Organising Your Library

One thing that nearly all bibliophiles have in common is an issue of space and organisation.

Although modern readers might keep all their favourite titles on digital record (organising them is a task for another article!), millions of readers around the world are still steadfastly dedicated to paper copies, and who can blame them! There’s nothing more satisfying to an avid reader than getting all their books in order, but a habit of picking up new books (and not letting go of old volumes) can lead to hoarding levels of untidiness.

If you feel like you’ve reached a point where you can no longer deal with the amount of books filling your home, then maybe the time has come to either get some professional help or roll up your sleeves and get down some organising!

Hire A Professional Organiser

Should you be blessed with the financial capability, whilst also being short on time, then you could consider hiring a professional organiser from You Need A Vicky to come to your home and help you make sense of your collection. Decluttering a home of hundreds (or even thousands) of books can take some time, so you should be clear on the hourly rate that your helper will charge. If possible, ask for quote beforehand, so that you know roughly how much you might have to pay once the work has been completed.

Do It Yourself

If like most people, you simply don’t have the cash for getting a professional organiser in, then you’ll need to gee yourself up and get to it yourself. Clear a weekend or two, so that you have plenty of free time and read our tips to put yourself in the best position.

Take Stock

The first thing you’ll want to do is take stock of your entire collection and figure out what books you want to keep on your shelves, and which you might feel are better to get rid of. You should know instinctively which books ‘spark joy’, as Marie Kondo would put it and which volumes are ready to find a new home.

Find A Home For Unwanted Volumes

Once you’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff you can kick off the process proper by sending off any unwanted books to new homes, whether that’s as library donations, gifts, eBay auctions or wholesalers. Getting a chunk of your collection organised in this way is a great motivator and should push you to properly organise the books that you’re planning on keeping.

Organise In Your Own Way

Now that you’ve got yourself in a good position to start organising you’ll want to consider how you want to sort your books. Organising a collection should involve the implementation of some kind of system so that you’ll be able to find each book in your collection with ease, rather than spending hours trawling through your bookcases.


Libraries have been using this simple, effective system for centuries as an intuitive way of keeping books in order and making them universally accessible for any English-language speaker. Use the ‘Sort’ functionality on a spreadsheet software to quickly alphabetise your collection with the least fuss.

In Order Of Acquisition

This is a much more personal way of organising a book collection and will require some real mental gymnastics, especially if you’re dealing with a large collection of books. Again, a spreadsheet may come in useful here as it will allow you to quickly visualise your entire collection and assign them each a timestamp according to when you acquired them. Sort by Descending (or Ascending) to finish the job.

By Date Of Publication

This is a fun way of organising your collection which is best suited to those with eclectic collections that span decades, or even centuries. A quick fix of finding the date of publication for each volume, without going through the hassle of opening each one, is to simply enter each item into Wikipedia, which should contain the relevant information required.

If you properly prepare, organising your book collection can be a rewarding, satisfying experience that will leave you with a feeling of greater control over your belongings. Best of luck!