Bookshelf love gone bad

First, the infatuation stage. When I first get a bookcase or other piece of furniture for my books, I take the time to carefully arrange books and other decorative accessories until it makes me happy just to look at the bookcase. This is when I'm officially in love with my bookcase. If you love books and bookcases as much as I do, then you know what I mean.

The cabinet above houses my collection of smaller interiors books, a photo taken minutes after my husband proposed and a few other beloved items.

This cabinet, at the entrance to our master closet, is where I get ready for the day each morning, spritzing some perfume and putting on some jewelry before I head out. Doing this little ritual in front of this cabinet each day definitely gives me joy.

I try to create little vignettes in all my bookcases, but then, the love goes bad, books are placed asunder and suddenly, we have this:

Books are no longer in place and my carefully styled vignettes turn into a big mess as my kids and I make our way through our bookcases, leaving the remains everywhere. In my defense, the books by the fireplace above belong to my kids, who built this tower of books, though I'm ashamed to admit I left the "tower" in place far too long.

All this to say that my living room currently looks like this:

Yikes! I can't quite believe I'm showing you my messy bookcase, but I'm wondering if any of you out there have a similar problem containing your books. I finally figured out I need to curb my book addiction.

Yes, my friends, I hit rock bottom when I realized that, even with seven (!!!) bookcases throughout my house AND a few other pieces of furniture that contain yet more books, I still didn't have enough room for all the books I own. That's how the piles on top of the long bookcase above came about. I simply didn't know where else to put them.

I've spent the past few days going through books and, so far, have chosen more than 50 to be sold or donated. It hasn't been easy and even my husband, who kindly turns a blind eye toward my book and magazine clutter on an everyday basis, asked whether I was sure I wanted to get rid of so many books. He looked concerned when he asked me this, as though he was getting ready to whip out a thermometer to check my temperature.

Yes, I'm sure because one side of that messy bookcase now looks like this:

I like the new look. I might even wallpaper or paint the inside of this dark, rather somber bookcase. Remember this bookcase below?

It's the bookcase in my writing office that I showed you here. Now, let's take a closer look:

Yes! Those are two (!!) rows of books. I think you can probably see the magnitude of my problem now. Too many books!

Even my kids' bookcases are rather full, though I've managed to be disciplined and allow a bit of room for a few toys here and there. The bookcase below is in my son's room.

The one below is my daughter's bookcase.

As in any relationship, this is the stage where I need to shower my bookcases with a whole lot of loving, just to show we're in this together for the long haul. That means going through each book and being honest with myself about whether I will read it again or use it for reference. Then, I can get back to enjoying my books and bookcases once more.

What about you, how do you like your bookcases? Do you like them like this one below in my family room, with books standing like soldiers in formation?

Or do you prefer to sprinkle a few decorative items throughout?

Ooops! More bookshelf love gone bad below. Too many books. Too much clutter. The work continues ...

For inspiration, I've been gathering images of beautiful and well-curated bookcases. I'll share some of them with you in my next post.



Kristin said...

SEVEN bookcases?! And they're all that full? My goodness, you do love books! I have a love for books too, but one way I've managed to contain them into two bookcases is by not really hanging on to any of my fictions. I keep only those that I LOVE and would want to read again and otherwise I pass the others along to friends and family who then continue to pass along. This leaves just coffee tables books and kids books and makes it a lot more easy to contain!

And by the way, I think I have the same cabinet as you! The one with the glass paned doors... if it's not exactly the same piece, then it's pretty darn close. I love it -- probably my favorite piece of furniture! It's where I keep my milk glass collection. :)

Lola England said...

I too love books and routinely have books that seem to have multiplied on their that they no longer fit on the shelves.

But recently during a home renovation when everything had to come out of all the rooms I decided to really cull my books ~ you know the ones you think you will read someday, the ones you skim and are like nah but can you just get rid of it? really?, the ones the kids have grown out of and really aren't that fabulous, the ones you have read and know you will never read again . . . . I got rid of probably 100 or more books, I am ashamed to admit, and we still have tons!

But the cool thing was that my kids and i actually read more when we were done because we could find the books we love and we didn't feel so overwhelmed by the ones we "should" keep or read . . . .

and for the record ~ I like decoration in my shelves but rarely seem to be able to keep the room!


Grace@PoeticHome said...

What a fun tour! I love the well-curated first bookshelf and its compartments that are quite conducive to organization. Even when your books go bad, they are still so good :)

Doda said...

That letter B you have in your bookcase. I have one just like it that is my daughter's . We got it in Belize when we lived there.

Heartfire At Home said...

Wow, 7 bookcases Minnie! I only wish I had room for that many. I have 1 little one, 2 big ones, and 3 other shelf type places where I put them..... well, that's 6, not so far behind after all!!

A few years ago when I downsized into a smaller place I had to go through all of my books... so hard. It took time to carefully weigh up each one and how much I loved it, how often I'd read it and might return to it, what use I got from it etc etc. Took ages. But I got rid of about 4 big boxes full in the end.

And, I actually haven't bought and kept that many new books (maybe 15 or so) in the ensuing years, which is pretty good for me. I try and borrow them from the 'reading shelf' at work (we all bring in books to share), or I'll buy really cheap second hand ones and then donate them. I must get to our big library in town, that'd save me money, just takes time!!

I love that your kids have so many books, and must also see their parents reading and loving books.... nothing better for a child to have in their life I reckon!!

And, you have an owl in your bookcase too! Owls and books go together don't they?!

Thanks so much for linking up to my 'bookcase linky' with this fab post. You always have such great stuff to share and inspire.

Linda. xox

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