Bookshelf Re-organization

Back in September, I did a guest post for Bluebonnet Reads on how I organize my books and my bookshelf.  Since then, I’ve reorganized my system.  I tossed my 15-year-old second-hand bookshelves, purged old books, reorganized my layout, and added a few new items.  I absolutely LOVE the result.

First, if you haven’t read my previous post (linked above) it will give you some insight as to what books I purchase (as opposed to borrow from the library) and why.  You can also see how I organize my to-read list of titles (that system hasn’t changed as it still works very well for me).  The original post will show you what my bookshelf system was like, but we’ll start there for this post as well.

I’m slightly OCD when it comes to organizing my bookshelves.  I like to group all titles of one author together and similar types of titles together, such as non-fiction or young adult fiction but only in the case of when I don’t have more than one from an author (because otherwise they are grouped together by that author).  Surprisingly, nothing is alphabetized.  Each group gets placed on the shelf according to size and product type, such as hardcover versus paperback.  I don’t have many knick-knacks (the more one keeps, the more one must dust, plus I’m not a fan of knick-knacks in general) but the ones I do own mean something to me.  So they are incorporated into my bookshelf system, which may or may not determine what books are placed where and with what knick-knack item. 

I won’t go into any more specifics on that subject, but you can see what I mean from my photos:

I knew what bookshelves I wanted—thankfully my hubby agreed.  (We don’t always agree when it comes to styles of homes and/or furniture, so we got lucky here.)  We bought Ikea’s Billy bookshelves.  You can mix and match the pieces so that you have no doors, full doors that hide everything, half doors that hide only the bottom portion of the shelves, or full glass doors so that everything is visible.  You can also choose from a few styles and colors of wood.  Plus, although the Billys come with wood shelves, you can purchase glass shelves for a more open look and feel and even add lighting to your set up.  We may add a few glass shelves and/or lighting in the future, but right now, we have yet to do that.

So the first task on my list was to clear off my old bookshelves.  I just stacked books as I cleared.

I also made a pile of books to donate.

Once the shelves were completely empty, we removed the units and cleaned behind them.

It’s amazing how dusty and cobwebby a wall can get behind furniture.

You can see that we keep our bookshelves in our entryway, between the front door and the staircase.  This is a great space when you first walk in, but it is limited as to what can be put there.  There isn’t a lot of lighting and it’s not very cozy due to the floor title (which we may replace at some point), plus it’s small so we had to get a little creative as to how to use the space.  And since our living room and dining room is all one room, we don’t have any extra space anywhere else to keep the bookshelves.  So it was a perfect fit.

Since Ikea furniture it put-together, my husband was the handyman.  He did a great job putting these together, including creating shims to make everything stand even and bolting the three units together.

Once the bookshelves were in place, I added pieces and books where I thought they would look nice in their groupings.

I had to put the books in the middle of the shelves so that the doorframes didn’t block the picture frames.  I wasn’t sure I’d like that at first, but in the end, I think it looks great.

There is so much room in these bookshelves that I was able to add board games to the bottom shelves.  This was my goal to begin with, which is why I wanted the half doors.  I wanted to be able to store the board games here without them being seen.  I was able to do just that.

The games used to be housed in our closet under the stairs.  To get to one board game, we had to take out a ton of other things, so you can imagine how often we played them.  (A separate post on the reorganization of that closet is coming soon.)

The middle unit is a bit different from the other two.  I have a fake orchid that someone sent for my father’s funeral.  I have held on to it since then (six years ago) but could not display it because Winston liked to chew on it.  I needed a place where I could display it and protect it at the same time, hence the middle unit.

So you can see that there is only one shelf in this unit.  And since this unit is different from the other two on top, I figured it was a good idea to keep it different at the bottom too. 

So here, instead of board games, I have all of my CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes.  (Yes, I still own VHS tapes.  As long as they work and I have a VCR that works, I will hold on to them.  Eventually they will go.)  I was very surprised that I could fit everything in.  Granted, there is no more room for even one more item, but I don’t plan on buying any more CDs or DVDs, and of course, one is hard-pressed to find VHS tapes anymore.

Finally, the last unit is basically a repeat of the first: books, frames, and random other items on top, and board games on the bottom.

The bags will be explained in a future post, but the reason I bought the big striped one is to keep the three board games that are too wide to fit on the shelf.  The bag allows me to store them on their side without them falling open.

The smaller turquoise bag holds decks of cards.

The pink cosmetic bag holds markers, which are used by my nieces when they visit.

Here again, you can see that the bookshelves are kept in the entryway of the house.

So that’s my new bookshelf system.  As I said, in the future we may add glass shelves and put lights at the top of each unit, which would give a little more light to the area as well as highlight various objects within.  But for now, this works.  I am very pleased with the results.

*I am in no way affiliated with any of the brands or products mentioned above.


  1. Third Picture.. I can see 'Man in his perfect element' laying on the floor, box of bits by his side quietly assembling Ikea units, instructions discarded, not seeking any help... I can do this... !!!

    Love your new units though they really look the part and I love the colour. Now I'm off to show this to Alison to see if I can persuade her to part with a few books so she can reorganise our shelves!

    1. Lol, Steve. You are correct, no illustrated instructions were needed. There were a few bolts leftover, but the units are standing, so that's all that matters! Ooo, let me know how reorganization of your bookshelves work out.

  2. Looks beautiful! I'm afraid my own "library" doesn't look quite so pleasing to the eye, but still I LOVE MY BOOKS! The thought occurs to get a Kindle someday, and call me old and set in my ways maybe, but I'm just not sure it's going to feel right! ~tina

    1. Thank you! I love owning books, though I'm afraid my collection has gotten much smaller and hasn't been replenished. More often than not these days, I borrow books from the library. I do on occasion download an ebook or two from my library and/r iTunes, but I do prefer to hold an actual book. When traveling though, there is a definite benefit to eBooks.

  3. I love how these look, and they are so practical too. I totally get organising books by type and grouping them - as much as I love the idea of just having a whole wall of books, in practice it would just be totally overwhelming. The layout does need to be pleasing to the eye to make you want to look at it to choose a book to read :-)

    1. Thanks! Growing up, I knew someone who's entire living room was walled with floor to ceiling bookshelves, and they were all FULL! It looked amazing, but I don't know how one would find anything. It's possible that there was some system to it, but it sure didn't look that way to me.


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