post ♥

  30. Anya

    I’m most impressed by the horizontal instead of vertical placement…. Do you just not take books from the bottom of the stacks? Or is there a lot of lifting and moving, haha? My books are rather disorganized these days as well, but I have to keep them vertical on the shelves so that I can pick any out at random. Though maybe if I stacked them horizontally it would keep me from cheating and taking from lower priority positions >.>

    • Giselle

      You can stack twice as many horizontally. 🙂 If they were all vertical this mess would be quadrupled with 100s on the floor O_O

  31. Aman

    OMG! SO.MANY.BOOKS! It’s not messy at all! You just need more bookshelves 🙂 I do organize them by hardcover on one shelf and paperbacks in the other order, but I’m totally slacking this summer.

  32. Kat (AussieZombie)

    OK I’m coming to your house asap to organise you. I have to have everything in alpha order otherwise I go crazy – I was adding new books yesterday and realised I’d made a mistake so I started from scratch. Three hours later I was sweaty, sore and tired but felt like I could actually sleep LOL.

    But seriously, whatever works for you – they are your books, you can spread them out all over the floor if you wanna!

  33. Molli

    Bahahaha Giselle! Your shelves are….a little bit messier than mine (and I mean a LOT by “a little bit.”) It’s hard though, when you just keep getting books, and you have a limited amount of space. I have one huge bookshelf and I keep trying to find books to donate (ones I’ve read and liked but didn’t LOVE.) But it’s so hard to part with any of them, especially if they have a beautiful cover/etc. SIGH.

    We just need a room full of bookshelves.

    And I’d like a bookshelf ladder. Yes, I think I would. 😀

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  34. Merin @ Read and Reviewed

    This makes me feel a lot better about myself, actually. My shelves look a lot like yours, and I have TWO piles on the floor, with a lot of other books randomly stacked about in various other places. There is no organization to it, either. I get a book, it goes on one of the two piles (it used to be one really tall pile, until it fell over, and I made it into two). I do keep the library books out in the living room, though, since that’s where I do a lot of my reading. 🙂

  35. Wendy

    Love all the pretty books on the shelves though!! =) I live in an apt currently, so I have to keep all my books in my room since I don’t think my roomie wants my books taking over the living room. But. They end up taking over my room. I only have one small-ish bookcase that’s full so I resort to stacking my books in piles. It’s the neatest I can get it to look because I don’t have any room for another bookcase. =\

  36. Alexa Y.

    My bookshelves in the apartment currently look like this since I’m moving out! But I totally understand how overwhelming it can get as we keep accumulating books. Majority of my books are in my childhood library at home in the Philippines, but they’re very organized (because my mom cannot stand any clutter)! I did a post about my NY shelves, but I might have to tackle the ones at home next. Thanks for sharing!

    • Giselle

      I don’t! When it’s time to find a certain ARC I stand in front staring at the shelves for approximately 10 minutes. Then I yell at my husband for stealing my book, and then he finds it for me.