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How to Organize Your Books

This post is written by certified professional organizer Tiffany Engler.

The other day a client asked me, “What’s the hardest thing for people to let go of?” I immediately responded with “books!”  It’s true.  Books are by far the hardest things to eliminate from our homes.  I know this is something that is hard for me too.

So what is it about books that makes it so difficult?  I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, but in the meantime let’s talk about how to organize your collection.

You might start by sorting them by:

  • subject
  • author
  • color
  • size
  • alphabetical
  • adult vs. child

or a few of these combinations.

Once you’ve done the sort, place them on your bookshelves (keeping children’s books on the lower shelves).  I keep my categories separate by having one category go vertical then the next category go horizontal.

Create an excel spreadsheet so you know what you have and where it is. Have at least the following columns:

  • author’s name
  • title of book
  • location of book

And if you are ready to part with a few books, consider giving them to a local library, school or church.  You could also mail the books to the International Book Project or the Global Literacy Project.

So I’d love to hear your position on books.  Why is it difficult to let go of books?  And how do you organize your collection?

Tiffany Engler, CPO® loves to help her clients break overwhelming organizing projects into small pieces to achieve big results. She gets a rush helping people finish something they have been putting off for years. Check out her website at

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