Organizing my books by color

Some time ago I saw photos online of home libraries organized by color.

Naturally, I assumed people who organize their books by color have an abundance of free time in which to accomplish such a task.


I was wrong.

It’s okay to be wrong once in a while, as long as you own up to your mistakes.

organizing my books by color

In the space of a very short afternoon I was able to organize all my bookshelves by color.

I mean, I organize my closet by color, and I organize my shoes with photographs.

Why did I think my bookshelves should be exempt?

organizing my books by color

For someone like me, who’s just the teensiest bit O.C.D., having my books organized by color is Shangri-La.  Absolute happiness.

It makes my bookshelves look like they really have their act together, which I appreciate.  A good bookshelf is hard to find.

It adds a certain element of decor, and it makes my eyes feel happy when I rest on whole blocks of color at a time.

Have you done anything lately in your home that made your heart sing?  Perhaps your dishes are stacked in a spectacular fashion, or your keys are always in the same place.  Do share, will you?

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Naomi :

    I worked in record stores too long, I have to have mine in thematic groups then organized by author. Lame, I know, and certainly nowhere near as attractive…

    • Allison :

      I used to do it that way. Education, religion, family, etc. But the color thing lured me in!

  2. Helena :

    I’m slowly coming around to the idea of organizing books by color. I like the look, but was always worried it would make it tricky to find certain volumes. However, I’ve been assured this is not the case. I’ll have to give it a try.

    • Allison :

      Helena, I think it’s actually WAY easier to find stuff organized by color. I think I notice the titles more, if that makes sense.

  3. Monica N :

    I’ve had my books organized by color for years and absolutely love it. It does get easier to find titles and just plain looks better. Mine are also by height. I also have a strict pantry order too, all goods need to be organized into type {canned beans, veggies, fruits, dry goods, snacks etc} and must all face front. Must!

    • Allison :

      Mine are by height too! I can’t handle it any other way. But now you’ve got me ready to organize my pantry Monica!

  4. robyn :

    I did this when I moved offices at work (I work for a publisher and have MANY books on my shelves). It still gives me a sigh of happiness to look at them, particularly when I recall how they used to look in my old office—of course, the fact that I have 300% more shelving this time around helps too.

    • Allison :

      300% more shelving? I want in on that goodness. But seriously, isn’t it amazing what it does for your sense of peace to look over and see total organization? Makes my brain happy.

  5. Aimee :

    I’ve always loved the look of books organized by color, but my brain would go crazy not having them organized by subject! :)

    • Allison :

      I love it Aimee. I used to have them by subject, but now that I’ve gone by color, I don’t think there’s any going back for me!

  6. Lindsey Johnson//Cafe Johnsonia :

    True story–I have the exact same copy of Edgar Allen Poe stories. Green and everything.

    I love books organized by color, but I married a librarian. That ain’t happening, but neither is the Dewey Decimal System come to think of it… :)

    • Allison :

      I knew I loved you more than was healthy already, but the Edgar Allen Poe just sealed the deal.

      You did marry a librarian! My whole family are either librarians or teachers, so I love that you have them organized like that.

  7. Rain :

    I just bought a cheap0 book shelf, and some tins–all the same color–to organize my accessories: Brown, Black, Blue, Orange, Green, etc.
    It makes me happy to see so much order, and when I have an outfit that needs that perfect ring or bracelet or scarf? I know right where it is.
    Cause I’m OCD, as well. Maybe more than I’d like to admit.

    • Allison :

      I don’t like admitting it either. Sometimes it’s a trial when I’m organizing my organization into the ground. I do really like the organizing of accessories by color though, it’s genius! I’m on it…..

  8. E Leeds :

    Oh man… I want to. But go figure that this week I finally got around the alphabetizing them!

    • Allison :

      Oh, alphabetizing! Now that’s something I’ve never done. Do you love it? You’re tempting me to come over to the other side, but the prettiness of the color has me sold on this idea. FOR NOW.

  9. Pennie :

    By color! That actually sounds awesome. Looks so pwetty.

    When I was a teenager I had my CDs organized alphabetically by label, then artist, then album. LOTS of free time.

    • Allison :

      Oh man, to have the free time we did as youth!

  10. Theresa :

    Sorry, still have to have mine organized alphabetically by author and then by book title. And yes all of my labels in my cupboards are face forward and in order by food item….. what can I say?

    • Allison :

      Ha! Ha. Theresa, you’re my kind of girl! I had my books organized like a library, themed and then organized by author, but the color organization makes me so much more happy!

  11. Mom101 :

    Oh my gosh Allison, Gabby Blair inspired me to do this too and I started with a single shelf in my bedroom…

    I can’t tell you the joy I get every night looking at that shelf. It’s like therapy. I get it now. (I was wrong too!)

    • Allison :

      I probably saw it first on Design Mom too, or on Kirtsy somewhere. It’s made such a huge difference for me aesthetically. I did the same thing in my room and I look at the shelves every night as I fall asleep, so soothing.