But Where Will the Books Go?

When you’re as nutty for books as I am, you tend to accumulate them without even realizing it.  My collection grew from one tall bookshelf in my childhood bedroom to three tall bookshelves… and spilling over… today.  For years I’ve been perfectly content to live amongst heaps of books – books stacked double on my shelves – books on my nightstand and under my bed – books coming out of every odd place imaginable.

Over the past two years, hubby and I have implemented a temporary solution to the book creep.  This is the room that we have been fondly calling “the bookroom” up until now.

(In my head I picture the room from The Little Bookroom, one of my favorite kids’ books – and source of many of the bedtime stories that made me the most popular babysitter in my neighborhood when I was 16 – and although the reality is both less romantic and less dusty than the book, it’s still a fun place to hang out.  With less sneezing – bonus.)

But all that has to change.  In a few short months, “the bookroom” will be dismantled, on its way to becoming “the nursery.”

Cue panic.  Anyone remember the episode of “Friends” where Monica and Chandler are discussing their efforts to have a baby?  Monica starts “reassuring” Chandler by telling him that when the baby arrives, there will be so much they can’t control, like: “What if the baby gets into the ribbon drawer?  Messes up all the ribbons?!  What if there’s no room for a ribbon drawer, because the baby’s stuff takes up all the space!? Where will all the ribbons go!?!”

Imagine the same level of panic in my voice as I realize that we have to clear out the bookroom.  WHERE WILL ALL THE BOOKS GO?!?!?!

Go ahead and laugh, but this is a problem of some magnitude.  My book collection is pretty ridiculous; the three bookshelves I have right now are practically buckling under its weight as it is.  (And that’s not counting hubby’s book collection, which takes up two of his own shelves in our den.)  And the bookshelves I have don’t really match any of my other furniture.  I know, who cares, right?  But I’ve actually spent money and effort in trying to make sure that my house looks like adults live in it – in contrast to my first apartment, which looked like hobos… or frat boys… or hobo frat boys… were squatting there.  So it’s my strong preference to not destroy that hard work by moving shelves into a room where they clearly don’t belong or look good.

Here are a couple of the less-than-perfect solutions I’ve come up with:

1) Move the bookshelves into my second guest bedroom as a temporary solution.  Eventually install built-in shelves and use the second guest room as permanent book storage.

(Problem with this: Out of sight, out of mind.  The odds of me actually installing built-in shelves in a rarely used room, sometime within the next ten years, are pretty slim.  Meanwhile, the shelves really won’t look good in there.  So I’ll have an unfortunate-looking room that won’t really get any better for a long time, which I will proceed to actively hate on but do nothing to improve.  Plus, if we have another kid sometime down the road, the second guestroom will have to make way for that kid.  And then the books will be homeless again.)

2) Move one shelf into my main guestroom and put the other two in the basement.  Edit down my collection severely and put the rest of the books in storage.

(Problem with this: The main guestroom only will fit one shelf as it’s currently configured; it’s a big room but that’s just the way it’s laid out – there’s not much wall space that doesn’t involve a picture window or a large closet, and it’s all in use already.  And editing down my collection is not a good option.  I’ve only got about two-thirds of my total book collection out as it is.)

3) Reconfigure the furniture arrangement in the main guest bedroom.  Specifically, I could move the TV out of the main guest bedroom and set up the bookshelves where the TV was.  Nobody watches the TV in there, because I lost the remote years ago.  (Sorry to all of my houseguests.)  The shelves aren’t a perfect match in that room, but they would look better there than anywhere else and be a not-horrible temporary solution.

(Problem with this: I don’t know where the TV would go.  I store all of my unused stuff – which isn’t much stuff; I’m a minimalist in everything except books and perfume – in the basement.  But I’m a little weirded out by the idea of electronics going in the basement, especially if we have another flood.  Still, this might be the best solution, if I can find an acceptable place to store the TV.)

4) Buy a couple of new bookshelves that will complement my bedroom furniture and move as many of the books as possible in there, then pack away the rest.

(Problem with this: ‘Spensive.  I have cribs and strollers to buy, and daycare to pay for.  Plus I’ll still have to whittle the collection down a little bit.  And having my books in my bedroom… well, my motivation to actually visit other rooms will shoot way down if that ever happens.  It’s already a little too comfy in there.)

Long-term, what I’d really love to do is install built-in shelves in the living room.  I love, love, LOVE the way built-ins look, and I think they’d be a perfect backdrop for my piano, which I’m hoping to move down from New York before baby’s appearance.  (Not to mention a temptingly convenient place for my books to live.)  But installing built-ins is a long way off.  As much as I’d love to, I don’t think either hubby or I is confident enough to take on a task of that magnitude, and paying someone for a big project like that – a project which isn’t strictly necessary – isn’t really in the baby-on-board budget.

Bottom line, the books need somewhere to go, and I really don’t want that somewhere to be “in storage.”  Especially not when I have space to spare in the house.  I want the baby to grow up surrounded by books, like hubby and I did.  In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out where I can put these displaced books so that they’re out of baby’s way, but still easily accessible to me.

Any ideas for me?

5 thoughts on “But Where Will the Books Go?

  1. I don’t have an understanding of your house layout, but if you’re eventually looking to move the books to the living room… could you paint those bookshelves to match the living room (or really any other room where you might have the space for them)? While it’s not the most fun project in the world, it seems less expensive than a construction project or buying new bookshelves, and you don’t seem particularly fond of those shelves as is.

    • That’s a good suggestion, except that I’d have to sand it down because it’s glazed – and I don’t think hubby would go for that. He doesn’t even like me using strong cleaning products at the moment – such a sweet overprotective dad-to-be. 🙂 But it’s a definite possibility for down the road after the baby comes, provided they can get in the living room without interfering with the piano space (I’m going to have to move out a chair and a credenza just to make room for the piano to begin with – but fortunately I already have homes in mind for those pieces).

  2. Can you get a used bookcase somewhere for now or maybe somebody has one they don’t want anymore? Not too expensive. I would suggest something with doors since the munchkin will probably be pulling books off the shelves when he/she learns how to stand. Just saying. 🙂

    • Possibly! There’s a Goodwill and a big thrift store center each less than five minutes from my house, so I might check those out – hadn’t even thought of that! I’m starting to lean towards moving the TV out of the guestroom and putting the shelves in there – I’ve had the TV since 2003 so it’s clearly outdated and basically unusable since I lost the remote; I’m not sure why I’m so wigged out by the idea of it going in the basement. If I do put the shelves in there – whether they’re the ones I have or used ones with doors (love that idea, and if I ever get built-ins they will definitely have doors) I’m envisioning that as not being a room the peanut will go in that often – I’m going to do my best to make it boring for kids in there, although I know a bit about kids and those are usually the rooms they MOST want to destroy, LOL! I’ll definitely put the books I don’t care about on the low shelves once the kid is mobile! 😀

  3. Pingback: Nursery Tales: Where the Books Went « Covered In Flour

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