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How to Organize Books in Your Home Library

Learn how to organize books using a simple system and an app. Keep track of what you own, what you’ve read, and what’s on your wish list.

Book nerds unite! I’ve got a fun and easy way to organize books in your home library that you’re going to love. I’m Keri from One Mama’s Daily Drama and I want to share how I finally got our family’s book collection organized.

How to Organize Books in Your Home Library

Every year I set a goal of how many books I want to read. Most years I struggle to hit my goal, but this year I was determined to reach it. At the beginning of the year I took my reading list to a local secondhand bookstore and grabbed as many books as I could on my budget.

Then I decided that I would read every morning, even if just for 15 or 30 minutes, instead of scrolling through social media. It took a while to naturally reach for a book instead of my phone, but I’ve already read more books this year than last.

We’ve always been a family of bookworms, so we own a lot of books. Since I added about 20 this year and my book wishlist has only grown, I decided I needed a good way to organize books and keep track of what I have.

Plus, I needed a way to keep track of which books my kids have too. They read a lot of serials, so knowing which numbers we have and which ones I need to keep an eye out for is important. With the GoodReads app, whenever I’m at the secondhand book store I can easily see at a glance which books we are missing from our collection.

How to organize books

I’m talking about organizing, but now is also a great time to clean. Get a dry dust cloth and wipe down your books, shelves, and other knickknacks as you go.

What you need: 

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Supplies Needed: 

  • Lots of books!
  • Bookshelves, boxes, or baskets for sorting
  • An app to scan your books – I use Goodreads 

Instructions:

1. Decide how you’ll sort your books.

There are tons of creative and practical ways to organize books and it’s really just a matter of what makes sense to you:

  • Fiction and nonfiction
  • Hardback and paperback books
  • Alphabetical by author
  • By location in your house
organized cookbooks on a kitchen shelf

2. Download the Goodreads app.

It’s free for Android or iPad/iPhone in the app stores. Download the app and log into your account or create a new one.

Click on “my books” at the bottom of the page, then on “create a new shelf.” You can create as many as you like, depending on how you plan to organize your books. Goodreads automatically creates shelves for you called “want to read” and “read” and you can easily move books from virtual shelf to shelf.

Create a few shelves based on your sorting categories above.

2 shelves of middle grade books

3. Gather and declutter your books.

If you have a lot of books, you might want to do this by room, rather than carrying books from all over the house into one place. In my house, there are books on shelves in the living room and each bedroom. I also have a shelf of cookbooks in the kitchen.

Take all your books off of the shelves and put them in a pile. Sort them into three piles. One pile is books you no longer want. You could donate them to a charity shop, sell them, or see if your local library would like to have them.

The second pile is books that will stay in the room they are in and the third pile is books that you’re going to move to another room.

iPad scanning a cookbook into the Goodreads app

4. Scan all the books.

Use the Goodreads app to scan the barcode on each book and sort it onto a Goodreads shelf. This is actually really quick to do. Click “scan” in the app. The camera will activate (you may need to give the app permission) and then you just hold it over the barcode on each book.

The app can actually scan the covers, but I like scanning the barcode so it finds the exact edition I have in my hand. You can scan all the books at once, then come back and sort them into your virtual shelves.

screenshot of Goodreads app scanning new titles

5. Sort the books onto your real shelves.

Finally, put all the books you’re keeping in this room back onto the shelves. If you don’t have space or just don’t like the look of open bookshelves, there are other ways to store and display books in your home.

  • A wall-mounted book rack is a fun way to show off book covers in a child’s room.
  • This book caddy is cute and makes books easily accessible for little kids.
  • Keeping all your favorite books on a rolling cart makes it easy to move them around the house.
shelf of books by JRR Tolkien

6. Move the remaining books.

Finally, carry all the books you’re moving to another room and start organizing books there.

To maintain your newly organized home library, scan new books into your app when you bring them home.

collage of books on shelves

What’s Next? 

If you enjoyed these tips to organize books then you’ll enjoy these book ideas for kids.

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Middle Grade Books from One Mama's Daily Drama

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