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!