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    Finished Project {Mostly}

    February 3, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    The bookcase is done! At least, it is mostly done. I keep moving things around, trying to figure out how to make it look pretty. Funny how having too much space {for the time being} can be a decorating issue just like having too little. I have certain shelves reserved because I know that we will be needing them. For instance, we will be studying geography every single year for the next seventeen years. That is, potentially, a lot of geography books. But, for now, we have three books on that shelf.

    So I am learning how to make a half-empty shelf look nice. It’s a lot of fun! I don’t remember a time when I could put something decorative, or even arrange books decoratively, on a bookshelf–there was never any room. So I’m experimenting.

    I thought this project would take me three or four days. I had forgotten the power of the old saying many hands make light work. Many hands, indeed! I don’t think my husband had to lift as much as a finger. The children were rushing books in from all corners of the house faster than I could put them on shelves. My son, after having been instructed in the basic divisions of his own collection {the difference between a juvenile biography and a juvenile history book, for instance} organized many of the bottom shelves while I did the top shelves.

    And then there were a number of books sent to my bedroom. For instance, marriage books that the children don’t need to be reading, or certain fiction titles that I am not ready to part with, but I don’t want to risk exposing to small eyes {like Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five}. I thought I’d have to carry everything myself back to the back room, piles of photo albums and all, but the children were as excited as I was, and they carried everything, again, faster than I could shelve it.

    In all, we had fun! And we are all enjoying this. Especially my husband and I. This is only the second piece of “real” furniture we’ve purchased in our marriage, and we feel like children who just bought a big toy.

    Okay, so on with the photos! It is difficult for me to take photos of this area of my house. Our entry way is really, really wide, and sort of like a hallway in that it is long and leads into the great room. When we first looked at this house, I knew that it’d be the perfect “library” for our family. It was so wide that we could put shelves along one side, a narrow bench along the other, and still have plenty of room for guests to pass through.

    However, it is not so wide that photos are easily accomplished, so I took two–a view of the left and a view of the right.

    The collective space here is a whopping total of seven feet tall and twelve feet long.

    Here is a closeup of my favorite shelf, our philosophy shelf, complete with a plate someone gave us depicting King Solomon’s famous decision decision:

    One of my “issues” with children’s books has been dealing with their small size. This seems to lend itself to clutter. Now that we finally had some options, we went to a dollar store near our house and acquired a couple plastic baskets to keep all of the board books in. I’m actually planning on getting one more, now that I see how many we have. We placed them on a low shelf in the play nook, and little O. has spent more time with them this week than ever before!

    Okay. One project down, two more to finish up. Anyone else working on anything fun and big?

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  • Reply Emily February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I have a poem for you, Brandy! ;^D

    Books to the ceiling,
    Books to the sky,
    My pile of books is a mile high.
    How I love them! How I need them!
    I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.
    – Arnold Lobel

    Books and organization, two of my favorite topics. What a fun project. The bookcases look wonderful! I love the way you did the philosophy shelf. Maybe a globe for the geography shelf? You can get really creative with this!

    I’m suffering from the same lack of space problem as Kansas Mom. We have a couple dozen bookcases – at least one in every room and hallway (except the bathroom and that only because of moisture issues). They are filled to overflowing, as in the photos you shared in your previous post. Stacks may be found on any flat surface. What does one do when there is NO more room? Buy a bigger house? Hm. Well, I’ve needed to reorganize for some time now and you’re giving me the itch! And I reeeeaaalllly need to give Paperback Book Swap a try.

    As for organizing methods, we are quite casual which can lead to a bit of scrambling about. Just to give you an idea, I have a bookcase in Anna Rose’s room devoted to fairy tales, mythology, and poetry, but there are also several volumes of poetry dispersed throughout the house. I know where to find just about any book, though, simply because I rummage through the shelves so often.

    Anyway, if I had to estimate, I’d say we have well over 5,000 books. If you lived nearby, I think I could function quite admirably as your local library! 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer February 5, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Ah, organization! I love it. They look great, dear Brandy. Good job.

  • Reply Rahime February 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Lovely!! I do love bookshelves. I do wish I could learn not to need every book I love. 😉 Seeing those non-crammed shelves makes me want to do a purge, but I’m never very successful at those. These days, in addition to our big book shelves upstairs, we have 2 6′ tall x about 2′ wide ones that are double stacked, and 4 of the windowsills are being used for book storage. Grrr.

  • Reply Kansas Mom February 4, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Looks fabulous! We already have bookcases just about everywhere we can put them and are still double-stacked on books (all the non-children fiction at least). Kansas Dad offered to make me some beautiful bookshelves like these, but what we really need is more wall space to cover with bookshelves.

  • Reply Mystie February 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I love it! Where did you get the shelves? Real bookshelves are on our “within the next year” priority list. 🙂

  • Reply Rebecca February 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Looks great, Brandy. I am attempting to find the motivation to declutter… haven’t found it yet, so in the meantime, I am sewing little girl dresses.

  • Reply Amy February 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    How beautiful. We think books and bookcases are the best decorations a house can have! So great to have all that wall space for them.

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