Author Topic: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!  (Read 1268 times)

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Thipu1

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S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« on: February 21, 2013, 02:41:49 PM »
In our living room, we have a shelving unit 37 feet long and five shelves high.  The thing is packed.  There are also full book cases of varying sizes scattered around the place.  Every window sill is loaded.  The only places you can't see books are in the bathrooms. 

We need to get this collection into some sort of order but, since our books literally cover the range from Aeronautics to Zyzergy, we have a problem.  I'm a retired librarian and should be able to do this but, every time I begin, there's so much barge-toting and bale-hauling to be done I feel like I'm trying to solve a Rubik's Cube wearing a blindfold. 

I don't want to go back to the text books and classify the whole mess in Sears, Dewey or LC.  That wouldn't quite work for us because  Mr. Thipu might not understand those methods. 

I do try to use the CIP information to determine where something should go but we have so many things that fall between two stools. Should 'the Brooklyn Cook Book' go with the other cook books in the kitchen or would it be better placed in the local history section?  Should the 'Pickpocket's Tale' be placed in the true crime or the NYC history section? 

Please do not suggest that the whole collection be shelved in alphabetical order.  Any and all other suggestions will be seriously considered.       

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 02:51:07 PM »
Sort by genre.  If you have any books that fall into two genres, set them aside, for now.  Pack up any you are willing to sell/donate/pitch right away and get them out before somebody decides to change their mind.

Designate one area per genre and reshelve everything by that genre in that area.  Then look at your fall betweens.  Shelve them with the genre that has the most space, or the most appropriate genre if you can decide at that point.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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mandycorn

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 02:54:11 PM »
Okay, this is going to sound wacky, but... do you remember what book you want by how it looks? If you know you're looking for, for instance, a murder mystery with a black leather cover or a cookbook with a soft green cover, you could try grouping them by color and then by some other method (topic, author, title, etc).

I've seen several pictures online of a bookstore that has tried that approach, which seems like trouble, but in your own personal collection, if that's the way you remember books, that might actually be manageable. I would skip that approach for series, though, so they're all together, even if they aren't all bound the same way.

My parents' books are grouped by type, mostly, all text books together, all coffee table books together, all children's books together, but then within those groupings, I don't think there's much order.
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MrTango

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 03:05:28 PM »
We're having a similar problem at home, but on a much smaller scale.

I'd go with sorting by genre.  If there's something that could go between two genres, think about why you would be looking for that particular book and where you would first go to look.

For your cookbook example, I'm guessing that you'd be more likely to go looking for that book because you're looking for a particular recipe than for a history lesson.  If that's the case, sort it with the cookbooks.

MommyPenguin

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 03:15:10 PM »
I agree with MrTango.  I'd put it by where you'd look for the book.  The Brooklyn Cookbook with cookbooks because that's what you'd probably use it for.  I'd put the Pickpocket's Tale with true crime, because that's probably what I'd be looking for when I read it.  However, if you'd be more likely to look for it when you want to read books about NYC, then you could put it there.

I organize my nonfiction by type, but not according to Dewey Decimal or anything.  I just sort of put all my linguistics books before French, Hebrew, and Chinese, my husband's math books together, engineering together, all Bible study books together, etc.  But I don't attempt to make the linguistics/languages the 400s and the math and engineering in the 500s and 600s, or anything.  Usually once they're sorted, I just eye the shape and size of the books and shelves and decide what makes the most sense (if a lot of the linguistics books are tall, I look for a shelf that has more room in the height, etc.).  I might also put lesser-used books on the highest or lowest shelves, or double-stacked (a row of books in back and a row in front) since they will be accessed more rarely.

For fiction, I do alphabetize by author, and I don't usually sort by subject.  When I'm setting it up, I figure out how much room I need.  I estimate which shelf to put something on by assuming that K or L goes in the middle (I have more books by authors with names early in the alphabet, with Jane Austen and Agatha Christie really skewing the results.

RebeccainGA

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 03:17:24 PM »
We have a similar set up, and similar problems. I have all the fiction sequestered in one area (that stuff multiplies otherwise!) and then have them more by activity than genre - philosophy and religion together (DP's sermon materials), all the crafts and games and cookbooks together (keep busy stuff), science, math and computer theory together (reference and lending), theatre and dance together (what do you call that kind of show? who did that? stuff), etc. I also am fond of grouping by size/binding type within those categories - isn't always the easiest for finding if I can't remember what the book looks like, but it makes the shelves look more orderly, and allows me to double stack the trade paperbacks if I start running out of space.

Good luck. When we finally get all the books unpacked and sorted, it'll be time to buy a new house!

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 03:19:27 PM »
When I suggested sort by genre, I didn't necessarily mean by established genres.  Sort them into whatever groups you like, as long as it makes sense to you and your DH.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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makotohanabi

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 03:19:51 PM »
Sort by genre for starters. Then look at your collection. Do you have books that are part of a series or many books from one author? Do they fit into another category?

When DH and I got married we first sorted out books by genre, in our case it's 90% Science Fiction/Fantasy and History/Politics. DH owns every Star Wars novel ever written so we gave them their own bookshelf. Then we organized the shelves into series or author depending on the number of books (Wheel of Time gets it's own shelf and prolific authors like Harry Turtledove also get their own shelf). We also then sorted books on themes like alternate history, historical fiction, or anthologies. Political books are sorted by author and history is sorted by time frame (Roman empire, Civil War).

We tweaked our system maybe once or twice a year for book culls and to add new books. DH is a reviewer so keeping the books organized especially if he's reviewing a series makes things easier for him.

For books that fit into one or more category, ask yourself why you bought that book. To use your example, OP, do you use The Brooklyn Cookbook as a cookbook or do you read it for the history? I own a copy of A Feast of Ice and Fire that has recipes from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. It stays on the GRRM shelf because I bought it to ooh and ahh over the food.

Elisabunny

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 03:36:00 PM »
We have enough books that we made one room in our very small house into The Library.  Like others have suggested, we've organized the books mostly by genre, with overlap books in the section that basically feels right.  So just do just do whatever makes sense to you.   The main thing is that you should be able to say something on the order of, "You should find that in x section of the y shelf, with the z books."
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Editeer

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 06:18:53 PM »
I agree with MrTango.  I'd put it by where you'd look for the book.  The Brooklyn Cookbook with cookbooks because that's what you'd probably use it for.  I'd put the Pickpocket's Tale with true crime, because that's probably what I'd be looking for when I read it.  However, if you'd be more likely to look for it when you want to read books about NYC, then you could put it there.

I organize my nonfiction by type, but not according to Dewey Decimal or anything.  I just sort of put all my linguistics books before French, Hebrew, and Chinese, my husband's math books together, engineering together, all Bible study books together, etc.  But I don't attempt to make the linguistics/languages the 400s and the math and engineering in the 500s and 600s, or anything.  Usually once they're sorted, I just eye the shape and size of the books and shelves and decide what makes the most sense (if a lot of the linguistics books are tall, I look for a shelf that has more room in the height, etc.).  I might also put lesser-used books on the highest or lowest shelves, or double-stacked (a row of books in back and a row in front) since they will be accessed more rarely.


We do it this way, too. We have somewhere over 2,000 books, sorted by genre/subject and then partly by size. The idea is to put things where they make sense to *you*. For instance, my husband has several shelves of "Fiction I Studied in College." He keeps those books all together because it's a meaningful category for him. I used to keep a history of the Donner Party with the cookbooks. (It amused me, if no one else.)

Amara

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 07:05:04 PM »
My living room shelves are sorted by category because my books, with the exception of classical literature, are almost all nonfiction. I tried it by color once because the online images of that are so gorgeous. And it is spectacular, but I couldn't get past the discombobulated feeling it produced. 

Though I didn't use them, I really love the suggestions Henry Petroski, author of The Book on the Bookshelf, a book I highly recommend, had at the end of it for shelving ideas. Once you pass the practical, they are some of the most entertaining if not entirely practical ones Iíve ever come across.

Authorís last name
Title
Subject
Size
Horizontally
Color
Hardbacks and paperbacks
Publisher
Read/unread
Order of acquisition
Order of publication
Dewey Decimal system
Library of Congress system
ISBN (International Book Standard Number)
Price
New and used
Enjoyment
Sentimental value
Provenance

More esoteric arrangements: (subtitle, authorís first name, opening sentence, closing sentence, third sentence, antepenultimate sentence, reverse-order spelling of last word in index, number or words, number of entries in index).

Betelnut

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 07:09:40 PM »
I do a general division by fiction/nonfiction, then general subject.  I put all my graphic novels and comic strip books together.  All art books together.  Fiction CAN by alphabetized by author but I do fiction split into adult/juvenile.

All bird books together, all books about food/cooking together.  For your example on the Brooklyn cookbook--is it mostly history or mostly recipes?  If really an even 50/50, put it where you instinctively would look for it first.

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Slartibartfast

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 07:24:16 PM »
I suggest sorting by the mood you'd have to be in to pick that particular book up or the purpose you hope to achieve by reading it.  That would mean things like "cookbooks that have recipes in them" would be one place and "'cook'books which are really nonfiction about food" would go with nonfiction.  I have my fiction at home separated by genre and then by "would I pick this up while browsing for light reading?"  One section of shelves is "stuff visitors might pick up to read when they stay with us," which encompasses light fiction as well as some popular science and interesting (but not too taxing) nonfiction.  I also have a section for more serious stuff - Great-American-novel-type fiction, philosophical nonfiction, etc.

DH's bookshelves are downstairs - they sort into "math/physics/computer programming," "Eastern philosophy," and "science fiction"  :P

In a practical sense, this organizational method requires less maintenance because books don't have to be shelved in precisely the same place every time.  It also helps for when you're looking for something to read - you know where to look based on what kind of book you want to find  :)

ETA: secondary benefit of this organization is that if you pick up a book and can't figure out where to put it because you can't envision wanting to read it again in ANY mood, you know it's probably safe to give away  ;)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 07:26:28 PM by Slartibartfast »

Thipu1

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 08:10:29 PM »
Thanks for all the ecellent suggestions. Amara, special thanks for reminding me of Petoski..  I read 'The Book on the Bookshelf' many years ago and remember it fondly. I'll have to see about getting another copy. 

When my uncle was in seminary, the librarian decided it would be a cheerful thing to shelve the library by color.  For obvious reasons, that didn't work too well. 

Our reference section is in pretty good shape.  The same can be said for science and technology as well as trains, planes and ships.  We're currently working on our history section and we're getting to the Medieval period.

We've decided that fiction will go into one of the back rooms.  We'll divide that into 'his' and 'hers'.

As everyone here knows, just airing a problem can go a long way towards solving it. 

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Miss Tickle

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Re: S/O of 'Clean Your House' books, Books, Books!
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2013, 11:21:51 PM »
I sort by size. All the little books are on the little bookselves, all the big books on the tall shelves. Then by colour. You don't?

I think your plan is good, but don't sort fiction into his and hers. Only you two can make that distinction, it wouldn't make sense to anyone else. If you or your DH want to reread something you can find it alphabetically, if someone else wants a book they won't have to search two times.