We have 4,500 hardcover books to organize. I need an affordable way.

Books are all 1st editions in excellent condition so there's no need to cover or camouflage them. They will be meant to be part of the decor as they're a major love of our life. Haven't had TV for over 25 years. I plan on hanging some artwork in front of them; and adding some collectibles in pottery and glass to the shelves also.

  10 answers
  • Joan Joan on Jun 22, 2017
    Dewey decimal system... :)

  • Dysko7710 Dysko7710 on Jun 22, 2017
    Here is someone who sounds like you and gives a method for organizing books:

  • Patti Patti on Jun 22, 2017
    I took all my books and put them in groups of matching spine colors...all the white and light colored together, all the blues together and so on... it was stunning when it was done. It looked like a piece of art!!

  • DZW DZW on Jun 22, 2017
    These 2 websites would help in what you are looking for:

    This one is how to organize your book collection:

    This one is clever ways in displaying the books:

    Good Luck!

    Would love to see what you came up with!! :)

  • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Jun 22, 2017
    The Dewey Decimal System worked for many years, it can still work for a large home library. Look it up online. Begin with an inventory of each book. Review to discover how many categories you have. Example: separate fiction from non fiction. X number of books are on Architecture, Y number of books are on Gardening, Z number of books are on History. Then arrange each category in alphabetical order. Within each category, arrange alphabetically by author. Also, when you've got that many books you want a system that works and is easy to understand and use. You can make it more complex if that suits your taste by creating sub-categories. Example under history, sub category European, sub-sub categor, 10th century. (Depends how extensive your collection is). Intersperse the books with your artwork and pottery where they are most appealing to the eye. Don't forget lighting. You can highlight the artwork with spotlights. You'll want good reading lights/task lighting where they'll do the most good. Go visit a few libraries in your area and pay attention to how it is put togethe, what elements of the design can work in your home library?

  • Where are they now? My suggestion was the Dewey Decimal system too so that there is a logical order to find books when you want them. If that is not a concern, just "play" with your arrangements in sections adding in your pottery and glass items as mini focal points. Or hire a stylist to do one area for you and then you emuate the rest from the "paid for" section.

  • With that many books I'd recommend the Dewy system as well. It's time intensive and requires stickers though. You should probably invest in some archival book jackets to protect the spines from heat, light, and dust. You can add the stickers to these and not harm the books.
    A way cooler idea would be to find some old card catalog drawers and fill out a card for each book using the Dewy system; you wouldn't need stickers for each book, maybe put a heading sticker on each shelf in an out of the way place. It would make for a conversation piece in your library, not to mention a beautiful piece of antique furniture.
    I don't have that many, but I organized our library alphabetically by subject, then by author and title.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Jun 22, 2017
    Wow! And I thought I had a lot of books when I gave away over 400 when I moved. You truly have a library.
    I'd sorted mine by category. Then lesser categories within the major category. ie: cookbooks as a major category, then putting foods by (canning, freezing etc.) as a secondary category. Novels were by type then author.
    I used all my books, so they weren't as "pretty as a picture". But then, neither are all my friends or me.

    • Kay Kay on Jun 22, 2017
      Thank you, and I did neglect to mention that the cookbooks, non-fiction, and oversized are sorted separately. Books are always beautiful and colorful! I also just moved/relocated 1,900 miles. It took two 26" Uhauls and two additional trailers. Never again! I did make sure that all the books made the truck but managed to forget the ironing board and iron. Oh well!

  • Kay Kay on Jun 22, 2017
    Aware of the Dewey system but labeling the books is not an option as the dust jacket is part of their value. They are already in jacket protective sleeves. Do have the old card file with 12 drawers; also cataloged in computer program. Alphabetically by author is the quickest way to locate a favorite book on the shelves. My biggest concern is affordable shelving to put all these books on. On a
    lineal shelf of one foot I can place and average of 5-7 books. That means I need 750-800 lineal feet of shelving with a normal bookcases having six shelves per 2 foot wide bookcase. Any wider and the shelves do sag. Have found a plan to build one bookcase from one sheet of cabinet grade plywood (six shelves X 2' width. Now my math skills are dated so how many of sheets of plywood would I need at a cost of about $60 per unit? And of course the walls are not window and door free sooooooo... you can see I have a monster of a project but expense is a major issue.

  • Dee Francis Dee Francis on Jun 22, 2017
    If your town or city has a RSVP this is a retired persons org. Members have a wide variety of work backgrounds all are voluntires. You might contact them and find a Librarian or someone that has an archve background.
    You might also contact a local college for a senior student studying in that field .
    Good luck with your project