Order from Chaos
I’ve finally organized my books. It only took a decade. Maybe two. When we first moved into our current house I had fewer books, bookcases in various rooms, and everything was fine. But you know how it is, there are more books being published, which means more books to read, which means I have to buy them. The way I explained it to my partner is that I’m doing my part to support the economy. So in a way, buying books is patriotic, right?
More to the point, I’ve bought a lot of books over the years and, as noted in a previous post, those babies were stacked two deep on the sagging shelves of some extremely old bookcases. Fun fact: The ones that sagged were ones we got either from stores or from places we worked (surplus office supplies). The one bookcase that didn’t sag was the one I built myself when I was sixteen years old. It’s been my bedside nightstand/bookshelf for, well, many years and it’s still holding up.
What I needed was a big bookcase, something that would fill an entire wall in my home office. Something sturdy, with glass doors to cut down on the dust and dog hair. And something that would hold all my books.
I considered building it myself, but that would be a major undertaking. I don’t have a wood shop and I don’t have all the tools I would need for the project, like a table saw. And I don’t have a garage, either, so no place to store them. That left me with the option to find something I like online and hope for the best.
I did a lot of searching, comparing materials, prices, colors, designs, but I finally settled on the Billy Bookcase from IKEA (and no, not an endorsement; I paid for them myself) because I liked the design. Of course, these are mass-produced products, so it’s not particle board/pressed wood instead of solid wood, but I can work around that.
My main concern was sagging shelves. The bane of all book collectors. But I have a workaround. Shelf supports. Basically, I can cut some 1 inch x 2 inch pieces of wood, paint them to match the shelves, then basically stack them from bottom to top, adding support to the center of each shelf. And all I lose is one inch of space on each row. A small price to pay. I also need to tweak the way the doors hang. They’re all a little offset, but easy enough to correct.
Now, of course, comes the fun part: The organization. So far, I have all my books on the shelves, and roughly organized by fiction, poetry, humor, collections, religion/philosophy, and non-fiction. I’ll break those down into sub-genres, then by author. My partner, however, thinks I should organize my books by color. I tried to explain to her that would make it difficult to locate books, but she can be persistent. I’m hoping I can distract her by suggesting she organize her shoe collection by color. I think she has more shoes than I have books, so that should keep her occupied for a while.
For what it’s worth, I feel a sense of relief now that all my books are in one place, somewhat organized, and will be easier to locate when needed.
Next on my to-do list? My vinyl albums. Wish me luck!