I love you, Mr. Dewey… Organize your home library, if you dare!

IMG_2225 (2) I have a TON of books. Even to say that I have a ton of books does not do my books justice. Between my husband and I, we are fairly close to book hoarders, especially prior to the clean-up.

I got it into my head that I wanted to organize my books from a hoarder’s nest into a pretty awesome home library. I have done some other pretty cool organizational work with other parts of my home. So, I began looking into my options.

Adam, my husband, suggested a color coded system based upon subject matter. Hmmm. not so bad, but what happens in 20 years when we forgot that the combo or red/orange/black is the crochet how-to books and not the auto maintenance section? Well before I go any further, let me give you some before shots so that you can understand my pain.

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That is my wall of books. To the left of this is the television and all that goes with a hopelessly outdated and extremely large T.V. set.

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How funny, I hate that thing so much, I refuse to capture it on camera. To the right is a bench that used to be piled HIGH with books. Here it is after their removal for classification. Notice the dust. You can’t dust very well with hoarder clutter.

IMG_2190The task was monumental and I spent a lot of time contemplating my goals and needs. I needed a good system of classification that lent itself to being expanded. I mean, people like me don’t just stop buying books, especially considering the Great Data Loss of 2030 (See Mitchell, Bone Clocks). At any rate, I also wanted a system that I felt comfortable with in a deep gooey way.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, when my mother and me were syncing brains…as we do every morning, she suggested the Dewey Decimal System. I thought about it and thought some more and it began making sense. This system was perfect for organizing this insane book collection and it can work great to organize your home library, too.

I found a site that will give you the Dewey Decimal Classification number with either the name of the book or the ISBN. Here is a link for your purposes.

I started from the left side of the wall and began dragging piles of books to the computer to be organized. I found their number and made easy tags. I just did it in Microsoft Windows. I made the page into three columns and listed the number and the first three letters of the author’s last name. Then I cut them out, like this.

IMG_2195The end result were tabs that went on the back, bottom spine of each book.

IMG_2196I took the tabs back to the stack of books and matched each book with its respective tab. I just taped those suckers on!

IMG_2197 (2)As I went along I started organizing the books by number so they would remain in order and began reloading starting with the 00-100

IMG_2191It got really dicey after a while. The piles grew and grew. Plus, there was all sorts of other garbage we took to Good Will or threw away. It was definitely darkest before the storm in my home library.  After 2 1/2 weeks of books exploded across my living room, the morning has dawned. At 1:55 P.M. PST, on April 27, 2015, the books were done. Here is how it turned out.

IMG_2226 (2)IMG_2227 (2)You will notice that there is room in shelves and the dust has cleared. I love my books! I love you too, Mr. Dewey.

Now, all the extra crap we took out of the book shelves needs a home. Stay tuned for more as I find ingenious ways to organize the hall and linen closets.

8 Comments

  1. Lisa on January 14, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I love this post! Looking for a way to organize my (much smaller) collection. This looks great, and thanks for the link!! Out of curiosity, have you done a book count?? I’d love to know how many books that amount of shelf space can hold for personal reference. Not that I have that much space, lol.

    • perfectlyrachael on January 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

      I don’t have a count. TONS! I am paring down to fit in more, right now!

  2. Mikko on February 15, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you for your interesting post!I came across your blog while searching for information regarding Dewey Decimal Classification System. I have also been trying to sort my book collection with DDCS, but there were few books just wouldn’t fit into the classification right…=.= until I found your post with the very helpful link to help me identify each book’s DDCS code, thank you!

    • perfectlyrachael on February 16, 2017 at 1:06 am

      I am so happy you found it helpful. I love my books and am always happy to share my love!

  3. Jenny on August 23, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    WOW! This is just what I was looking for! You have definitely inspired me to “classify” all of my books too! Hopefully I’ll be able to come back and post some pics. Thanks a lot!

  4. Natalie on September 9, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Thanks for this article. I just moved to a house with lots of room for books, and so it made sense to start living there in an organized way that made sense. I want to be able to find my books!!
    My husband and I both have a ton of nonfiction, and so I stopped midway through getting everything out to search for a better way to organize.
    Just a tip for everyone else: An easy way to look up the books is with the app LibraryThing. You can scan every single book you own and it will create a catalogue for you and automatically add the DD# and you can arrange by dewey decimal number to make things easier.
    This has been a really nerdy, fun project for me, no shame!!

  5. Chante on November 29, 2017 at 10:56 am

    OMG Thank you so much! I sooo needed a way to organize my books and your post (and links) helped me so much!

  6. Erica on January 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the post! I’m contemplating doing the same. I did the Konmari method a while back and have since moved 3 times, and my book collection (of which, I was only able to part with a small armload that didn’t apparently Spark Joy) needs some more attention so I can easily and logically organize them once more. …And I totally understand what you mean by “comfortable with in a deep gooey way”. <3

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