Books Here, Books There, Books Everywhere!

By now we all are well aware that Anne and Daniel have a book problem. Daniel gave away a truckload in New Orleans to move here yet most of the belongings he brought were still books … Anne has a healthy set of books for herself, plus the set of children’s books I always used in my classroom (but don’t anymore as I have switched roles and no longer have my own classroom) … and … we keep buying more! Thus, storing our books in our apartment is a challenge!

When we started out, we just had piles. Piles in the kitchen, piles in the bedroom, piles in the … well, those are all our rooms.

Solution #1: We installed shelves I already had from IKEA. I love these shelves, because they have the rod and hooks that I have always used to hang dried flowers (now just green leafy plants). They are meant for a kitchen, but work great as shelves/decor.

Here they were in my last apartment:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere they are in our current apartment:

IKEA bookshelves upclose

The plants have changed out. You’ll notice I painted my old place, despite being there for only one year (if you have ever lived on East Riverside, you understand why). Painting it back was a huge pain in the you-know-what. So rather than going for bright flowers, I just hung bunches of green stuff I got at Whole Foods.

dried plants

… with my favorite Frida diorama, from I-can’t-remember-where …


Now, with this kind of wall-mounted shelving unit, you do need to buy toggles to hang it so it won’t rip out the drywall of your rental, and you’ll need to patch it over before you move out. But they are both pretty easy to do, and if you’re looking for nice shelves, its relatively painless.

If its wall-mounted, you’ll want to watch the weight, too. Even though the toggles advertise a certain weight, I don’t want to risk it, so I space out the books with other nice odds and ends like the pictures show below…

globe an baseball

This way you can highlight nice things too, like Maya Angelou’s autobiography, an awesome mini-globe from Hobby Lobby, and the signed baseball I picked up for Daniel in Nicaragua (by Nicaraguan baseball player Denny Martinez).

big heart little minds        Eudora

And like my Eudora Welty photography book I picked up in Jackson, MS on an unforgettable photography road trip, a painting from a blind man in New Orleans, and the framed gift from an former student.

Solution #2: Wall-mount some more bookshelves, from IKEA, like these. 🙂 Again, watch the weight by spacing the books out with lighter fillers, like the snowflakes I put in a frame from our Christmas window decorations. Daniel installed these in our bedroom.

bedroom shelves

And if you still have more books?!?!

Solution #3: DIY bookshelves

Daniel and I realized we could utilize the space underneath the kitchen island that separates the kitchen area from the living area. So we took measurements, went to Home Depot, had them saw our wood pieces to the lengths we needed, and then annoyed our neighbors by hammering them together a couple of nice weekend afternoons.

They started plain pine, like this:


Then when Daniel was out of town and I got bit by the craft bug (do you know his terror?!), I decoupaged the front with paper I already had around (from – YES! The Paper Source), so then they looked like this for a few weeks:

IMG_0958And I quickly realized I REALLY did not like the result. Thank you, Sherry and Peter (my heros from, for letting me know its okay to try and fail. So then, I took them outside to spray paint the outsides white, taping newspaper on the inside of the shelves to keep the paint off them.

IMG_0959 IMG_0960

I wanted to create a backing, too, because to be able to see through a bookshelf to the bookshelf behind it and the kitchen beyond it contributed to the cluttered, busy feel. So, in classic pocket-change style, I tacked white poster board to the backs, like so:


And they wound up looking like this:


Because we had a number of books left, several of them heavy textbooks of Daniel’s that we didn’t want to put on the wall-mounted shelves, we reserved them for these guys here.

photo (39)

And then we have one more on the other side, next to our recycling bin, where we can keep the unsightly things like DVDs and office supplies:

office supply bookshelves

And HARK! We even have some extra space for our books yet to be purchased.


2 thoughts on “Books Here, Books There, Books Everywhere!

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