I didn’t want this to be entirely a blog about books, although obviously the written word is something I enjoy. I realized recently that I’ve completely lost track of those 14 goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I don’t want to completely throw in the towel on this project. (Oh, hi, goal #7 that says “finish what I start!”) The intelligent thing to do would be to pick up this project in earnest again in about a month, because I have two out of town trips coming up within the next 4 weeks, and I know that much of this time is going to be getting ready for those. But it still doesn’t hurt to do what I can now, so I wanted to highlight a recent project that my husband and I did together that touches on several of those goals.
In brief, we built a bookshelf. And, despite what a lot of the stereotypes say about doing home improvement projects with your significant other, we didn’t fight about it!
This is what we started with–the middle bookshelf was the one I brought from home, and the other two are just cheap bookshelves from Target. He already had the one, and we bought a second one when I was moving my stuff in, because I more or less quadrupled the number of books he had in the house. (I’m really not exaggerating.) It was working, but since the Mister is very big on having things streamlined, organized, and as efficient as possible, he hasn’t been very happy with this setup. But then a month or so ago, we were hanging out with some friends at my bestie’s new place for some board gaming, and he spotted her bookshelves and pretty much fell in love with them. They’re simple, just a series of stacked boards and skinny cinder blocks that she’s had since well before I knew her. If I’d known he would have liked them so much, I probably would have told him about them sooner! But it didn’t take him long to decide that he wanted to recreate this look at our place.
Some hilarity ensued in the form of us driving up to just outside Philadelphia to load down the trunk of his car with cinder blocks, because it was the only place we could find anything similar to what she has, driving around with them all day because we already had a couple of other commitments, and then hauling 32 bricks into our house when we finally got home that night. We decided to make things more complicated for ourselves, too, by staining the bricks and painting the boards. I’m not sorry, because I like the way the colors turned out.
This is what we ended up with! It took pretty much all of last Saturday morning to build them, because we were taking safety precautions like anchoring the boards to the wall every few boards up. Plus we had to move all of the books, and figure out what to do with a few other things that were on the shelves. (Mostly my scrapbooks.) We also ended up completely reorganizing the books when we put them back–some of them are categorized, like we have the children’s books and all of our Christian-ish books and his finance books separated out, but aside from that, everything’s alphabetized and much, much neater than when it started. There are some gaps, like where my Empty Shelf books/Dresden Files books that are currently on loan to my sister-in-law go, and the Mister ended up shuffling a few shelves around so that all of the fiction could be together on the left side since I took this picture. But he’s much happier, and I have to admit that it’s going to be much easier to find what I want to read next!
The Empty Shelf has a new home, too–we had leftover bricks and he had measured it out well enough to know we’d have some extra space, so he built a mini-bookshelf to go near the corner. So the top shelf of that is where all the books that we’ve both read this year are currently residing–he’s informally playing along, which I think is great, because it means he’s reading more too! And then we have things like my music-related books and travel books beneath that.
We’d originally thought to maybe try to sell the cheap bookshelves on Craigslist or something. But then, in the spirit of trying to use what we have, he had the idea to use the adjustable shelves to reinforce the wire shelves in the kitchen pantry that he doesn’t like. My original larger bookshelf is currently residing in our basement, and holding most of the scrapbooks (except the green and blue ones in the above picture, which are the ones I’ve been putting together for the time since we’ve been married. The green one is our first year and is mostly finished, while the blue one is for year 2 and barely has anything in it, given that I haven’t printed any pictures since May. I figured it would be better to wait and do one bigger order after the trips to cut down on shipping, so…)
So, yeah– organization, quality time with my husband, doing something kind of creative, and finishing a project all in one! I think altogether, it cost us about $200 in supplies, which sounds like a lot. But considering that the particle board shelves were already bending under the weight of the books after only a year, and that this is a shelf we can easily disassemble and take with us wherever we end up living next, we both agree that it was a worthwhile project.