Sunday Salon: Moving + BBW

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We have officially moved! There is still much unpacking to be done, but the hard part is over. As I was looking around the new apartment at what we’d gotten done so far, I realized that, after I get the furniture in place, I always unpack the same category next. Dishes, so I can cook? Clothes, so I can find something to wear every morning? Nope, and nope. It’s books, every time. Here is a picture of our new dining room:

Dining Room Unpacking ChaosIt’s in shambles, except for…the cookbook shelf. I’ve been thinking about why, every time I move, I always unpack my books first. The obvious reason is that I love my books. But also, books are easy for me because, once I find homes for their shelves, I know how to put my books away: fiction on one bookshelf (alphabetical by author), biographies/memoirs on another (alphabetical by subject), YA and children’s books on a third, other nonfiction grouped by topic wherever there’s room. In contrast, it takes many days and much brainpower to rework my kitchen and closet storage systems.

I also love rediscovering my books as I unpack them. Because I have to pick up each book to put it away, I end up leafing through pages I haven’t looked at since, well, my last move. And? There is nothing like a well ordered bookshelf to make a room look put together, even when the rest of it is in chaos! The only room in the apartment that is almost completely together is my tiny office. That’s because it’s almost all books!

Office Unpacking

If you’re wondering, that’s my YA/children’s bookshelf sticking out on the left, and the two tall shelves are mostly fiction.

As for reading, moving has prevented me from getting much done. Before Banned Books Week I was working on Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago, which is both fascinating and wonderfully written. I’ve set it aside for a few days, however, while I work on The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac, translated by Sarah Adams and illustrated by Quentin Blake, and my Banned Books Week picks. I’ve started The Rights of the Reader, which I rediscovered while unpacking, and the audio version of The Great Gatsby, and I am really enjoying both. It’s been a long time since I’ve loved every one of the books I’m reading and listening to, so this is a real treat!

I’m off to take a break from unpacking and watch some football. My question for you: how do you organize your books?

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24 Comments

  1. LOL. I am soooo totally the same way. I’d rather put away all of my books, first, then get around to the rest of the house. Sure, maybe the kids need clothes… but they can wear what they’re wearing ’til mommy puts away her books! LOL. 😛

    Your shelves look great, btw! Congrats on your move! We’re probably moving next year, once my hubby’s done school, and I’m both hugely excited about it (we haven’t moved in 8 years), and I’m also scared… last time we moved, I had only about 300 books, and it took about 20 boxes… now I have over 1200 books… Eek! 😛

    ~MizB

    1. Ha, exactly! Oooh, that is a LOT of books. I haven’t counted mine, but I don’t have anywhere near 1200! We did get rid of a bunch of books, though. Nothing like the prospect of packing and moving to get you to pare down your belongings!

    1. My collection is very heavy on fiction, YA/kids’, and biography/memoir, which is why those get their own spots. I have just a single shelf of general nonfiction (things like Freakonomics and such), so they just get alphabetized by author. I also have enough books on certain topics to warrant grouping them together: knitting, gardening, language, and so forth. My work in a bookstore has gotten me arranging along the same lines we used at the store. I bet if I’d worked in a library instead I’d be using Dewey Decimal! Do you use that in your personal library?

    1. Huh, interesting! Do you tend to rearrange your book system when you move? I think it would be hard for me to unpack and arrange if I had to come up with a new organization system every time I moved. Which is why I hate kitchen things and closets!

  2. I am not sure if would unpack my books first, or save them for last. I like reorganising my shelves, but then I always want to try a different system and there is never enough room for all my books anyway.. which is why in the end, I think they would come last.

    1. I’ve had the not enough room problem before. This time I actually went out and bought a new shelf, which helped immensely. Everything fit, and I even have a little extra space! It won’t take me long to fill it, but at least everything fits for the time being.

  3. I’m in a book slump, so I decided to reorganize my shelves. I made a huge pile of books that I’m taking with me in a few weeks to the Texas Book Festival to give away. I made a new stack of books that I want to read and I’m going to try one from this stack today.

    Good luck with your unpacking!

    1. That’s a great idea — reorganizing for inspiration! I guess that’s kind of what moving does for me, since I move at least once a year. Just packing and unpacking the books forces me to look at each one again. I love the idea of making a stack of books you want to read. My shelves are my TBR pile, but having a stack would be sort of like a Priority TBR!

  4. Love your office, turning round your chair from your desk to see bookshelves, very inspiring! My books are in boxes at the moment and have been for a while so they are sorted only by ones read and ones not read, with author’s work put together where space allows.

    Unpacking your books makes the room look lived in while you unpack the rest, sounds a good idea!

      1. Wow, good eyes! I’ve always been interested in India, so I studied Sanskrit just for the heck of it in college. After that I bought the Hindi book, intending to teach myself for fun (I love languages!), but I didn’t get too far. Oddly, I’m now married to an Indian, so I have his native language (Malayalam) to learn. Then maybe I’ll go back to Hindi. You know, if my brain hadn’t exploded! Do you speak or study Hindi?

          1. Since WordPress maxes out at 5 threaded comments, I sent you an email re: Hindi learning! I hope it goes through.

    1. It is inspiring! Fiction has always felt more personal than nonfiction, so I like having that in my private space. The nonfiction lives in the living room!

      Though it sounds like your books aren’t in their permanent home, organizing by read vs. not read would be an interesting experiment! I bet my unread collection would be embarrassingly large, though.

    1. That’s a cool idea. I think, though, that I’d end up rearranging them constantly. Are you pretty good about picking an order and sticking to it? How far out to do you plan your reading?

  5. My books were sort of organized…I had a travel memoir shelf, and a travel guidebooks shelf, and a hardcover shelf, and a non-fiction shelf. Now, it’s just wherever I can find room!

    1. I can understand switching to the wherever-there’s-space method! I think I’d go crazy, though, not knowing exactly where a book is when I go looking for it. I guess I’m a little too into organization! 🙂

  6. Congratulations on your move! I think your priorities are in the right place when it comes to unpacking – books, books, books! Your apartment looks like a nice place!

    Jose Saramago is a wonderful author. I haven’t read The Rights of the Reader but I am looking forward to what you have to say about it! Great Gatsby is a favorite of mine, a terrific book!

    I confess that my books aren’t really organized. I like them in all different order next to each other!

    ~ Amy

    1. Thanks! We really like it. Plenty of space for books!

      I’m just discovering Saramago and am thrilled he has other books out there. I will have things to say about The Rights of the Reader…good things!

      I think I worked in a bookstore too long to leave my books unorganized. But so many people seem to have at least some element of randomness in their collections that I might have to give it a try!

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