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Organizing a Personal Library – Before and After Photos

You need to know your own preferences when organizing a personal library. If you are going to be the only person using the space, you don’t have to rely on the Dewey Decimal System. Just like organizing any other space in your home, it needs to work for you and only you, so personalize it.

When organizing a space like a library, where it needs to be both functional and pretty, you need to consider ‘the negative space’ on shelves. Meaning, don’t load the shelves with solid books. Disperse meaningful personal items throughout, so the energy of the room will flow more easily.

Here is an example of the space we worked on recently.


The client had unpacked items and placed them on the shelves. Note, she couldn’t reach the top shelf. Don’t these photos like heavy and weighed down? We started by taking everything down and sorting the books, because, as we all know, organizing is about being able to find what you need when you need it.




Doesn’t this look better? It’s a subtle change, but look closely. The personal items are spread throughout, to create open space and acheive a better flow. The books are shelved by type, so they will be easy to locate.



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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

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