The 10 Stages of Bookshelf Reorganisation

It’s a well known fact, bloggers that I’ve been in desperate need of shelf space for quite some time. So long, that I have to squint hard and knock on my head to remember when I wasn’t double stacking or trying to squish books precariously into tight spaces. Well, this summer I decided enough was enough! After spending hours assembling two kamikaze flat packs with a lack of straight edges and a missing piece or two my new bookshelves were finally welcomed into the world! Once I decided where to put my new shelves I was faced with the somewhat intimidating task of reorganising all of my books. I was totally up for the challenge, but what I didn’t expect was the surprising number of emotional stages I went through during the process! So, I thought it might be fun to present thee with a post on the 10 stages of bookshelf reorganisation. 🙂

1.) Excitement.

Dumbledore happy dance

At first I approached my book reorganisation task with excitement. I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to spend the majority of their day hanging out with their books – staring at their pretty covers, dusting them, organising them? I went about the task with bookish glee, reminiscing about all the stories I had read and loved and all the adventures I had yet to discover doing my own internal happy dance.

2.) Exhaustion.

Tina Fey push-ups

After lugging books back and forth from shelf to floor, shelf to floor so that I could move my original bookshelf into its new designated spot I began to suffer from some serious arm and back acheage, as well as general exhaustion because it was such a hot day. But my enthusiasm would not be quenched!

3.) Panic.

Sheldon panic gif

Half way though I began to realise the full scale of the task I had taken on. I could no longer see my bed, my floor OR ANYTHING FOR THAT MATTER. Moving one inch to the left or right became a serious issue, and for a moment there I was worried someone would find me weeks later hemmed in by books, dead from dehydration and book gluttony.


4.) Avoidance.

New Girl run away gif

When faced with the sight above it seemed impossible that my books and room would ever be ordered again. My solution to this? Hey, I feel like a cup of tea! Yeah…a tea break is a good idea *edges sideways out of room*.
I put the kettle on, and then somehow managed to make drinking my tea last an hour. Then I searched out other means of procrastination. Exhibit A: Ohh look there’s an interesting wall! Shall I stare at it? Yeah, let’s do that.

5.) Determination.Aragorn determined

After a while I realised I wouldn’t actually be able to go to sleep that night (because my bed was full of books) unless I got my butt in gear, so out came my determined face. I made a mental organisation strategy, I prioritised, I played the Rocky theme music in my head and added in some Aragorn swag!

6.) Misplaced hope.

President Snow gif

With my new-found determination I began the long process of sifting though the books on the floor, working out where I wanted to put them (which consisted mainly of me snapping my head left to the books and right to the shelves repeatedly like I was watching a table tennis game) and moving them to my new shelves. After filling up three or four levels and feeling pretty happy about what I had achieved, I began to think that maybe this whole reorganisation thing wasn’t going to be so bad after all!

7.) Dissatisfaction.

Hours later when my books were finally all on designated shelves I sighed a happy sigh and stepped back to admire my hard work.
I was happy with it, but then I started to SEE THINGS.
Things that were out of place, that clashed or weren’t aligned properly.

Buffy squint

8.) Frustration.

Hermione books

As a perfectionist, seeing books that weren’t exactly how I wanted them felt like nails down a chalkboard so I set to work like a manic, rearranging and huffing as I went! That book should be over here *huff*, this book doesn’t look right there *huff* wait, this ones both fantasy AND YA, so should it go on the fantasy shelf or the YA shelf? Urrrrrgg *DOUBLE HUFF*.

9.) Ultimate bookworm bliss/euphoria.

Angel's happy dance

Finally, after about six hours of bookish glee, panic, huffing and arm ache I took another step back, looked at my bookcases and….. PERFECTION. I even had some empty shelves! I HAVEN’T HAD EMPTY SHELVES SINCE I WAS ABOUT 15. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have all of my books on show resembling some form of order. Bookshelf 1 is all about the fantasy, bookshelf 2 is for childhood favourites, classics and fancy dancy literary books and bookshelf 3 is the realm of YA and chicklit. 😀


So, only one more stage to go:

10.) Collapse on the floor in a heap.

Kitty collapse

Have you ever had to reorganise your bookshelves? Did you find the task daunting or revel at the opportunity to mess around with your books for hours? Did you experience any of the same highs and lows that I did?! 🙂


Image Sources:
Dumbledore gif. / Tina Fey gif. / Sheldon Big Ban Theory gif. / New Girl gif. / Aragorn determined gif. / Hunger Games gif. / Buffy squint gif. / Hermione gif. / Angel gif. / Kitty gif. / Pictures of books and bookshelf my own, please do not reuse.

61 thoughts on “The 10 Stages of Bookshelf Reorganisation

  1. I am so jealous of your amazing new shelves! I just got a new book shelf, so these stages of rearranging are something that I know well!

  2. Okay I need to get this out of the way first: I am absolutely IN LOVE with your shelves. Oh my god they’re so beautiful! I’m so envious! Look at those empty shelves waiting to be filled… I too haven’t had any empty ones since forever!

    The 10 stages are so accurate too! My books could do with some serious reorganization; I mainly arrange them by height because categorizing them by genre would take ages! There might be a move for me in the near future and unfortunately I won’t be able to take all my books and most of them will have to remain on my old shelves, but that means I’ll have brand new bookcase waiting to be filled!

    Also, curious – did you do a book count? =D

    • Thank you, Zen! It took forever to get them exactly how I wanted but now I’m so happy with them. I was so excited to discover that I had enough room to fit all the bookshelves next to each other along one wall. 😀

      Hahaa, glad my reorganisation hysteria resonated with you too! Oooh arranging by height, I’ve never tried that. I do hate it when I have books that aren’t the same height together so maybe I should try that some time in the future. Ohh no, not a book cleansing! That’s a bookworms worst nightmare, good luck trying to choose what to keep, hopefully your new bookcase will make up for it. 🙂

      No I didn’t, I totally should have!

    • Thanks, Tanya. 🙂 Hahaa, I can understand your hesitancy because it’s quite an intimidating task. I can’t believe how long it took me to sort everything how I wanted it! The panic stage is the WORST. It’s definitely off putting. I wish you good luck for if you ever do take the plunge!

  3. You are insane but some of the organising nonsense I’ve indulged in with regards to computer parts and MP3 files means I can’t really judge you too harshly for it. Do I put the SODIMM RAM modules in with the DDR RAM or the PC133 RAM…? Decisions, decisions.

    That’s some awesome construction by the way, your shelves are bossing the entire house right now.

    • Haha, I sure am when it comes to my books! But I also really like it when my stuff is organised. I’m glad you can relate via your computer organising. I know I would have a serious crisis if I was faced with DDR vs PC133. 😛

      Ha! Thanks, the sofa and lamp downstairs are jealous of all the attention it’s getting.

  4. Quick!!!! You have empty shelves – you need to go book shopping stat!!!!! LOL

    Seriously, your new shelves look absolutely perfect and sooo pretty :). I have 40 feet of bookshelves that Mikey made for me in the basement, and when they were first finished somebody at his office said it was crazy because I would never fill them. Hahahaha!!! What a silly person who obviously is not a book lover! They are almost full now, and although they are organized, I do need to do some shifting because some sections are full. I have one section for paperback fiction and one for hardcover fiction because I don’t like to mix the sizes (tee hee), but that sometimes causes a problem if I have part of a series in paperback and part in hardcover. Oh, the dilemmas of a book freak :). Then I have a separate section for YA with a whole shelf dedicated to Harry Potter, including some Harry Potter figurines to keep the series company. I also have a non-fiction section and a shelf for the books that I managed to keep from my childhood. I wish I had kept them all, but I’m not sure what happened to half of them. Oh boy, now I have a desire to run downstairs and stare at my bookshelves and stroke all the lovely books. I know you will understand :).

    • Phahahaaaaa!!!!! You are SUCH a bad influence, I love it. 😀 It is funny how once you have empty shelves you do want to run out and buy more books to fill them up.

      Thank you, I can’t stop looking at them whenever I go in my room. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet. 🙂
      Your bookshelves sound so dreammmmyyyyy. The fact that someone didn’t think you would be able to fill them up is hilarious. They obviously don’t know how quickly you read or how much you love books, LOL. Also, if someone said something like that I would consider it a challenge. 😛
      Oooooh, I like that, that’s a good idea! I was actually having a similar problem when I was reorganising my new shelves. I didn’t like the way the hardbacks looked when they were next to the paperbacks. I might have to try that. Urrrggg, series that are half in paperback and half in hardcover are SO ANNOYING. I’m totally with you on that one. But question, what happens if you have a YA book that is ALSO a hardback?!

      You have Harry Potter figurines?! That is so cute, you have the best taste!

      DO IT. Your bookshelves are waiting for you, LOL.

      • Well, of course :). You don’t want those poor shelves to feel left out because they are empty. Go shopping I say LOL!!

        I did the same thing when my bookshelves were first done. I used to purposely go downstairs, stand and stare at them, and then sigh in happiness. I still do it quite frequently.

        As for the sizes, when I was your age, there was no such thing as “trade paperback” (the bigger size which I LOVE!). They were all the small paperbacks, so they definitely look silly next to hardcovers. That’s why I made the separate shelves. However, my YA section is a mixture of hardcover and trade paperback which are much closer in size to each other.

        My Harry Potter figurines are only a small sample of my Harry Potter collection. I have a whole trunk full of Harry Potter stuff. I have magazines, newspaper articles, a trading card collection, coin set, toothbrush :), coffee mug that reveals a picture on the side when you put hot liquid in it, an unopened copy of the first DVD, Harry’s wand from Universal Studios in Florida, more figurines, etc, etc. Then when we were in London, we had to catch a train at King’s Cross Station, so of course I took pictures of Platform 9 3/4, and I shopped in the store. I bought a Gryffindor pin, a golden train ticket, postcards, and Platform 9 3/4 t-shirts for both Mike and I :). Yes, I’m kind of a fan.

      • Ahh right I see, that does make sense. I have noticed that quite a lot of the YA hardbacks aren’t as big as the normal hardbacks. Still, you do get the occasional annoying one that’s bigger just to prove you wrong and mess up your whole system, LOL. I definitely prefer the trade paperbacks too, so much more impressive. 🙂

        Whoaaaa, that’s amazing!!! Especially the mug, it’s so cool that the picture appears when it’s hot! I don’t actually have that much Harry Potter memorabilia (I have a mug and a Ron jumper) but I spend a disproportionate amount of time staring at nerdy Harry Potter items online and feeling sad because they’re so expensive. Would you believe I’ve never been to Platform 9 and three quarters? It’s on my to-do list! I did however, manage to get to the Harry Potter Studios this summer which has to be one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. It was so emotional and inspiring to see all the sets. 😀

  5. I used to organise my books by publishing date!! It gave me a good sense of literary history, but I gave it up because whenever I bought a book that had been published earlier than the latest one (huh?!) I had to shuffle them all along the shelves!

    • Wow, that is super organised and so impressive! I would never even think of doing it that way but it’s a cool idea. I love the idea of literary history. 🙂 I can see how it must have gotten frustrating though, that would be so much effort to have to shuffle books round all the time, and to find the place where it should fit.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Hahaha – Been there! I absolutely love this post! You capture the emotion of a major book project perfectly. I especially hate that moment of panic where you realize you have to finish or you won’t be able to get out of the room or go to bed LOL. I am proud of you for putting on your Aragorn face and getting it done though – your shelves turned out really pretty! 🙂

    • Awwh, thank you Niki! So happy you liked it and could empathise with it. I hate the moment of panic too, it’s SO overwhelming. It’s always at that stage when everything is a mess and you wonder how it will ever go back to the way it was again. Eeep.
      Haha, when the Aragorn face comes out you know something serious is about to go down. 😛

  7. That was a fun post! Looks like you have some space to fill. And I spotted that copy of ‘Salems Lot on the floor!

    I had to clean out my bookshelves recently because a man nearly fell through the ceiling in the room where they’re kept and the whole room (and house) was coated in loft dust. It was a little odd to discover that when I put them back, I had *more* space than I started with. How does that work?

  8. So jealous! I’m still in the constant reorganizing, double stacking stage! Your stages are so accurate, but I feel like one is missing–the one where I get distracted rereading my favorite parts of all my books! 🙂 So happy for you though!!

  9. Youy had me laughing to bits while reading this! The gifs are all so AWESOME! My absolute faves were the exhausted cat and Hermione. (though anyone who knows the slightest thing about me knows that this is to be expected and VERY natural. What else could you expect from me anyway 😀 😀 :D)

    • Ohh yay, I’m so glad you liked it and that it made you laugh! I couldn’t leave the post without adding in at least one cat gif. 😛 Cats and Harry Potter, the two best things in life!

      You know, I’m not actually sure where the gif clip comes from in because it’s definitely not in the films, but it’s one of my faves! I think it might be from the bloopers or something because there’s a set guy in the background. The actors may have been mucking around before they said action. 🙂

      • Agreed! Yes, that was the conclusion that I came to. Because there was DEFINITELY no scene like that in the movies. And Snape was smiling.
        But I can’t imagine for the life of what would have set Dumbledore dancing like that XD Maybe a dare?


    Fabulous, just fabulous. I can relate to all stages – spectacular gif usage, too. Helloooo Aragorn 😉

    I’m monumentally jealous of your new shelves. Oh the space! The space for new books! This is something that I’m grossly lacking. However, in a strange parallel way, today 2 new shelves went up above my bed to try and ease my poor (tiny) bookcase. To be honest, the books aren’t even organised, I just randomly selected them (not even in alphabetical order. Your skills are needed here).

    If I’m in hospital or dead tomorrow, you’ll know that I was bashed around the head by my beloved books as they fell off the poorly fitted shelves. Maybe it wasn’t the cleverest idea to have them directly above my head. Ah well, BOOKS.

    • Hahaa! Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. 😀 This is the first gif based post I’ve ever done and I wasn’t sure how people were going to react so that’s great to hear.

      Having space is so surreal! It’s great to know that for a little while my quest to find more book space will be sorted out, my subconscious has been worrying about it for ages.
      Wohooo! Two new shelves for you, that’s awesome. As a book lover you deserve them. I think it’s great that your books aren’t organised, it’s like your some kind of book rebel or something! I can’t imagine not having a system, but at the same time no one says there HAS to be a system.

      Got it. Will check in at regular intervals to make sure your books haven’t murdered you. Good luck playing Russian roulette with your shelves. 😛

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  12. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to spend a day with all their books lovingly dusting them down? Lol. You crack me up, but I totally get this. What beautiful new bookshelves you have, Becky.

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  15. Great post! This is completely accurate. I went through all of these stages when I had to reorganize my shelves. It’s even worse when you have your shelves exactly how you want them, and then you buy more books and have no where to put them.

    • Thank you so much! Congrats on organising your own shelves, it sure is a big task right? Ohh my gosh, YES, I know exactly what you mean! I’ve already had to shuffle quite a few books around to make room for new ones, and I didn’t even finish organising my shelves that long ago.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

    • Thank you, Zoe. 🙂 I’m so happy you like the shelves! I’m managing to keep the neat for now but who know how long it will last, lol.
      Ohh no! But just think how happy and pleased you will feel when it’s all done. 🙂 It’s an intimidating task but worth it in the end.

      Thanks for reading!

  16. See, this post shows I should postpone buying new shelves for yet another year. I don’t think I can handle this kind of stress yet :p Very entertaining though (especially with the gifs. Aragorn had me in giggles. I did NOT expect him to pop up!). I’m impressed with your new shelves. They look very pretty!

    • Haha! It’s definitely not something you should go into lightly, I learnt that the hard way, LOL.
      So glad you found the post entertaining and that you liked the shelves! Ohh yeah, I try to fit Aragorn and anything Lord of the Rings into as many posts as possible. 😉

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