Kernels of Nonsense, #25: Bookshelf Reorganizing

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is a bimonthly discussion feature posted the second and fourth Sunday of every month. Today is kind of a mini confession post regarding my lack of contentment with my bookshelves.

Some people eat when they’re stressed. Some people shop. Some people throw things. Me? I reorganize my bookshelves. But even if I’m not feeling weighed down by other people’s problems (and they all keep coming to me to listen to all their issues and I’m trying not to scream at them what they ought to do because I know they aren’t coming to me for advice but they know I’ll listen even though I could solve their problems in two minutes) — (sorry about that, just needed to vent a little), I do feel the need to pull out all my books, dust the shelves and rearrange them every once in a while.

I’ve never gone more than a few months without taking a look at my shelves and deciding it’s time for something different. I’ve done it all. I’ve alphabetized my shelves by author and by title. I’ve arranged them by series and standalones. I’ve even moved them around based on the ratings I’ve given them. I’ve also sorted them based on genre and I once attempted to make my bookshelves colorful by arranging them by the color of their spines (impossible since some spines are not one color). Currently they’re in a sort of random arrangement. None of it makes sense, but I know where everything is.

Before I purchased my third shelf, I had to stack my books both horizontally and vertically. I actually hate doing it this way because I think everything looks better vertically, but it was out of necessity because I was running out of room. It turns out that I’m running out of room again. I really want to avoid having to cram my books into the shelves. I see pictures of other people’s crammed shelves and they all look beautifully messy and mine end up looking just messy.

Reevaluating what I have on my shelves is a really good excuse I give myself whenever I feel the need for something different. Rearrange the shelves is a really good way to go through my books and decide if there are any I might want to donate. I do own a few books that I didn’t end up enjoying and since shelf space is so important, I’m trying to learn to let go of these books. I may or may not have a couple of bags of books in my closet I haven’t donated yet. Of course this means I must decide which books I should hold on to and which I don’t need. If I didn’t enjoy a book (think one-star and two-star books), it doesn’t make sense for me to keep them. The odds are I’m never going to loan them out and I have no real reason to pick them up again.

Now this is going to sound weird, but I actually find it fun to rearrange the shelves. I like taking my books down and dusting everything. I like piles of books everywhere and the feeling that I’ll never get everything to fit and yet I still find a way to make everything fit. I like holding all my books and maybe pausing every once in a while and skimming through some of my favorites. I love seeing how many worlds I’ve entered and knowing they’re there on my shelves, ready at a moment’s notice to welcome me home.

How often do you rearrange your bookshelves? Do you prefer a specific kind of sorting? Do you stress clean and tidy up like me? Do you ever feel the sudden need to rearrange everything on your shelves? Do you have a hard time getting rid of books like I do? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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14 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense, #25: Bookshelf Reorganizing

  1. I’m the same way with rearranging books. I find it great stress relief and just generally soothing. I keep the downstairs bookshelves presentable looking but the one upstairs I’ve broken down and started cramming books in (as well as underneath, to the side and on top of!) I’m glad I’m not the only one who rearranges my bookshelves for fun!

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  2. I love rearranging shelves, too, and a few months ago, started a process of “purging,” which involved donating several stacks of books to the library.

    I have too many shelves, and this process will bring them into a more manageable order, I tell myself. LOL

    I would love to have just enough shelves that I could savor the books and the ambience of the shelves around me…and then I could dust and rearrange them just as I like.

    I now have four shelves in my bedroom (down from five); no shelves in the hallway (there were two); and I think I can start again on the bedroom shelves.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you ever find it hard to “purge”? I find it difficult to decide what to give away and what to keep. Like I said, I have a couple of bags of books in my closet I’m supposed to donate, but I’ve been hanging on to them for almost six months. So many bookshelves, how glorious! I’m currently running out of room, so I’m contemplating getting shelves to mount on the walls in order to save space.

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  3. I can’t wait to do this!! I currently have most of my books in stacks (on the very clean) dining room floor. I’ve been waiting FOREVER for my dad to build my promised bookcases, and have debated just going to IKEA and buying some so many times because I don’t think I can wait much longer. I keep promising before and after photos on the blog too, which I will do when they’re done. In the meantime I just keep nagging and hoping for the best! R x

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    • I’m currently debating whether to reorganize the shelves right now. I’m supposed to finish my book, but it’s so tempting! I’d love new shelves, preferably floor to ceiling ones. I’ve both contemplated building (and by building I mean asking my father too) and buying new ones too. I should probably figure out which way would be cheaper.

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      • It depends… Some of IKEA’s stuff, and other flat-pack furniture isn’t that cheap. The Billy bookcases were the ones I was going to get, and they are really reasonably priced, but everyone and his Uncle has them, and I wanted something a bit more sentimental. We managed to buy 4 old solid dining room tables for £80, so dad has ripped them up and is going to repurpose them into bookcases. I imagine buying the wood would still be within the same price range as a lot of bookcases though. I wanted floor to ceiling too, but there wasn’t enough wood, and I was talked out of it. Pft. I think once they’re done I’m going to have to paint them.. Someone has mentioned Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but I’m terrified of messing it up! R x

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        • I was talking to my dad about this and he said it would probably be better to build one because most of the IKEA shelves are made from particle board which may not last and for a similar price you can build long lasting shelves. I’d be worried about painting them too!

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        • Yea, I have a small bookcase built with particle board, and granted the shelves are currently overloaded, but they do tend to buckle after a while and develop a bend, which real wood shouldn’t do! Urgh, I’ll likely make a hash of the paint job 😦 R x

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  4. I probably reorganize my bookshelf every few months. I’ll organize it, and then I’ll let it go to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised if it just tipped over from all the weight from everything being on it. I try to organize my books in height order from shortest to tallest, so that way the little guys won’t get lost amongst the taller dudes. I definitely stress clean. I also procrastinate clean, which is when I am supposed to be working on homework or a project but instead I’ll clean for two hours without a care in the world. I feel like I can think more clearly when my surroundings are organized and neat. If I had the space, I would keep a lot more of my books. However, probably around mid-summer of last year I really started to shrink the number of books I have. I had a lot from book fairs, books from when I was younger, books that I didn’t want to read anymore or books that I did read but was never going to pick up again. I do want a large book collection someday, but I would rather have a book collection that is made up of books that have meant something to me, books that I have enjoyed. In ten years, will I care about having a book in my collection that I got for 50% off or from a garage sale but never read?

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    • I sometimes do the same thing size wise and I’m always aware of where I put my shelf in relation to my bed because you know, earthquakes. I like the way you think. I’d love a whole room of books but if I am going to collect them, I want them to be amazing. I’d rather have a room full of books I love than two full of books I thought we’re just okay. Thank you, I now feel motivated to clean my shelves!

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