Book Organization

This post was originally published on Brown Paper PackagesCheck out Kierste's fabulous series "A Place For Everything!"

Once upon a time, I was a first grade teacher. 

Naturally, I collected A LOT of books... Can you believe that thousands of books were just sitting in plastic tubs in our garage?!  They were in desperate need of a little organization!  I was thrilled when I had a sweet friend inspire me with her book organization.  Thanks, Tiff, for this great idea!

This has been a long time coming, but I finally collected ALL of my books, cataloged them, and color coded them so that even Little Man can put them away.

The first step was cataloging! I decided to organize the books by author's last name. But I also tagged the books by topics, book series, holidays, etc. so I could easily find books that I want to pull out for a special occasion.

Now I can easily check to see if I have a book before purchasing a duplicate copy!  (I have a bad habit of collecting several copies of the same books!)

Doesn't this rainbow of dot stickers make you happy?! Well, I ordered all different shades of dots to help me color code the books.  (You can see where I ordered these here on Amazon.)

Next, I created a book key for each letter of the alphabet. Just about every book, I coded by author's last name.  But I labeled board books, golden books, and chapter books separately because I planned to organize them separately.  I added dots and stars to dots to vary them a bit when I ran out of new colors.

As I cataloged each book in my list, I matched the author's last name to the book key to the appropriate colored dot.

Book tape is one of my favorite things in the world!  I stuck the colored dot to the spine of each book, and used book tape to secure it.

Isn't this a happy sight?!

Using poster board, I created sections for each letter of the alphabet with matching dot stickers.

We were lucky enough to find a set of book shelves that fits into Little Man's closet. We have been teaching him how to match the colored dot on the books so he knows where to put his books away. So far he follows the rules like a champ!

However, I am a firm believer in rotating toys and books.  The books on these shelves stay in Little Man's closet--and he knows these books are off limits for every day browsing.  Every 2 weeks or so, I rotate his books.  These shelves are kind of like "home base."

For now, he has full access to these shelves in his bedroom...

He has full access to his board books and a collection of other books.  I plan on rotating the books on these shelves so he is constantly entertained by new stories!  We have used this system for 4 months now, and it works like a charm!

This Little Man has always loved to read books. Now, we finally have a book organization system that works for us!

Getting organized feels SO good!  I am proud of my book collection, and now it really works.

Enjoy your week!

PS Today you can find me over at A Little Tipsy, where I'm sharing in Michelle's fun Make a Memory series!  Come stop by and say hello!

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  1. Will you please, please, please come to my house and do this!! LOL
    I was seriously thinking of getting a Librarian student to come to my house and catalogue all my books – it’s so much work! This is truly amazing!

  2. It looks like a library in his closet! Such a great idea!

  3. Can you share what software/program you used for cataloging your books? I do not recognize the chart/set-up and I’m trying to organize my classroom library this summer as well! I am going from a 1st grade classroom to a pre-k classroom and would love to be able to easily locate all of my books on certain topics, etc. Thanks for sharing this post – it’s a little funny, but I am MOST excited about the labels you shared — I have looked everywhere for more colors than the standard 6 sold in most office supply stores. Thank you!

  4. I am a self proclaimed card catalog nerd (All my “grown up” books are cataloged) and this just brought out the nerdiness in me even more. Thanks for that. 🙂

  5. Fantastic idea! Our books are out of control, and I know the pile will only continue to grow. We might need to try something like this at our house! Thanks for the inspiration, Alison!

  6. SO fun! It’s such a teacher thing to do 🙂 I organize mine in baskets with a sticker designated for each basket (the books all have a corresponding sticker on them so they can be put away in the right basket)

    There’s a picture in this post:

  7. I like this idea, maybe I’ll rearrange how I’m doing mine……..

  8. This speaks to my teacher self…. I love book organization. I am terrible about rotating toys and books, because I totally forget to do it. Love your system!!

  9. I LOVE this idea. I’m just organizing my kindergarten room library for the new school year and I’ve been very frustrated. I wanted to do the whole baskets with labels thing, but the reality is that my books don’t fit my baskets well, and my baskets don’t fit my shelf well, and I am still not feeling great about it. But this post just solved all my problems! I can have my books organized, fit more on my shelves, and have a way for the kids to put them back. Plus is encourages them to learn and understand how books are organized in the real world. I mean really – everywhere books are they are usually organized by author’s last name. Genius – I can’t wait to get to work on it! I will definitely post pics on my blog when I’m done.

    Mrs. Peterson’s Room

  10. I’m drooling over here! I foresee my little guy having a boat load of books within the next couple of years, so I’ll definitely be coming back to this!

  11. What a great idea. I have our books all sorted, but not color coded… May I ask what size paper you used for the alphabetizing? I hate to ask as I know you are a busy mom, but if you wouldn’t mind sharing the file for printing those, it would be much appreciated!

  12. I am utterly amazed at this… even more so that your son can file!! Come teach my kids! You should have seen their bookshelves today. They were empty b/c every single book was on the floor. What a mess!

    I’d love to have you link up with my linky party at The Southern Institute! It’s open Monday-Saturday night and I choose a featured blog every week! Come on over!

  13. As a former 2nd/3rd grade teacher – I just swoon over all of this. I’m in LOVE! My little munchkin is really still only allowed to use board books – she even chews on the board books still….but SOON, I’ll be getting out all of my other classroom books and will be marking this post for future reference FOR SURE!


    Reasons To Skip The Housework {The Blog}
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  14. I love your site! can we donate some goodies to you?


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