We are pretty lucky – we are literate and can afford books. Sometimes lots and lots of books! This week, we are taking a little time to organize and edit our collections.
For my family, we have categories of books. And that’s how we store them:
- seforim (holy texts)
- Jewosh-specific subjects (halacha, how-tos, siddurs, etc.)
- Jewish kids books (High holiday, Hanuka, Passover lists)
- Easy readers
- Other kids books (board books, activity books, etc.)
- Parenting/pregnancy/nursing books
- Fiction reading
- Reference (dictionaries in different languages, travel)
We try to keep like with like as much as possible to make it easy to find what we’re looking for.
For example, we have one bookcase with seforim and some halacha reference books on the top 4 tiers, and Jewish kids things on the bottom two (linear chumash, chumash, parsha books, etc.) If we’re going for most of our Jewish books, that’s the place! We keep the bottom kid-friendly for now.
If you are starting to overflow your boundaries, maybe it’s time to cull some of the books. I do this regularly. For example, when I was expecting our first, I had about 8 books on pregnancy and 4 on breastfeeding. Now I’ve weeded it down to one good one on each. With the availability of information on the internet, it makes it especially easy to week out reference books, particularly since the latest info is always changing! (Of course, not on Shabbat, which is why a basic first aid book or something like that is still good to keep around!)
I also keep one shelf, often about eye level, that isn’t completely full. I might display something there, or have a stand with an open book, or even two partial rows of books. But leaving a little space for your eye to rest can be good, too.
DVDs: This can be something that takes up a lot of space, or you can minimize even a large collection into a few binders. It depends on what you want for your space.
We used to have all of our DVDs on a bookshelf. That was fine, but we didn’t use them much – and certainly not enough to justify a significant part of our space in the family room! We pulled some we never watched and donated them.
Then we went with binders like this. We have one for kids’ DVDs and one for adults.
You can organize them by genre (drama, documentary, scifi…) or alphabetically, or in whatever way makes sense to you. If the disk doesn’t have a title or design on it, I write it on a small sized post-it and put it on the outside of the pocket for easy reference.
And our bookcases and DVDs are set up nicely again!