No matter the size of your house or apartment, we all could use space more efficiently. And all of us bookworms share the same problem: we have a lot of books. A lot. How can we organize our books, so we’ll have more space?
More space, you know, for more books.
Many book nerds will die faithful to traditional Dewey Decimal methods: by genre or topic, author’s last name, etc. We all love Dewey. However, that might not be the best way for everyone.
Organizing books by color is a thing. Perhaps an even better solution is organizing your books by size.
The New York Public Library has decided to organize its underground storage facility, which is only accessed by librarians, according to size. That’s up to four million books in a two-level, 55,700 sq. ft. underground bunker–organized by dimension. A cookbook could, in theory, sit next to a similarly proportioned philosophy textbook.
This change has increased the NYPL’s storage space efficiency by 40%. Because of bar codes and multiple cataloging tags, the librarians are able to pinpoint the exact location of each book: room, aisle, shelf, and tray. So they don’t lose any ability to find books for researchers and patrons but gain tons of empty room on shelves. The libraries at Columbia and Princeton have also adopted the system of organizing by size and using bar code stickers for each book, which has saved their libraries space as well.
For those of us who have a more humble, less high tech library at home, organizing by size still makes some sense.
Bookshelves often have pegs, which enable you to place the shelves wherever you want. Why have the exact same distance between shelves, when clearly you don’t have books that are all the exact same size? If you space the shelves more uniquely, you might be able to squeeze another shelf level in there.
Or go with a less traditional bookshelf option.
For children’s books of any size, I recommend putting all of them on shelves your kids can reach. For you, there may be some other books, too, that need to remain separate from books of similar size from other genres.
When my kids and I place their books randomly on the shelf, I can fit everything but not comfortably. Carefully placing my kids’ books on the shelf alphabetically is a colossal waste of time, since they will pull them indiscriminately off the shelves anyway.
However, when I pay attention enough to put the larger books on the larger shelf and the smaller ones on the smaller shelf, I can fit all of their books plus the puzzles.
Organizing books by size might not work for everyone, but it’s another viable option to consider. Dewey, make room for another organization system.
How do you organize your books?
YouTube Channel: the World of a Bookworm
Featured image via Elisabeth Michael