Shelving: 2017 Edition

I decided to take advantage of re-shelving my books to organize them in a more intuitive manner than just alphabetical by author, and non-fiction alphabetical by title. After all, a multi-tiered system well-formed now will save me time in the future, right?


As with any undertaking, I did an internet search to see if someone had ideas or articles on ways to make my job easier. I looked for how to organize a bookshelf, and I saw all kinds of pictures – of sparse bookshelves with maybe a dozen books and as many trinkets around them. The deeper I looked, the less functional the shelves were, and I was getting increasingly frustrated.

I mean, what d’you think we call them bookshelves for?

I searched for how to organize a bookshelf with a lot of books, and I got a few better ideas, although it was still about beauty over functionality, making sure you “balanced” the shape of the shelf, or having all the spines organized for the color of the rainbow. The issue with these kinds of shelving options, as many people attested, was finding the books you wanted/needed later. Especially if you have hundreds of books, like me.

First of all, no matter how you decide to organize your books, you need to know the important way to find where books are and where to put them back later: Keep an inventory in shelving order. Seems obvious now I’ve said it, but NOBODY mentioned that in the articles/blogs/etc. that I read. I opted to use Evernote for this, making a Notebook for my book catalogue and separate notes for fiction and nonfiction, as this is my major distinction.


My first secondary distinction was separating out the series and author collections from the rest of my books. A series is any collection trilogy or larger (if I have three or have any intention of gathering three or more books in the series), and an author collection is three or more books by a single author. Largely, these collections are by the same author, or two authors in the case of the Left Behind books, but there are exceptions. My Dear America and Royal Diaries collections have multiple authors, and I’ve organized these by year of events depicted, and then alphabetically by title if two books happen in the same year. Otherwise, series are organized in series order, and other books are organized alphabetically by title. This took about six shelves – all my traditional shelving. The way I’d shelved previously, this area is most of what my fiction covered, plus half the desk.

Then I separate the books out by genre, where practical. Plays, poems, crime, historical fiction, romance, youth, etc. Anything that’s not a classic that I can slip into a category. These take up around two thirds of the desk, which is a little over a shelf’s worth of space.

After that, I took the classics and divided them by country. If a country had five or more different works, it had its own section, divided alphabetically first by continent, then by country. So, the UK, Russia, and America have their own sections. All Anthologies are included in classics (for the sake of convenience) and are arranged alphabetically, and then within the “other” classics, books are organized by this same alphabetical structure.


By the time I had the classics sorted, I was already out of traditional shelving. I had to use the top of my dresser, and the top of a giant Rubbermaid container in my closet. When I started in on the non-fiction, I was fast running out of non-traditional shelf space already set aside for books.

I started with series-related non-fiction. This included Doctor Who books, books about Tolkien’s creations, and books about J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Not too many books, but they take up some space. Beside them, I put my history books (may and sundry) organized by time period, and I ran out of space in my closet from there.

I went to the giant Rubbermaid container under my desk, the full extent of my previously-used non-traditional shelf space, and I put the history books organized by place, and my religious texts. I almost fit all of my religious texts until…. I reached the wall and still had nowhere to put my Gnostic Bible.

At this point – obviously – I began to panic slightly. Cleaning my room has never been a pleasant task, and I begin to find myself in a world where it’s possible there’s not enough room for all my books in my personal living space. This is nonsensical to me, and yet it was growing into a reality. My sister offered to keep some of my books in her room, but I just blinked at her, puzzled and confused as to why she thought this was a solution.

And then, my old adage hit me: “I had to choose between clothes and books, and I chose books.”

I thought that was true when I took clothes off the shelf and stacked books in my closet, but never was it truer than when I did this round of cleaning. I took ALL the clothes out of my chest of drawers and have turned them into a creative shelving option.

You may ask where my clothes are going. I don’t know yet. Some will fit on top of or behind books – little things like socks and underwear, and maybe some pajamas. Dresses and skirts should still fit in the closet. Otherwise…. Well, your guess is as good as mine, but I don’t really have that many clothes I wear. This was just a prompt to get rid of a lot of things I’ve been hanging onto by virtue of out of sight, out of mind.

Approve or disapprove of my creative shelving? Any other space-saving book shelving techniques you’ve used to combat a too-small-room problem?




How I Make Time to Write

I have college. I have a social life (sort of). I have family duties. And I still write, promote myself, plan….

How do I have time for it all?

Sometimes I ask myself that same question.

First of all, I never schedule anything in my life that doesn’t HAVE to be scheduled. Classes, for example, are at the same times every week, whether I want them to be or not. Those go on the schedule. Doctor Who is at the same time every Saturday. That’s scheduled. Birmingham City matches are not subject to my whims, so those are scheduled. Skyping with friends has to be done at a mutually beneficial time, so that’s scheduled. That’s basically it.

I have two email accounts, my ‘school’ account and my ‘work’ account, and both are Gmail hosted. The great thing about them being on Gmail is the use of Google Calendar.

On my ‘school’ Google Calendar, I put all the things I need to schedule, from classes to Doctor Who to assignment due dates to appointments. I also put up the fanfiction I’m working on, every three days – except on holidays where I put something down each day. This keeps me prompted so that I don’t ever forget about my fanfiction. I also write 100 words on a given story each time I get a review, follow, or favorite on a story. If the story’s finished, I do 100 words on whatever’s on my docket, which is currently one of my Hunger Games stories. I also switch up my docket going alphabetically down my list of stories on a fairly regular basis, so I don’t forget anything.

On my ‘work’ Google Calendar, every day has something work related a the top, whether it’s to work on a video for my YouTube page, raising money for copyright, or working on the latest chapter of either my working novel or novella. For the whole month of November, for example (NaNoWriMo), each day is a reminder to work on a section of a chapter of my novel.

Any time I check either calendar for any reason (which I do frequently throughout the day for both), I take that opportunity to work on the reminder I’ve set for the day. There’s no scheduled time, and if my other work is doing well I write more. If it’s going poorly, I write less.

I think it’s a good system. It’s yet to fail me. And for those of you who don’t know me, I have a very short attention span most of the time. Switching gears every five minutes is sort of necessity for me.

And that is how I get it done.