coraa: (bookses)
[personal profile] coraa
Yesterday we had fajitas! They were delicious. Thank you to everyone who voted in the poll.

Today's question:

Right now, I have bookshelves that are not organized in any way. This is somewhat unfortunate when I am trying to find books.

I know what organization scheme I want: fiction separated from nonfiction, fiction sorted by author and then by series and then by title, nonfiction separated by subject and then by author. Graphic novels, manga, and RPG sourcebooks in their own section, sorted by type and then by series and then in internal ordering. Anthologies in their own sections, sorted by genre and then editor. Cookbooks are already in their own section, but need to be sorted by genre and then by author. I am undecided on whether artbooks will go in their own section or in the art section of nonfiction.

What I'm trying to figure out is:

- Is there any way to achieve this system of organization without pulling every book I own off the shelves and onto the floor, and then sorting them? I fear for what will happen if I pull every book off the shelves and stack them up on the floor. (I suspect not, but hope springs eternal.)

- Assuming I must pull everything off the shelves to do the sorting: do you have any recommendation for how to do this in the way that is most efficient/least likely to leave me with stacks of books all over my floor for the next six months?

(I also hope to catalog them in Goodreads, but that is going to necessarily happen after, not before, the physical sorting and organization.)

Thank you. :D

Date: 2012-08-21 08:52 pm (UTC)
sollers: me in morris kit (Default)
From: [personal profile] sollers
I confronted this problem some years ago (though laziness in reshelving means I will probably have to do it again soon)

Cookery books: no problem (from this point of view) as they live in the kitchen.

Fiction books live in my bedroom

Art books have always been shelved separately as so many of them are very big.

For the rest: I got a set of folding plastic crates, at least one for each category. As books were taken off the shelves they went into the crates; this meant no toppling piles of books. It also looks efficient rather than dispiriting, and as one crate for a category is filled the second crate can be put on top, it takes up significantly less floor space.

Date: 2012-08-21 10:22 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
I did Zeno's Paradox, kind of--estimated the required space, moved parts of things, and re-estimated as necessary. It's a lot easier to sort volumes within a few feet of space than between two rooms, so I stuck all the scholarly stuff haphazardly onto certain shelves (and other categories onto other shelves), then took the next two or three months moving things around within categories.

Date: 2012-08-22 03:25 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yeah, in library shelving we called that sorting and "fine sorting" - first you get all the philosophy books in one place, then separate them out by era, or author, or school, or whatever. It's a lot easier to separate out two or three bigger piles than to try to set aside a lot of smaller piles from a big pile.

Date: 2012-08-22 03:23 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Mwerk, I have books piled all over the floor even _with_ bookshelves, oh dear....I think the above suggestions about either segregating books by room, or using some kind of container (crates, paper bags, small boxes) are good. Or maybe also pulling all the fiction out of one bookcase, setting it aside, and then putting nonfiction in its place - sort of swap books around in an ongoing process, if that makes sense. Which is annoying and takes longer, but is one way to avoid having piles all over the floor. (This is the only way I got all my Woolf in one place - pulled various volumes out as I found them and put them together in one bookshelf, making room by taking out other books. Which got piled on the floor. Oh dear.)

Date: 2012-08-22 04:12 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Well, there are a couple incremental methods of sorting that (minus) require a lot more shuffling around, but (plus) lets stuff remain on shelves pretty much. (Ask a computer science major, get a computer science answer.)

1) Sort each shelf internally first according to the desired method. Combine one shelf at a time into the greater sort.

2) Starting at the first shelf, swap each book with the book next to it into the desired order. Iterate many times until done.

3) Clear off first shelf, start filling it with fiction near the beginning of the alphabet. Continue putting things in the general area of where they ought to go until everything is vaguely in that general area. Proceed sorting more finely grained in several more passes.

... oh hell, let's hit up wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorting_algorithm

Maybe start with bucket sort to get things between separate greater sections, all over the floor. That could be done with multiple people to help speed things up. After that, pivot on the alphabet and get everything in alphabetical order by first letter of author's name, and shelve. After that, comb sort or bubble sort? And that can be done incrementally as you have time and as you read stuff.

Date: 2012-08-22 08:07 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
Pull all the books off the top shelf, and start there. As you move books to that shelf, e.g. fiction authors beginning with A, spaces will open up on the shelves below. You will occasionally have to move some books as you progress through each shelf, but it is easier than starting with them all on the floor.

Date: 2012-08-24 03:02 am (UTC)
meaghan_bullock: (Default)
From: [personal profile] meaghan_bullock
^^ This is a great suggestion.

As far as making sure it gets done - I am a huge fan of the Unfuck Your Habitat method, whereby you make a great playlist and set yourself timers for the segments of time you think you can work--for physical stuff like cleaning I go for 20 minutes on/10 minutes off, and that helps me a lot.

Date: 2012-08-21 08:00 pm (UTC)
ann1962: (library wall)
From: [personal profile] ann1962
Depending how many you have, use labeled boxes. A-f, g-l... Then have boxes by topic for the non-fiction. When they are all pulled, you can put them in what ever order you choose, depending on shelving, sliding boxes, rather than toppling piles as you go.

I did this before we moved, and I was so glad I did, because when our new shelves arrived I could place as needed.

Date: 2012-08-21 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coraa.livejournal.com
Ooh, bins or boxes are a good idea. That also will make it easier to transfer the sorted books to their ultimate home.

Thank you!

Date: 2012-08-21 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] paperclippy.livejournal.com
I would do it in phases. So like, start small, with a category you don't have many books in (like, biography or something). Clear off one shelf and set those books in a pile on the floor. Fill up the shelf with all your biographies. Each biography you take off another shelf, replace it with one of the books on the floor. That way at the end you have no books on the floor, but you have one organized shelf.

But really it's best to just do it in one giant marathon sorting session (like, don't stop until you're done, to avoid the books on the floor for six months problem. I have ours organized pretty much how you're describing, with the nonfiction broken down by category and the fiction broken down basically into mystery, pulpy stuff, modern fantasy/scifi, and literature (including classic fantasy/scifi).

Also, once you're categorized, make sure you leave extra space after each section or on each shelf so when you get new books you have somewhere to put them.

Date: 2012-08-21 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lnhammer.livejournal.com
This was what I was going to suggest. Pick a case and what will go in it, clear those what doesn't belong to floor-or-other-temporary-storage-location, then go through everything else to pull onto it what should now live there. Lather, rinse, repeat.

---L.

Date: 2012-08-21 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com
Yep, this is exactly what I would suggest. You can also start with fiction in another part of the book area, and basically take any fiction books and begin putting them in order at the top of your fiction section.

You can slowly expand that fiction section as you gradually add books. Because you're shifting (the technical term) in small increments of a book or two at a time, it won't hurt to just keep adding things in alphabetical order. As you need more room, just remove more books down the shelves and put them in their new home or, possibly, in temp boxes for the bigger non-fiction sections.

Date: 2012-08-21 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coraa.livejournal.com
Ooooh. That's a good idea. I could clear a couple of shelves and just tackle all the fiction by authors with A last names, and then all the authors with B last names, and so on, without needing to pull every one of the hundreds of books in the house off the shelves.

Thank you!
Edited Date: 2012-08-21 09:59 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-08-22 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] donaithnen.livejournal.com
Bubble sort!

*runs and hides*

Date: 2012-08-22 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaudior.livejournal.com
I'm a believer in the "roughly designate what shelves are for what, and then start bringing books to them, one at a time." Start with one shelf, and distribute all the books on it onto the shelves where they will (probably) go. This will mean temporarily double-stacking books, but it's got the advantage of taking exactly as much time as you want-- five minutes? Five hours? One book? You can do one book a day if you want, or one book when you go into the room. The disadvantage is the messiness of double-stacking. The advantage is that you'll know which sections expand or contract past your expectations, so you don't have the unfortunate thing where you designate shelves and then have them overflow in ways which mean you have to move *everything*.

Date: 2012-08-22 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lnhammer.livejournal.com
What is this "temporary" double-stacking of which you speak? (Does anybody ever have enough shelving to not double-stack most things?)

---L.

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