How to get your office bookcases organized for a beautifully organized space!

How to Organize an Office Bookcase

In this episode of Ask the Organizer Anything, Jeanne Petrus-Rivera of Red Lotus Foods, had a burning question for me: How to organize her cluttered bookcase in her home office.  This space frustrated her because it was a giant mix of a whole lotta stuff and not much fun to look at.

She’s been using the bookcase as a general catch all space, adding things to the shelves when she doesn’t know what to do with something.  That’s a pretty common problem.  Bookcases can be difficult spaces to keep organized because the space is often used for a few different purposes.

Organizing Bookcases Step 1: Get in the Zone

For organizing bookcases, it’s best to first establish different zones.  And establishing these different zones is pretty easy when the natural divisions made by the shelves are taken into account.

Jeanne’s bookcase has 4 shelves, which allows for a minimum of 4 zones.  When figuring out the zones, put like with like or similar with similar – office supplies, financial, etc.

Jeanne and I got off onto another topic before I could suggest for bookcase zones. Hello shiny object syndrome!  If I had finished that topic, the zones I would’ve recommended are business files, office supplies, reference, and personal.

One other aspect to consider is that offices tends to collect a lot of paper- any that can be overwhelming!  For help getting all of that paper under control, check out my course that helps anyone clear up the paper clutter in their space.

Organizing Bookcases Step 2: De-Clutter

To get the bookcase organized, Jeanne first has to get rid of anything she doesn’t need or want.  This stuff is just taking up space that she needs for things that she actually needs.  Next, she should take a look at the items that remain and see what is similar.  Then she should group those similar things together and put them into the appropriate zone.

Organizing Bookcases Step 3: Containerize

To unify the space, add coordinating baskets to at least 3 shelves.  It also has the benefit of preventing the bookcase from looking too cluttered.  Smaller items like boxes of checks and office supplies can be tucked inside the baskets.  Plus more of the vertical space between the shelves can be used if a tall basket is used.

{Note: I had a little trouble getting the Google Hangout to work for me, so I opted to use a program on my Mac.  I wasn’t sure it was working, so what you see in the video is a casual interaction. It’s probably more fun to watch, too!  So excuse the informality!  And if you want to know what my mess is that I referred to, it was 7 huge bins of clothes in my craft room that I was selling for a client.}

You can watch our very real, very impromptu organizing session here:

Ask the Organizer: Organizing a Bookcase


Scroll to top