Posts Tagged ‘dewey decimal system in the home library’

013I am on a “de-clutter, deep-clean, get control of my life” kick. So far, I’ve powered through the laundry room, the bathroom, the kitchen and dining rooms. I purchased a shelf for our antique bottles, but I have not yet installed it. I got side-tracked with the upstairs.

I need to get the upstairs whipped into shape before warm weather comes, because we don’t have air conditioning and it can get a mite bit stuffy up there, despite the window fans.

My first attack was the area where the majority of our books are stored – some of which have not been touched in the 12 years that we have lived here, except for a cursory dusting. The books were on the shelves in the same order they were placed when we moved in, which may or may not have been entirely logical.

I decided that I needed to consult the Dewey Decimal System and get some sort of organization done, as well as moving the shelves out a bit and lining both sides of the area with book shelves (vintage crates, for the most part). That way, I could also get the antique pump out of the way of the shelving and on display as it rightly should be.

024The pump weighs a couple hundred pounds or so. It used to sit in the alley behind one of our first rentals, an old dredge pump that someone once offered us money for, but we decided we wanted to use it as a (very heavy) coffee table. Don added the stand and the table top. It no longer matched our living room area (which is tiny, like the rest of this house), so it was relegated to a corner in the loft, in front of the books.

This project has taken me just over a week. I pulled out books and book shelves, dusted, swept, mopped. I found no silverfish, which surprised me because I know we have them, and I thought if they would hide anywhere, it would be in the books. I found some spider evidence, but not really much of that, either. But to be safe, I dusted the edge of the walls where they meet the softwoods with a light powdering of diatomaceous earth.

Then I printed off an abbreviated Dewey Decimal System, because the majority of our books are not fiction, but are within .099 and 970.0 in the library catalog.



I piled the books in loose piles according to their category. I didn’t move the fiction or the vintage books (although I confess some of Don’s vintage books got filed in with their modern counterparts. My vintage collection stayed together). Yes, we have a his and hers vintage book collection. The fiction is entirely mine.

Then I began shelving, pausing often to retrace my steps and add books where I missed them (where does taxidermy fit in? Oh, after dinosaurs. How odd that we have only one book on dinosaurs). The majority of our books fall into:

598 – birds

635 – gardening, indoor & outdoor

900 – history


I’m not entirely happy with it as I had to move my vintage books around a bit to fit. (see the pump in the corner back there?)


The vintage and a mix of fiction complete these crates. History, biographies, and Native American culture round it out.


The majority of my fiction is here, in the narrow space by the studio door. I really don’t know what to do with the vintage Pepsi crates (at this point in time).

My hands hurt (arthritis). Surprisingly, I didn’t tweak my back. Surprisingly, I’m done. Well, mostly. There’s a whole other side of the loft to do & a question of where to put the file cabinet blocking the shelves at one end of the loft. But I didn’t take a photo of that.

I won’t label the shelves with the Dewey Decimal System, either. I still need to go back and file alphabetically by last name of the author, but – hey, we’ve lived without it being that organized for more than a couple decades. As long as we know the general area to find a book, we’re good.



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