Home Library Organization

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Home library organization

I spent all week organizing our “school library”. We have a ton of books, but in the past, I haven’t been able to use them as well as I like because they end up all mixed up. As soon as I had them all on the shelves in a way that made sense to me, the kids would tote them off where they would end up tangled in their sheets or under their beds, or behind the couch cushions.

Home Library Organization Nice and Neat!

I came up with this system as a way for me to keep the books organized, and put the responsibility of maintaining that organization back on the kids. I divided the books by topic, and then labeled each of them so they have color coded spines. Now, all the books are together by topic,so if I want to do a unit study on Dinosaurs, I can easily find all the Dino book….. or weather, or rocks, or African folktales- it’s all there.


The kids are able to put the books away in order too, because all they need to do is match the spine color. I added color coordinating labels to the shelf with picture images to help the kids (even the non-readers) find what they are looking for quickly.

Shelf LabelsPicture labels for shelves coordinate with spine colors for easy matching

We have been using this system for four years now, and it’s been working like a charm since day one!

To make and attach your labels: I printed them on regular copy paper, cut them out with a paper cutter, and attached them with clear packaging tape at the bottom of the spine. Easy peasy!

The template I used is 2.625 x 1 and claims to fit this size address labels.  I personally print them on plain printer paper, cut with a paper cutter, and attach them to the books using clear packing tape.

Check them out here:
The Big Daddy Home and Classroom Library Organization System

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  1. I am so happy i found your blog! I’m loving every single post. THIS ONE I heart just tooooo much! Such an awesome idea. I had stopped buying books so passionately (broke my heart) because I was too tired of organizing over and over again. Your labeling and coding will not only help our bookshelves stay organized but it will be a great tool to teach my kids classification and hey, maybe even alphabetizing!

    Thank you So Much for sharing your ideas with us!

  2. I love this idea so much, I just realized I pinned it THREE times to my Pinterest board on organizing our home children’s library!! Thanks so much for the inspiration! My challenge is that we are a multilingual family, so I have to figure out how to also get the kiddos to separate books into English, German, and Dutch. But this is a great start!

  3. Thanks for this information. I too have tons of book and I was trying to figure out how to organize them. I like the idea of color coding them. I guess I’m off to either buying the circle sticker or color paper.

  4. This seems like a great system. Almost a year later, how’s it working ou?. Do you still like this system? Thanks for your insight.

    1. I should write a follow up post! We are still using, and loving this system a year later. I have been pretty good about labeling new books that come in, and for the most part, the kids put away the books where they belong! It’s been wonderful. I’m able to find what I am looking for when I need it, and the kids have become more careful with the book, I think just because using the system has made it easier to treat them well.

      🙂 It’s still every bit as helpful as it was the day I put it together! 😀

  5. Thank you for your generosity in offering these labels free of charge. While my books are somewhat organized, they can use some fine tuning. For instance, even though all of our history books are together, it still takes time to find certain ones because they are not organized by period. Your system will fix all of that.
    I was wondering whether or not you have thought of a “picture book” category? and maybe Native Americans and Spanish?


  6. Okay, have I told you lately how much I love you? How did I ever miss this post? Our library is a disaster and I’ve been meaning to make something like this myself. Thank you for saving me so much time!

  7. This is FAB! Have been wrestling with this one in my mind for over a year! THANK YOU!
    Any chance of a POETRY label?

  8. Hi! Thanks for the inspiration! You are such a blessing to our lives! I’ve done this with my non-fiction when I was a paid teacher, but now I’d like to do it with the fiction for my own children too. LOVE the colour-coded idea! I am having difficulty figuring out how/where to download yours from. Is it still available?

  9. Hi,
    I am collecting books for our home library
    Can you suggest a list of books we should have for home
    Thanks for all the informations about homeschooling

  10. We love this and are part way through organizing our library, but could you add some labels for easy chapter books, chapter books, and classics? Thank you!!!!!!

  11. THIS IS FABULOUS!!! I have our books in tubs by categories, but getting them back in the tubs neatly poses a challenge! We have over 2000 books in our home library and they easily take over a space when they are not all in their tubs.

    I’d like to make some categories for myself, can you tell me how to make the color stripe on the template? I tried! I googled! I asked the wonderful help tab! And I cannot figure it out!

    Thank you!

  12. You just saved me a ton of time! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have a large collection of books at home, and a HUGE collection of books in my classroom (the library room was needed so all the age appropriate books were “absorbed” into our PreK and K rooms the last week of school! Now I’m face with the daunting task of organizing the whole mess!!

  13. Oops! I left that comment hanging!! Otherwise, as far as I can tell, you can only print a minimum of a full page regardless of what amount is needed. That’s not so much of a problem if you are just cutting and taping paper strips, but a bit costly if you want to use labels.

    (I tried using Avery Labels #8460/Avery Template #5160 which are 1″ x 2 5/8″ address labels. The margins don’t quite match up for the right column [not terribly off, definitely use-able] or the bottom two rows [need to go down 0.25″ and 0.5″, which made them not useable for me]. I don’t know enough about templates to know if I can import the .pdf into the template and adjust the spacing that way — or if you know another workaround. Any help appreciated.)

    I really do LOVE the colors and graphics!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  14. After working with these this afternoon, I would like to second the request to just put one category per page (perhaps top half with icon and bottom half just colored label). Otherwise

  15. I’ve thought about labeling before, but I didn’t get much further than, “Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice…*sigh* ” Thank you for acting on the thought! Your free printables are smashing!

  16. Thank you so much for making this available. This is a great idea. We struggle with book organization.

  17. This looks so fantastic but I can’t seem to find the link for the download. Is it still here or could you possibly email it to me? Thank you so much!

    1. Oh, it loaded. I don’t know why it was not showing on the page for me before. Sorry and thanks again!

    1. Awesome, Fawn! Let me know if you see any categories missing as you start putting yours together- I’d be happy to add any that would make sorting the books easier for you 🙂

    1. Five in a Row is FABULOUS. It’s a program I use for preschool, basically, you read a high quality picture book 5 days in a row, and do activities with it each day of the week- like a literature based unit study for young children. You can make it as easy, or as detailed as you want it to be. Some weeks, we just read the book and talk about it. Others, we go a lot more in depth, like we did for Night of the Moonjellies or Going on a Bear Hunt. Its really just a sweet, fun program. Many of the books on my shelf I purchased for FIAR, so I have them labeled as such so I can keep them together and find them easily when I go to “row” one of them.

    1. I taped them with packaging tape. They are made to “standard sized” address labels, but I don’t have access to any printable ones to test drive (they don’t sell them in store where I am). Theoretically, it should work with any basic, rectangle labels.

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