By Color

As a book lover, I have a tendency to hoard everything I’ve ever read. Yes I loan books to my friends and reserve from the library, but for the most part we have an ever-increasing pile of books that lives in our guest room on two bookshelves that are much, much too small.

One day I intend to have a lovely library, the kind with books all the way up to the ceiling and a moving ladder and a cozy recliner with a throw I knitted myself. Maybe something like this:

Until that day comes though, I’ll have to make due with a guest room/library with ugly yellow paint the previous owners slapped on the wall, my sister’s old double bed with my crusty college bedding, and two lovely bookshelves crammed full of books.

When I walked into the guest room last week to take stock of said books, I was confronted with the following:

before books

before books2

No rhyme or reason, just piles upon piles of books crammed onto the shelves. Not to mention those sitting in piles on the floor, in boxes in the guest room closet, and in the attic. And on my coffee table. And my nightstand. And in the office.

On this day, my goal was clear. Something needed to be done about these books. I decided I could alphabetize them by author. Or I code organize them by subject or theme. Fiction vs. non-fiction. Yes, those are all classic ways of organizing a library. But why not do something bold? And something beautiful?

I chose to color code.

First step was to take all of the books off of the shelves and organize them by color.

floor piles

Tons of blacks and whites, but you’d be surprised at the number of blue-ish spines out there. And maroon/red was a close second. Greens and yellows and oranges lagged behind. Strangely enough, there was only one book with a purple spine. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. An anomoly wrapped in an enigma. Or something.

Anyway, once the hard part of color coding had been done, it was simply a matter of cleaning off the shelves and then putting the books where they belonged. I tried to alternate between vertical and horizontal arrangements, and I even added a few display pieces and a vase to make it a little more interesting to the eye.



Yes, there are still some books on the floor and in the closet, but now that the books on the shelves are organized, I feel a sense of calm opportunity. Next step, getting rid of those yellow walls.