Have you ever stopped to think about if there is anything bookworms love more than reading? The answer is yes; there is something more; books. Even if it sounds a bit obvious, the reading part would be almost impossible without them. There’s nothing better than seeing your pressured books displayed beautifully (by colors, alphabetical order, genre, by ages if you include your kiddos). Of course, there’s no worse feeling than finding out one of your beloved books is covered in mold, wet, or filled with pests.
Today we gathered some of the best book experts who shared their knowledge in storing, displaying, and organizing books. Keep on reading to find out more!
What’s the best way to organize my kid’s books?
For organizing your children’s books you should firstly consider shelving. For the books you want to read or use over and over, consider housing them in an everyday area where they are easy to reach, and also most importantly return when read Some ideas for this are building a railing into a staircase banister, hanging wall crates at children’s levels, or using cube storage. Make sure the storage area is close to where you read and play, since books should be a part of playtime too, and a good book will often be referenced, played with, and of course read.
Then you will have some special books, that you want to shelve in higher access areas, for example, where only adults can access. These can be away from regular play areas so children know to take extra special care of these ones.
If your house has space another great idea for storing books is a reading nook/home library area where you can have a combination of the two options for storage mentioned above.
Organizing books on a shelf for a child can be difficult since just getting them back on the shelf will pose a problem, let alone putting them in any kind of order. If you do want to organize the books on the shelves, it is recommended to do so in order of most read to least read. In the most read books you needn’t have an order except perhaps for ergonomics. In the less read category you may choose to sort by kind of book, for example, fiction and non-fiction, reference books, learning books, and coloring books.
Lastly, it is a great idea to also have electronic storage for your digital books that can be printed or read on a device. Digital organization is another topic altogether, however, it’s recommended to save the books with a file name that lends to an alpha-numeric sort which helps you easily locate the books again. If you have a few favorite online books another suggestion is to save a document or email with the direct links for these books to enable easy access when you need them.
Whatever you choose ensure it is quick and easy as when little ones want to read they don’t like waiting!
-Danielle Bruckert at Free Kids Books
What’s the best way to store my books long-term?
What is the best way to store my books? I have been asked this question a few times. Actually, I prefer to keep all my books on a bookshelf where I can see them. They are there to be read after all, Right? But if for some reason you feel the need to put them away somewhere here are a few suggestions.
- Please not in a cold damp Basement. Unless of course, you like the smell of mildew.
- You should also not keep them near any kind of heat source. Heat can warp a hardcover book.
- Find a dry place with low humidity.
- If this is truly long term wrap them up individually. Use a plastic sleeve if possible.
- Use a good strong container Like a large plastic or Rubbermaid type bin. Make sure it is not seen thru as you do not want the light to get through. (be aware of mice and other pests that might chew through a cardboard box)
- Do not store the containers on the floor for obvious reasons.
- As mentioned above, for long storage keep them in a dark place or low light.
-Dick Leonardo at Book Room Reviews
What’s the best way to organize my books?
When it comes to book storage and organization, I am a bit of an old school. For me, the long-term safety, functionality, and tidiness are as important as the aesthetics.
The beautiful open shelves that you see in popular Pinterest-worthy pictures, come with their own hazard. With open shelves comes the issue of dust, humidity, and increased exposure to all elements, which in a country like India, can become a lot to handle, and is something that I tend to avoid.
Hence, most of my books sit tight inside glass shelves which serve maximum functionality.
So, barring one, all of my bookshelves are pretty basic, but in them, all of my books are organized genre wise which is always a great bonus when one is crunched for time. With more than 2200 books on my shelves, this saves me from a lot of hassles and unproductive time. I may have last seen a particular book over a year ago, but with this kind of organization, it hardly takes me five minutes to spot the book.
To ensure this level of organization, I have separate spaces for different genres like young adult, history and politics, non-fiction business, non-fiction self-help, society and geopolitics, Indian literary fiction, Indian contemporary fiction, Indian popular authors, fantasy, and all types of series, guide books and cookbooks, religion and philosophy, travel and places, International literary fiction, historical fiction, mythological fiction and thrillers, psychological thrillers, and crime and thrillers.
However, for most of my bookish video content, I maintain a shelf that is glass-encased but color-coordinated, where most of my premium editions sit organized based on their color. They lend a unique and vibrant vibe to my studio and are a source of constant compliments that come my way.
But this shelf is also the most unorganized based on functionality. I literally have to learn the spines of all the books that go in this one.
So, my tip for book organization would also reflect my practices in real-life. Functionality over aesthetics. Organization over beauty. It doesn’t have to be only one of these, just that one takes priority over the other.
Since I also live in a city that experiences a lot of Monsoon rainfall, I make sure that I do not expose my books to a lot of humidity. As soon as I am done reading or working with a book, it straightaway goes into the shelves.
-Sankalpita at BookGeeks
How can I ensure my books are kept away from dust?
A: What I would recommend is:
- Vacuum the floor daily.
- Vacuum the shelves holding the books weekly.
- Invest in an air filtering machine (much like a humidifier) for the room.
- Do not have any open windows in the rooms where the books are shelved.
-James A. Cox at Midwest Book Review
Where should I avoid storing my books?
I’m reflexively inclined to say any/all flat surfaces in your home are a good place to store books–but experience has taught me better. In retrospect, these all should be self-evident, but when has that stopped anyone from doing something they shouldn’t? Maybe you can benefit from some of my mistakes in this area.
A shelf directly in front of a window is not the place for books. My home office has one window, and I routinely leave its blinds open. For one year, I unthinkingly left 1 row of books in front of that window. The sun damage to those pages made them forever identifiable as victims of my negligence. Lighting pros would undoubtedly have better advice for the kind of light exposure that’s best.
Don’t store books in the flood plain of a malfunctioning washing machine/faulty irrigation system. Sure, most of you won’t have a Spring-like I did 15 years ago, but I learned a few things. More seriously, you should think of the relative humidity of a particular room in your house–dryness is your friend.
Another hazardous place to keep books is within reach of the mouth/paws of an unmonitored new pet. Just because your last pet ignored or stayed away for them for years, you don’t know that a new furry friend isn’t going to go exploring. Along those lines, don’t store books (particularly in a stack) where an infant or toddler might want to use them to pull themselves into a sitting or standing position–they’re just not sturdy enough to handle that kind of energy. You risk damage to both the child and the books.
Lastly, think of the sturdiness of the surface and the weight of the books you’re storing them on. Heavier books don’t need a lot of time to leave a bow in weaker/less-supported materials. I’ve learned this the hard way.
-H.C. Newton at The Irresponsible Reader
Should books be stored flat or upright?
If you want to keep your books in the best condition possible, it’s best to store them upright on your shelves, with their spines facing outward. Just like in your own little personal library! They shouldn’t be put too tightly or too loosely together, as that can damage them. Don’t put any books on top of them, either: that will crush your books’ lovely spines and we certainly don’t want that. If your shelf isn’t full, don’t be afraid to use bookends. This will give a lovely look to your shelves AND will help keep your book in pristine condition, as they won’t fall on top of each other.
If you have really big and heavy books, though, it’s best to store them lying flat. If you choose to put them in a pile, the heaviest books should always be at the bottom.
-Marie at Drizzle & Hurricane Books
Should I cover my books with plastic to preserve them better?
No, that is not a good idea. A plastic wrap can trap moisture which will damage your books. We don’t want our bookshelf full of pretty books to be warped and wrinkled like the books we might read at the pool or in the bath. A good way to preserve books if you are moving or storing them for some time like we did for our overseas military move, is to wrap them in paper-like brown paper bags. You know, like we millennials did for our high school textbooks. Didn’t we all immediately wrap those in paper and then doodle on the covers? But if you want to display your books and are concerned about dust or pet fur, a bookshelf with glass doors might be the perfect solution.
-Julie at Chapter Break
Now that you know some techniques for better book displaying and preservation, consider hiring a handyman if you need help building that bookshelf, moving it from near the windows, or even storing them.