In the "there's too many books in boxes to find them all, time to sort" mode:
I'm starting to rearrange our home library by ISBN instead of by topic or call number. This has a couple of interesting side effects, which seem to be useful. Pictures to follow at some point once it's stable.
When you do an ISBN sort, effectively you're sorting by publisher, and within the publishers you're sorting by size and longevity. This puts the McGraw-Hills and the Penguins at the front of the shelf, the MIT Press and U of Michigan Press in the middle, and someone who figured out how to get an ISBN number to print your own books dead last.
Actually shelving books is starting to look super easy. For big presses, just throw the book somewhere near others that have the same logo on it; for little presses, throw it on the right shelf. At some point you'll want to reorganize to make things make more sense, but remember for now some books are in boxes and you're just trying to unearth them. In part, you want to make it dead easy to put books into the right box without thinking too hard and to still find the book on the first try.
Some things pop out fast. Any book pre a certain vintage doesn't have an ISBN, which makes it an antique in some way. Bound galleys don't have ISBNs, and some (but not all) magazines are missing individual ISBNs for each issue. The journals that you wrote don't have ISBNs (yet!), and all of those annual reports are missing these numbers.
It's remarkably nice to have all the books from the same press next to each other, because it suggests another path to more books, as well as a path to people (editors, publicists, designers) who are part of the process of book marketing. Some presses regularly print all kinds of related stuff and by seeing what you have collected together you can guess there may be more of the same to look for. The little presses are all at the end, so you have a jumble there (but a fun jumble).
The biggest usefulness of this quite frankly is that it doesn't take any time at all to decide where a book goes once you have settled on the shelf sizes, and you can safely box things away and find things using ISBNs as you external markings on boxes.
Other people have considered this, notably this post on Hackito Ergo Sum: The Library Problem:
The problem with the ISBN number is that it isn't a very good number to use to catalog the books. Sorting by ISBN number would create a list which didn't have anything to do with the author or the subject of the book. This would create an effectively random order of books and make it very difficult to find what you are looking for.
To the extent that one McGraw Hill book is pretty much the same as the other, this might be true; but there's a distinctive style from a lot of smaller presses that I seem to collect books from, and with the smaller presses you start to get a lot closer to contact with individuals.
This classification does also show up one thing about the typical library binding; the standard place for the call number is on the spot on the book where the typical publisher's logo is. Someone somewhere has an opportunity to preserve the logo and put a call number on it at the same time for additional ease in findability on the shelf.
Now - just - to get the first block of my very own ISBN numbers financed. There's a big perceived difference in quality between books in the 8xxxx series and the 9xxxxx series - the ever so slightly bigger publishers seem to have a lot more chance of producing a book that looks real.
A subsequent task, naturally, is to register as an official library, one that can send and receive inter-library loan requests; I have a sneaking suspicion that if I compose a properly ordinary looking ALA form that this is something that might just work.