Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cart before the horse

I have collected a large number of books, very few of which I am particularly attached to. Most are ones that I keep meaning to read and never get around to. The bookshelves take up a lot of space in what is currently the spare room, and are definitely functional IKEA bookshelves rather than pretty ones. They were never intended to be long-term fixtures, but when my dad decided he didn't want my boxes in his attic any more and brought them over, books were a large factor and even though many have gone to the second-hand book shop, I still have far more than I need or want, or than we can really fit in the available space.

Following on from my pondering of Hannah's house last week, I've been putting quite a bit of thought into what we might change in this flat and I really like the idea of building some bookshelves into the wall made from wine crates or similar, using all the space up to the ceiling so we can relocate the big bookshelves down to the basement for more practical storage there. There's some beautiful examples on pinterest.

My boyfriend and I have recently been discussing some of the changes we'd like to make - some small (add radiator covers, re-upholster the dining chairs) and some bigger (change the doors, knock down the wall between the kitchen and the living room). On the question of the bookcases, one point became clear - we (or rather, me, as the main hoarder in the house) tend to accumulate stuff to fill the space available. Before building in beautiful bookcases, it would make sense to get my huge book collection down to a more sensible size.

I think this would be a good approach, because it also means we have a better idea of how much storage we really want/need and don't just full a wall with shelves which then look empty, making me feel a compunction to fill them.

Of all the rooms in the house, I think this is a good place to start because it's the one we use the least, so easy to paint/build/adjust. I've been pondering how I could address the 'book' challenge - I am struggling with the idea of getting rid of books I haven't read yet, and many of the books have not been read, in part because I tend to pick up and re-read books I've read, or start a new book before finishing the last one. Someone gives me a new one, or I read a review of a book on my shelf - I have started but not finished approximately fifteen or twenty books currently on my shelves showcasing my collection of bookmarks.

I've been wondering whether the Project 333 approach might not be a good idea - essentially ration myself to a set number of books for a few months, and see how that goes. There's limited space in the basement, but what I've done is tidied out my bedside table and put a selection of six books there. I'm going to challenge myself to ignore the other bookshelves and stick to these six for the next two months, and see how that goes. Maybe it needs to be fewer books, or less time - or more time.

Have you tried anything like this?


  1. (Two messages from me in one day. How lucky you are!)

    Your bookcase is almost exactly the same as mine! It might even be exactly the same, I'm not sure. Mine also briefly had books in it like that, though now it has a book-shaped box of memories, a photo album and some assorted other stuff that doesn't belong there but has migrated there.

    I also own two of the books on your newly-reduced shelf. Or at least, I have owned Star of the Sea. I may have given it away. I don't even remember anymore what it's about. Okay, I went to look it up on Amazon and I definitely used to own it. I started it, but it gives away the killer in the first few chapters (deliberately, or at least so I assume) so I realised it wasn't the kind of whodunnit I was expecting and I lost interest.

    I wish I had somewhere to put a feature bookcase... Ah well. One day. I am allowed to buy myself a beautiful hardcover of Anne of Green Gables tomorrow because I stuck to new habits for a whole month! I wish I had somewhere to put it...

    Will be interested to know how this book version of the project goes.

  2. Books! The love and bane of my life - want to have them but where to put them! Actually, I have really culled and there is actually space on mine these days. I got an attractive ladder-style one that is between my kitchen/dining area and it houses the art and history books and photo albums, books I quite often take out and browse and recently cleared one shelf for some trinkets at eye level, so quite pleased with myself. The others are in plain Ikea bookshelves in my hallways but the most visible ones I replaced the shelves with glass so they look nicer (but need more dusting!). Glass doors would have been more sensible!



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