Last week, I found myself standing face to face with four empty bookshelves, and I had absolutely no idea where to begin.
Until I did.
It looks like this.
I found loading this bookshelf to be as cathartic as a good burst of angry cleaning. I so enjoyed arranging and re-arranging, adding and taking out again, shuffling them to get the colors right, and musing all the way:
1. A blank slate can be paralyzing, but it can also be liberating. (Why not give those rainbow bookshelves you’ve always swooned over a try?)
2. Prepare for serendipity. Under the new system, my red copy of Pride and Prejudice goes first.
3. But prepare for some very strange encounters…
Nietzsche and Emily Freeman sit side by side. Huh.
4. … and a lot of culling. I moved too many books I don’t even like to our new house. Why, why, why?
5. Related: if you have stacks of boxes labeled “basement books” because you don’t like them enough to keep them upstairs, are they really worth keeping?
Growing Strong Daughters next to The Happiness Project. I like it.
6. If a book gives you the heebie jeebies, get rid of it—even if it is a classic. (Goodbye A Clockwork Orange, Heart of Darkness, A Separate Peace.)
7. Unless it belongs to your husband. Don’t get rid of your husband’s books without asking him, even if you’re sure he doesn’t want them anymore. (You’ll be surprised at what he wants to keep.)
Krakauer’s Into Thin Air sandwiched between two Hemingway novels is oddly perfect.
8. If you have two copies of a book, keep the prettier one.
9. But multiples are perfectly fine. I’m keeping my duplicate copies of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Winnie the Pooh, thank you very much.
10. You’ll find an overwhelming amount of white books.
11. But many more purple books than you expected.
12. You could never arrange your office like this, but it’s beautiful in the living room. Can you live with it?
13. Time will tell.
The living room is coming together—finally!