Updated July 19, 2015

How can small home dwellers justify their desire for compact, organized living if they are also an avid book collector? There are many book storage solutions that will minimize the space needed to store your current books and also remain easily accessible.

First, only keep the best books. What we mean by that is:

  • Only keep books you love, and have happy memories/emotions associated with them. If you finished a book and you didn’t like it, get it out of your house. If you want a happy home, only own things that make you happy. AND,
  • Keep only what you will read again. We have enjoyed many books that we will nevertheless never open again, because they were too sad/depressing, not relevant to us anymore, or irrelevant to our current goals. Only keep the books that you will get use out of in the future. Otherwise, sell or donate them to someone who can use them.

Then, decide how you want to store the books. Here area few book storage solutions for fitting your favorite reads in a small space.

Vertical stacking book shelves

You can squeeze dozens of books onto stacking book shelves, and your books are usually easier to see and read on these wall shelves, than when positioned vertically, as well. The can fit into narrow spaces that most full-sized pieces of furniture wouldn’t, and are much easier to move around and position. Even better, there are some stacking bookcases that attach directly to the wall, such as the shelf from West Elm to the right, which can free the floor space underneath.

Seat storage with shelves underneath

Many bookcase style structures are sturdy enough to support sitting or lounging on top, while providing plenty of storage for books underneath. IKEA products are especially prone to creative people modifying them to suit their purposes. For example, the bookshelf/bench shown to the right was made from the Gorm shelving unit at IKEA and modified with a cushion to provide seating with bookshelves underneath. Full instructions are available at Instructables.

Ottomans and Hidden Book Storage

Trunks and ottomans that can serve as stools and chairs when needed can also provide a surprising amount of extra room for books inside them. Using neat stacks divided by category and storing books of similar size together is the best way to store the books without them turning into a disorganized pile. A tightly-packed storage device will mean the books are less likely to move around as much. Some ottomans, such as the one from Amazon on the right, even serve one more purpose: when the top “lid” is flipped over, the soft surface turns into a flat tray to rest drinks on.

Other Book Storage Ideas

Many people have found other clever ways to store books where they are still accessible, yet do not get in the way. From storing your books in the rafters to building them into table legs, people living in small spaces can be very creative when it comes down to finding a way to fit their books in or getting rid of them. Some people organize their books by color or style, and some put uniform book jackets on their collection to match their decor. Whatever your home design goals, you can find a clever and interesting way to live peacefully – and stylishly – with your beloved books.

Photo credits: top photo

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