“I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
One of the toughest things about moving was dealing with all my books. What was even worse, was that I couldn’t unpack them for the first two months living here. We had a lot of work done to our house with painting and laying down new tile, so it would have been stupid to unpack all my books, just to have them moved. So, all 23 boxes sat in the garage for two months.
We finally got the all clear a few weeks ago so I begged my dad the one weekend he was in town to carry in all my boxes from the tightly packed garage. I new this would be a long process because of my pain restrictions—I would empty three boxes and then I had to sit for twenty or thirty minutes before I could begin again. Those were some rough pain days.
I slowly emptied each box, not only separating the kinds of books they were—fiction, non-fiction, classics—but I made stacks in alphabetical order. As someone who has been diagnosed with OCD, this type of organization is very important to me and I kind of love it. When I worked at Urban Outfitters right out of college, I loved it when I was put upstairs, because that just meant I got to organize the countless shelves of vinyl.
How was I going to set up my books in a way that utilizes the space in the most productive way? I saw all over the internet—especially on Tumblr and Instagram—people who organize by color, by size, or by feeling (what does that even mean?!). My best friend from college organized her bookshelf by whatever was the most aesthetically pleasing, in her eyes. I think a small part of why she did that was because she knew how much it bothered me. Even my mother separates the family bookshelves by hardcover and paperback.
Speaking of my mother, she just assumed that once I had them all generally alphabetized, I would just throw all of that letter in the bookshelf. Once I told her that each letter now had to be put in order by alphabetical order by author last name, she was incredulous. She honestly thought I had lost my mind, when in reality, this soothed my mind like no other. Now, I know how overwhelming this picture looks, but I felt very in control—a very infrequent feeling for me. It was finally time to pop on the headphones, put on a podcast, and get to work!
It took me a few days, a new bookshelf added, and another set of shelves that were built into the wall by the previous owners and I was done! And I had one bottom shelf to spare! It’s so unbelievably colorful, it’s so nice to be able to step back and look at it as a whole. I’ve had overflowing and messy bookshelves, book stacks across a few different bedrooms for so long that just looking at this beautiful masterpiece gives me peace. Adding the horizontal book stacks really helped to fit more books on to every shelf. I also think it makes the shelves look more interesting, not just the same monotonous row of books. So this where all my fiction goes. I still have a cart in my room that holds all my signed books, so technically not everything is out here. I also got some floating shelves for my very favorite signed books:
On the other side of this front room are built-in bookshelves over a long desk. This where the rest of my babies live. The top row is my collection of classics. Next, I made these two little stacks showcasing different parts of me: the first is a stack of fairytales and other famous children’s literature with my collection of Peter Pan figures; the other side, a stack of all my books having to do with comedy. The in-between is filled with other memoirs and non-fiction short story collections. Bottom row has my broadway books, a lot of scripts, and ends with my dance books, my pointe shoes, and a replica of the Degas statue, Little Dancer, Age Fourteen. I really love how these shelves turned out. Gahhhh! I just love everything!
I’m so incredibly lucky that my parents were okay with me taking over literally a third of this house with all my stuff. I’m thinking they were throwing everything at me to feel better about moving, I should have asked for a new car or something…
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do, which is problem impossible because I’m over the moon!