I own 222 unread print books. That number comes from Goodreads, but I feel it’s accurate. To ensure everything’s accounted for, I’m rather organised.
Recently, a pile of books collapsed from a gust of wind. Repiling them according to my chronological list, I realised two books weren’t on the list, mistakenly deleted at some stage. Unable to stand disorganisation for too long, I took the logical move.
I took every book off my shelf, and created a new list from scratch.
So if you want to organise a large quantity of books, here’s how I do it:
1. With pen and paper, inventory every book. This requires a lot of floor space to create piles. Stack alphabetically by author. When a particular author has several books, guess their order. The copyright page has the year. When an author has multiple releases from the one year, just guess. 100% accuracy is not required now, but it certainly helps.
2. On your list, note how many pages each book has. This is because I keep another list, ordered from least amount of pages to most. You know those challenges when you try to read so many books in a year? You’ll get more books read quicker if you read the shortest ones first. With varying font and page sizes, the order might not be entirely accurate by word count, but it’ll do.
3. Use the Internet to note each book’s original publication date. I use Amazon for US/CA books, Amazon UK for UK books, and Angus & Robertson for AU books.
4. Type up your handwritten pages. I use Notepad. (If I was smarter, I’d figure out how to use Excel, and cross-reference stuff, and organise books by author/release/pages, but I’ve forgotten everything I learned in high school.)
5. Cut and paste until your list is in chronological order of release date. When particular dates have more than one release, organise that day by pages. (That other list does come in handy.)
6. Making a new list, copy and paste until this new list in page number order. More than one book has 450 pages? Order by release date.
7. Save these files, and keep them updated with new additions, damn it! Because starting from scratch is a pain in the arse.
8. Stack your books onto shelves/piles. I use chronological order. Don’t just slap your books onto a pile – line them up neatly, and don’t stack them too high. This way they’re less likely to collapse. Where possible, keep out of reach of gusts of wind from open windows. Optional: Keep them away from pets or any human who’s naughty enough to mix up your precious order.
9. Choose a book to read. Once I’m done reading library books, I’ll move onto my own. I plan to read reverse chronologically, so when it comes to award season time, I’ll have read as many 2013 books as possible. (I actually don’t currently own any 2013 books, so it’s back to 2012.)
This is just my organisation, and yours may vary. I’ve heard some people organise by colour, but I’m left-brained so that’s out of my capabilities. If you try my method, and if it really works for you, be sure to let my ego know.