5 Ways to Organize Books (if You Don’t Have Shelf Space

Recently I put out a #POLL asking you how you organize your bookshelves. Apart from learning some cool new strategies to get my own shelves in order, I realized how many of us are running out of shelf space — if we haven’t already! Inspired, I decided to cook up this post for all book lovers who have little to no shelf space.

In this post, shelf space is defined quite literally as either a bookshelf or a shelf mounted on a wall. Some ideas may include other kinds of “shelves” for your books!

Under the Bed

As children we all imagined the spooky monster hiding under our beds, ready to reach up and dig its clawed fingers into our unsuspecting toes. Now, we can have glorious tales of adventure stored below instead! For those with bed frames that leave space under the mattress, this is a great area to store books.

  1. Shoe Boxes/Shipping Boxes: Save up the boxes you receive when you buy new pairs of shoes or order items in the mail. Use washi tape, tissue paper and/or scrapbooking paper to decorate the boxes. Separate your books by genre, author, favourites and use labels so you know which box contains which books!
  2. Storage Containers: You can buy these at the dollar store (and other places obviously). Some options are pre-decorated with cute patterns and others are just basic plastic bins. Choose one that fits under your bed and set it up to your liking!

Night Stand/Dresser

I love lining up books on my dresser and using plants as book ends. Obviously a dresser top can’t accommodate as many books as a bookshelf, but it’s still useable space. Also this way you avoid having just a blank, unused space, which I hate. Try stacking your books in a spiral shape, or just in a row.

  1. On the Dresser/Night Stand: As previously mentioned, line your books on top of the dresser. This looks nice and keeps your reads accessible.
  2. Inside the Dresser: Perhaps unconventional, but not everyone uses all their dresser space! (I know I do, but I have a *lot* of clothes. I’m talking two dressers and a closet here.) Reserve a drawer for books! You can also insert “drawer organizers” to space out different genres. The good thing about a drawer(s) is you can fit many books at once, and if they are spine up, you can see all the titles at once — unlike a bookshelf, where double-stacking means you can’t see titles at the back.

Behind the Door

Image result for wall pouch organizerI can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner, but all of a sudden I’m like, now I know what to do about my blank and boring door. It’s such a good way to make use of all your space! I mean, what else can you do with the back of your door? And of course, you can hang this on a wall too, but if you’re really thinking of putting something on the wall, might as well be a shelf? This organizer is great for your TBRs or library books, because you can’t put as many books in there. So just switch up the books once they’ve been read!

Shoe Rack

I’ve heard of people who stack their books on the floor, and this is totally another option. It saves on actually buying something to put your books on and the floor kind of a big size? So you never really run out of space, unless you actually care about walking. (Who needs that when you have books, though.) But you can also purchase a shoe rack and stack books there! Like a bookcase, but a lot smaller and easy to fit in a corner. Also less expensive than a bookcase, so if you wanted shelf space but don’t have the budget, a shoe rack is a great alternative.


This idea can be dangerous (I mean, not literally, unless you’re very clumsy) because if you share a living space not everyone will be on board with you scattering your books on the stairs. But if they are or you’re solo at your place, then using the stairs can look really nice.

  1. Haphazard Placement: You can stack books, lay them on the sides or just find some space on the stairs where it works.
  2. Pyramid Placement: Gradually less books going from the bottom step to the top (or vice versa) to create an illusion of a half pyramid.
  3. Colour Matching Placement: Organize each step by colour.

It’s at this point that I ran out of ideas and quickly browsed the web to see if any inspiration sparked … just to see most ideas involved creating your own bookshelf-chair? Hmm, I think I will not. I know where my talents lay and that is not there!

Do you have any creative book storage ideas? Are you running low on book space? Let’s discuss!


25 thoughts on “5 Ways to Organize Books (if You Don’t Have Shelf Space

  1. I love the idea of putting books on the back of a door! It seems like such a great way of displaying books without really taking up any space. I definitely need to try that one out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and just like that she now has a few new storage ideas. I’m living at home right now so I think I’ll save stairs as a last resort, but I only have two small bookcases that are already overflowing so I’m cramming them where ever there’s some extra space in my room.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yay! So glad this post is helping out. It’s tough when the book collection grows but the amount of storage space … doesn’t lol. Yup, stairs is a tough one especially if you have a smaller staircase. But some people have those overhanging steps and you can stack the books underneath. Depends on the set-up!


  3. This is such a creative post. I love this is all about space maximization. I’ve created quite the system to ensure every book always has a spot. This usually means that any flat surface on my room is fair game since I like displaying my books and can’t bear the thought of hiding them away. My desk, dresser, and nightstand are all commonly used extended bookshelves that work beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love posts like these! It’s so much fun seeing how people organize their books. I never thought of the one behind the door, but that IS rather clever isn’t it? I hang my clothes and stuff on my door rack, but I just might contemplate storing my older books there now.

    Oh, and I actually do use a shoe rack as a bookshelf! I didn’t want to commit to one big bookshelf until I’ve settled down, so I have smaller racks scattered about. It’s actually more aesthetically pleasing (a.k.a cute), so I’ve been doing this for a few years. 😉

    Terrific post! This was a lot of fun to read! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t show rack good though? I’m glad that works for you. I was worried people would be like, “That is for *shoes* what are you talking about?” Sometimes you need to get creative with book storage!

      The door is traditionally for clothes buuut it does have two sides! Maybe it could do double duty? Haha.


  5. This was super helpful because I’m running out of space to place my books, and there are so many books I want to buy in the future, so I’ll probably will end up doing one of these😂.

    Liked by 1 person

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