Asked on Feb 08, 2017

Too many books! How can I organize this mess?

Hillela G.
by Hillela G.
I need your help!!!
  32 answers
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Feb 09, 2017

    Hillela, you need to make piles. Pile 1 will be for the books you must keep, pile 2 will be for charity and pile 3 plain trash or maybe you could make something with the leftover books. Once you have that done and you can see what is to be saved, putting the books back on the shelves will be easy. Laying some on their side up against other books standing straight up would like a book end.

    The best part of cleaning up and letting go is how light you will feel when it is done.

  • Nelson Amma Nelson Amma on Feb 09, 2017

    You Can Use old empty Show boxes(). First wrap them with some shiny wallpapers or normal gift wrapper. and place it in the shelf.

  • Mary Mary on Feb 09, 2017

    Build a stronger book shelf out of real wood and if you do pass some on you would have more room and sturdier shelves for bigger and more new books

    • Jennifer Jennifer on Feb 09, 2017

      Yes, I was going to say something about a sturdier unit too. She could flip over the shelves so it will start bending the other way until she finds a better (wood) unit. And paint it !

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 09, 2017

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Feb 09, 2017

    Purge books that you have read and know you just hold on because you paid for them. My aunt is like that,I go to the library so I have to return books. I hate clutter so my husband has one tall solid pine bk shelf with doors on bottom. He had to give a lot away but how many bibles does he need? At one point he had 27 versions. I mean really! Plus all other books and he would leave them around. So he had to make hard choice either keep his books and get rid of his grandmother's memorabilia or the opposite. I wasn't going to spend more money on an other bookshelf. So purge and purge some more until you have only what you need and if you don't like the library then do ebooks. Purchase and read online then you can keep them in computer. Your bookcase will give in one day and fall on someone. You've helped me a lot with bedroom so I hope this helps you.

  • Ell7769207 Ell7769207 on Feb 10, 2017

    If you read the books and are not going to use them again. Pass them on to charity organizations, nursing homes etc.. You may be able to claim a tax deduction. Ask your tax man.

    Everyone wins. Good luck.

    • Jodie Jodie on Feb 14, 2017

      Also some librarys will take your donations to use in their book sales to raise money to buy computers and more books.

  • Vak11967030 Vak11967030 on Feb 11, 2017

    I have the same issue. Started donating the books I won't read again to the local library and service clubs. By doing this, more space obviously was opened up for my keepers.

    • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Feb 13, 2017

      its such a nice problem to have, my sister is an editor so she is forever showering me with wonderful books. I'm not complaining, but I do need to get organized

  • Judy Judy on Feb 11, 2017

    First of all, I can identify with you. I went thru this same case, for the last couple of weeks. YOU are not alone, ok? 1. I separated the VERY IMPORTANT books, that I wanted to keep. 2. Then that I have read, but plan to do so. 3. After reading this book, I won't need it, so I put this into the last pile. From that group, I know who will read them, and take care of them, or pass them on. When this is done, then I can put them in A-B-C order. OK? Some churches will like some, or if there is special friends, they may like some too, or a CARE group, will always use them, also. Best wishes.

  • Gle15179532 Gle15179532 on Feb 12, 2017

    I am in charge of the Library at the Retirement Village where my Husband and I live. When I was asked to do this I was so excited, I love Books always wanted a Room just to keep my books - Personal Library. This has given me my greatest wish and I love taking care of the books and how they are presented. My hubby helped me from the beginning by setting up the list of Books and Genre on the Computer, then he got sick and has spent a lot of time in Hospital. When we get extra copies of books given to us I check them and keep a copy for the Library and set aside the others. It is interesting how often that happens, but now instead of them going to the huge Book Fair or other places that sell them I donate them to the Hospitals, quite a lot in our City. They rotate them too so it seems to me this is a win win way of sorting out a lot or little amount of Books. I

    also donated a lot covering different aspects of Military Autobios etc to the

    Veterans for their Library so I like to think that helps people in those places to fill in the hours if they like to read like me. Hope this will give some ideas to anyone

    wanting to lessen their Books. Best Wishes Glenys in Australia.

  • Ese8934807 Ese8934807 on Feb 13, 2017

    Take to a nearby school or maybe a saturaday have a book give away.

  • Lou Lou on Feb 13, 2017

    A couple of years ago, I had a lot of used paperbacks (i.e., boxes of them) at a garage sale and a chaplain from the local jail stopped in; he came back at the end of the sale and took the unsold Westerns for the men and the Romance books for the women and mysteries for both. Jails don't want books that glorify violence (obviously), but reading is a good way for prisoners to pass their time. Nonfiction would also be welcome, so contact the local jail/prison!

    • Carolyn Carolyn on Feb 13, 2017

      Just a note, jails and prisons will only accept paper backs in North Carolina. They do not want hard cover books, I should know, I inquired.

      PS. You might consider donating to flood or forest fire area libraries where damage has occurred,. Haven't read all the posts, but women's shelters, rehab centers, vets, nursing homes and all of the other prior mentioned charities. I prefer Salvation Army over Good Will since the Salvation Army has a demonstrated track record of giving to distressed areas or homes in our area. Habit for Humanity is another good charity in our area where a helping hand is offered. Might ask if your church will welcome certain books, off hand I'd say that religious , cooking, crafting and home improvement would be allowed. Consider hosting a white elephant book swap with your group and others at a central location. Dutch or Pot Luck. Nobody says you have to bring any home!

  • Hadil Diab-Hadaya Hadil Diab-Hadaya on Feb 13, 2017

    Honestly, give many away. Most everything is online now. I saw someone had a book box with a clear window on it that looked like a large mailbox style shelf. It said free books. However, I think an easier way would be to donate to the library if they take them. That's what I did.

  • Sandra Allen Sandra Allen on Feb 13, 2017

    Well this is all great advice. I donate to the folks in my senior complex. But...if you have books and videos and cds/dvds you might want to use old dresser drawers. I did this for a while so I could help a friend store some things. It was temporary but it (or yours) doesn't have to be. I find them quite unique.

    comment photo
  • I have the same problem! I posted about my solution on my blog, The Bachelorette Pad Flip:

  • Vicky Price Vicky Price on Feb 16, 2017

    I'm thinking you would like to hold on to your books or you wouldn't have a problem storing them. Scrounge up some boxes and cover them with fabric or pretty paper that match. put all of your odd shaped books or paperbacks in these boxes. You can put these on the top shelf and be sure to label them. then, divide the books by size and put a vase or a something cute between the books 2-3 times on each shelf to break it up. you can also set a picture in front of some of the books that aren't so pretty or that don't match up very well.

  • OhSally OhSally on Feb 17, 2017

    This isn't an organization idea, but it is an idea what to do with books you are passing on to others. Look up Little Free Library on the net. People put up these cute weather-proof "boxes" in their yards and put out books for passers-by to take for their use. We have a lot of people who walk in our neighborhood and I think it would be fun to have a Little Free Library in the yard for them to stop and get a book as they walk by. It seems like a friendly thing to do and kind of fun!

    • Susan Susan on Mar 26, 2017

      I LOVE this idea! NBC News had a story last week about a woman who started this in her neighborhood.

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Mar 15, 2017

    You said it ,too many books,so get rid of the ones you have read. Free up space to put new books. You need to thank your sister and afterwards ask if she wants books back. If not donate them to a library or hospital.

  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Mar 17, 2017

    I know it's very hard to give up your books. But I finally did. If I had already read it & it wasn't a classic or collectors, then I donated the book. I only held on to those I could read over & over again. I figured, I could always buy it again or check it out at the library. Unless you want to keep all your books. Then that's when you make yourself a library room. Separate by thriller, love stories, action, comedy, etc..... Good luck!

  • Tyler Elliott Tyler Elliott on Mar 26, 2019

    Yes, you really have a lot of books. I can say that now almost in studies nobody uses. Now there are very popular books online and online services that can be quickly found on your tablet or smartphone. look at more info and choose ama citation generator for yourself all the information about books for study. I recommend to do this to everyone.

  • OwenGardner OwenGardner on Jul 04, 2019

    You have a lot of books. Do you want to be a writer. If you like to read you can be successful editor! Read checklist job search i hope it'll be useful for you.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 16, 2020

    A few years ago we clean out our books. The easiest way was to go thru them and give away what we didn't need or use.

    You can do some cute crafts using old books.

    26 Enchanting DIY Old Book Craft Ideas to Repurpose Old Books

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Mar 31, 2021

    arrange them in different positions .. after you purge

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Oct 01, 2022

    I have several organizing posts that might help you

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 01, 2022

    Have you gone thru and weeded out what you aren't using yet?

    Make 4 piles.

    A throw away or donate pile (you can donate old magazine to your library or thrift store).

    Another pile that you want to keep but is in need of repair.

    A pile to give to others (mainly family or friends and only what is something they will use).

    Now the hardest pile to deal with and that is the throw away pile. Be honest with yourself and if it is ripped throw it out only donate stuff in decent condition.

    My dad had a horrible habit of donating stuff when it no longer worked. This is lazy and mean to get someones hopes up and then to find out the product doesn't work.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 24, 2022

    Heavy books and large books on bottom in some sort of order. Work up the shelves with slightly smaller and lighter books. Proceed that way , so lightest and smallest on top.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 04, 2022

    Go through and donate what you don't use. Throw away anthing damaged. Then see what you are left with.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 17, 2023

    After college and buying all the books they required for courses, I had a heap of them and decided some will always apply to my career choice, those I kept. I soon learned my career choice had their references they wanted, so I parted ways with my collection. When done with a day's work, hardly anyone goes to their reference books. Many went to a local store called Mom's, they have a book exchange in the store entrance. The rest I just plain donated to the Purple Heart through an organization called Greendrop, they picked up household items and the books.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 10, 2023

    We did donate the non-technical books to a local Sr center, they have cases for them and do appreciate readable books.

  • Deb K Deb K on Dec 10, 2023

    Hi Hillela, hope this helps you.

    1. sort into keep donate and trash
    2. Paint and reinforce shelving
    3. Sort remaining books and add baskets & decor desired
    4. Add all back onto bookshelf, Put heavier objects, like art books or storage bins, on the bottom of the shelves. Lighter objects, like paperbacks, should go toward the top.
  • Janice Janice on Dec 10, 2023

    How to organize depends on how your mind works. Do you want the bookshelves to look nice and that is your main concern or do you want the books to be organized so you can quickly find the one you want to read? Through time, I've come to the conclusion I'd rather have my books organized by general topic, then alphabetical order. Some people like to have all organized in alpha order no matter the topic. You can also simply organize by color and that can be attractive. I have two separate areas so hardbacks and softbacks are separated. Think through how YOU will be able to locate the book you want before you start. As you go through you'll likely want to get rid of many so you can donate some, trash some, and gift a few to friends or family you think would enjoy them.

  • Dee Dee on Dec 10, 2023

    You could bring some of the books to 1/2 price books and sell them. You could donate the books to the school library. Sort and get a bigger book case.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 04, 2024

    Hi Hillela: I can't imagine having too many books :) I have a zillion, but understand your problem. If you have some you can let go, there are various places that will take them. There are Little Libraries that show up on people's lawns where you can give or take a book or two, most libraries will take them, and there are thrift stores that take them and even, my favourite, How to Donate Books to Soldiers and Veterans | Bizfluent, especially if you have paperbacks. I don't usually :) The Definitive Guide to Where to Donate Books ( I have so many cookbooks it's ridiculous. I only use a few, and am donating the others. It's hard to do, like letting a child leave home, but it has to be done. For your shelves that are bowing, you can put a piece of wood as high as the shelf in the middle of the shelf and it should keep it from bowing. You can also turn the shelf upside down to straighten it out. Also, bunch them by subject and then by size.