Shelf Awareness: What to Do When You’re Out of Shelf Space

Welcome to my first Shelf Awareness post! This will be an ongoing series where I tackle our beloved bookshelves and talk about various things that go on with them. Some of the topics you can look forward to is organizing your books, how to decide which books to get rid of, decorating your bookshelves with things other than books, and more! Have something you think fits into this category you want me to cover? Let me know in the comments!

It’s a problem almost every book lover has run into: your shelves are lined full of books but you just keep getting more to read. Sure, you could go on a book buying ban, but do those really even last more than a day or two? And what about the books you might get sent for review or the ones your friends give you as gifts? Today, I’ll be highlighting some of the ways you can store books other than the traditional way of lining them up on your shelf.

stacks on stacks

Probably one of the more common ways book lovers save on shelf space is to stack the books. This is something I have been doing for years. I’ve found that it works best with paperbacks; since they are thinner you can generally fit a lot more in a stack than you could simply by lining them up. You can also stack your books on the rows in the empty space between the top of the books and the shelf above them.

double rows

Another way you can save on shelf space is to double up on your rows. I don’t love doing this since it hides the books behind the first row, but the majority of my shelves showcase this method. Doing this can be a little risky because depending on how strong your shelves are there is the possibility that so much extra weight will cause your shelf to buckle and eventually break. None of my shelves have broken yet, but I know they’re heading in that direction from me doubling up on my rows so much.

unique storage locations

Back in February I was given my nana’s china hutch. She passed away in 2010, and this hutch was always an important part of her home. It was filled with tea pots and tea cups that she had collected throughout the year’s and each one had a story associated with it that she shared with me time and time again. Now that I own it, I’ve filled the majority of it’s space with some of my favorite books. Inside you’ll find my Jane Eyre collection, Gayle Forman collection, books of poetry, and some books I’ve kept from my childhood. I wish my Harry Potter books were in it too, but I have too many to try and make them fit. You’d probably be surprised by the amount of unconventional places around your living area you could find to stash books.

storage boxes

As much as it may hurt my heart, sometimes it’s necessary to pack books away in boxes. Before my son was born, what is now his room was my own personal library. The walls were lined with bookcases and it was wonderful. When we started turning the library into his nursery I downsized my collection tremendously, but there was still a lot I felt I couldn’t get rid of, which meant that some of the remaining books had to get packed into boxes and put in a closet. This is a really great way to save on space and if you’re like me you’ll forget which books you packed away and be surprised next time you open the boxes!



Tell me, what do you do with your books when you run out of shelf space? Let me know in the comments and help me find new ways to store my ridiculous amount of books!

Check out the other posts in this series!

How to Decide What Books to Get Rid Of
KonMarie My Bookshelves (Major Book Unhaul!)

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21 thoughts on “Shelf Awareness: What to Do When You’re Out of Shelf Space”

  1. I downsized my book collection a bit when I moved into my new apartment so at the moment I’ve still got a little shelf space left. When that runs out I’m dying to get wall-mounted single shelves and place them at difference heights around the house. I love having my tiny apartment bursting with books! Feels homey.

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    1. Wall mounted shelves are The Dream! And I definitely agree that havig an apartment bursting with books feels homey! Last time I rearranged all my shelves I put some in the living room for the first time in a while and homey is exactly the word I used to describe it afterwards.

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  2. I live in a tiny place and only have a relatively teeny bookshelf so I ran out of space ages back. Iโ€™m commandeered my shoe rack, desk, floor and coffee table for book stacks ๐Ÿ™ˆ I might try to KonMari some in June… lol

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  3. I love the idea of this series and am super keen to see what else you have lined up! I’ve actually recently got rid of my bookcase so it’ll be great to have some tips up my sleeve when I get a new one.

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  4. I have used every single one of these tricks (and a few more), but I eventually got into the desperate mode of one-book-out for every new book I bring home. But, heck, if we have to have a problem, what nicer one to have than “too many books?”

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