Weekend Project: Reclaiming Shelves

Weekend Project: Reclaiming Shelves

My bookshelves need a makeover I’m not particularly happy in my home office even though it is located in my living room. Although it’s an improvement over working downstairs, which lacks light and is too far from the kitchen to smell burning food before it is too late, it’s still quite a jumble of stuff. I realized a couple weeks ago that I have homeless items that are scattered around the living room. For example, I have a piles of “things to write about later”, “miscellaneous everyday carry”, “stationery products to review”, “camera accessories”, and so-on. I had solved the problem of longer-term storage with my shoebox filing system that gathered loose items related to a single project. What I don’t have is a system to manage workflow-related material within easy reach of my workstation.

I’d like to reclaim my bookshelves (pictured above) so they can start to group both reference materials and…well, I’m not exactly sure. I just know I have piles of stuff that are somewhat related that need to live somewhere, and they might as well be up here with me instead of all-the-way down in the basement. The second benefit of this will be having more space to work, since less junk will be occupying table surfaces. I have been feeling this lack of usable horizontal surface very keenly.

Day Two Update

My bookshelves with a trim There’s not a huge difference, but it’s a little neater. First I got rid of a lot of stuff:

DVDs, games, and CDsI packed-up all the DVDs and games. I never watch them, so they’ll go into the basement until I figure out where I can store them more attractively.

BooksI’ve culled a lot of old books that I no longer think I will need,

I designated the left-most shelf as the “place where I keep stationery projects, stuff for other people, and things to write about later.” The top shelf is also storing some camera lighting from my sister; I’m trying it out for some tabletop photography that’s coming up for some “subscription toothbrushes” I have been trying out!

I also ordered a 32″-wide “Rubbermaid Fast Track” garage organization kit, which I can augment with 48″ rails from Home Depot. This will go inside of my stairwell next to the upstairs office where I can store kit bags that are not in use. The system can hold hundreds of pounds of weight, so I can store fully-kitted bags on the wall in theory.


  1. Lynn O'Connor 9 years ago

    I take great comfort from both “before” and “after” pictures. My bookcase mainly look like your “before” and they are tall and wall to wall in I the living room, bed room and my office. I have a “book hoarding” problem, and since most of them are professional books, it’s easy to insist I might “need” to look at them again. I identify with you as usual.

    An aside, I’m still getting your updates at my old email address –I have it so I see them, but I’m trying to get the emails I’m likely to want to read, into the new address.


  2. Sandra Gulland 9 years ago

    I struggle with the same problems, but one thing that has helped send paper to recycle: a ScanSnap portable scanner. Fast, OCR searchable files, and scans two sides of a page. I recommend!