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The Shelf Life Of Books: Shelving Solutions

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The Shelf Life Of Books: Shelving Solutions

“A house without books is like a house without windows.”

For booklovers who live by Horace Mann’s quote, books are bound to be an element of a well-rounded nest. From the comments on this post, it’s evident that many of us are insatiable readers (myself included). But, many of us are dissatisfied (myself included) by the organizational skills we possess for managing the volumes of accumulated books.

For a naturally calming decor, books can emanate the peace we crave for our homes. Yet, sometimes clutter takes over and our books get scattered around the house with no organizational rhyme or reason.

How to Take Care of Books
(This list is adapted from a Martha Stewart article, the queen-bee of cleanliness and organization)

Most books are sturdy and resilient if handled with reasonable care.
Never pull a book from a shelf by its spine.
Don’t pack books tightly onto shelves.
Stacks shouldn’t be too high, and the books in them should be rotated frequently.
Large books are best stored horizontally on shelves to reduce stress on their spines.
Be careful with dust jackets, which add value to books; remove them when reading, and protect those of fragile or valuable books with clear plastic or acid-free glassine covers. (No, no Martha, that’s not eco-friendly. Watch this video to find out how to cover a book with a plain brown paper bag.)

Photo credit: From Chotda’s photostream on Flicker

Next: 6 ideas for bookshelf inspiration and 50 weird and absurd ways to use a book

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
9:11PM PDT on Apr 29, 2015

Nice answers in replace of the question with real point of view and explaining about that. pushback racking

3:53AM PST on Dec 23, 2012


5:04PM PDT on Mar 22, 2010

Have to have my books!

6:35PM PST on Mar 1, 2010

Keep the books you love. Share the books that inspire you. Use the public library often.

7:55PM PST on Jan 28, 2010

Great article; thank you, Ronnie. In my house we tend to keep our most beloved, personal books in our bedrooms. All textbooks, general interest, cookbooks and health books are grouped together on bookshelves in whichever room they're most convenient. And we keep at least one dictionary in every room.

7:59AM PST on Jan 27, 2010

Hmmm . . . I don't know what kinds of books the owner(s) of the room in the photo above buy/own/read as the spines of these are ALL in vibrant, neon-like colours.

My own books - and those of my partner, too! - have spines that are mostly in rather drab colours (or non-colours!) such as white; cream; shades of grey; black; beige; brown; different shades of blue (usually navy, or dull nuances of blue - the Pelican paperbacks fit into this category); maroon; darkish red; orange (Penguin paperbacks); drab, dull nuances of green and, finally, "multi". It simply would not be remotely possible for us to achieve the kind of dayglo arrangement on our bookshelves that is pictured above.

8:31PM PST on Jan 26, 2010

good ideas there

3:11PM PST on Jan 25, 2010

A wall full of books is good isolation against cold and noise.

12:20PM PST on Jan 16, 2010


10:56AM PST on Jan 16, 2010

love the look of my books when tidy on shelves thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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