What’s on YOUR Bookshelf?: Crystal Paine shares her shelves

What's on YOUR Bookshelf? with Crystal Paine | Modern Mrs Darcy

What's on YOUR Bookshelf? with Crystal Paine | Modern Mrs Darcy

I’m thrilled to introduce a new series today! First I shared my own bookshelves with you; then we scoped out each others. Starting today, we’re going to periodically peruse other people’s bookshelves, and I am beyond excited about whose shelves we’re going to snoop in the coming months.

Let’s kick things off by taking a peek at the personal bookshelves of Crystal Paine. Crystal blogs at Money Saving Mom and is the author of the book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year. She also has a new book coming out January 21: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life. (I got to read an advance copy, and I think you’re gonna like it.)

Crystal frequently blogs about books and reading, and I’ve been dying to take a look at her personal shelves (and quiz her about them):

1. Tell us a little bit about your shelves and how your books are organized.

It’s taken me some experimentation, but I’ve finally landed on a bookshelf setup that seems to work well for our family–at least right now! Ask me in a year, and we might have a completely different system, but here’s how we have our bookshelves organized right now:

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Our built-in bookshelves in the living room (LOVE these!) hold our favorite book titles and photo albums. We only put the best of the best on these shelves. Some of these are ones that my husband or I brought with us into marriage. Some of these are ones we’ve read together. And some are ones we’ve read in recent years and found to be fantastic. We also have a big basket on the bottom shelf where we keep all our library books currently checked out.

We have two bookshelves in the basement. One is filled with books I’m hoping to read soon… yes, I have a full shelf of books waiting for me to read! That either indicates that I love books or that I have a book-collecting problem. Either way, it guarantees that I never run out of great reading material. (Wonder how I collect so many books on a budget? Here are eight ways I get books for free or almost free.)

The second book shelf in the basement is where we keep all our children’s books — those we haven’t read yet and those we have read and loved enough to want to hang onto. We have a section for picture books and a section for chapter books, though as you can tell, it’s not a neat and meticulous system.

Where do we keep all the books that were just so-so? We don’t. I know, I know. That might seem shocking and crazy, but since I disdain clutter, I just can’t bring myself to hang onto anything that wasn’t fantastic. So we either donate, sell, or pass those titles onto others. I’d rather pass them on than have them take up space and collect dust on our shelves.


2. Do you have a favorite shelf?

I like all of our shelves in their own way. I love our living room shelves because those books contain so many memories… books I read as a teenager, books I read when I was newly-married, books that impacted me at a deep level, and so on.

The shelf of unread books always makes me smile in anticipation as I look forward to the things I’ll learn, the ways my life will be impacted, and the stories I’ll enjoy that sit waiting for me on those shelves.

And the shelf of children’s books makes me happy as I think of the wonderful hours we have spent and will spend snuggled up reading through great books together. Reading together is one of our very favorite things to do as a family!

3. Any special titles you’d like to point out to us?


Last year, I made the mistake of biting off more than I could chew when it came to setting book-reading goals. And it served to frustrate me all year long because every time I’d read a book that wasn’t on my goal list, I’d feel a sense of guilt over it.

This year, I decided to try something new and set book goals for each month. This way, as I discover new titles or am in the mood for different kinds of books, I can plan the month accordingly instead of feeling tied to a list I put together months before.

We’re barely into 2014, but I already feel like this new method of goal-setting is going to work well. Above is the stack of books I picked out to read in January. I’m loving the books I chose… and am already looking forward to picking another stack for February!

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Thanks to Crystal for sharing her shelves with us!

You can find Crystal blogging at Money Saving Mom. Head here to find out more about her soon-to-be-released book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode–including the $125 in deals and freebies you get when you pre-order.



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    • Anne says:

      That’s one I’m looking forward to reading. (I’d also like to see the movie with Kristin Scott Thomas, but of course I have to read the book first!)

  1. deborah says:

    I like seeing what other people are reading. It often leads me to new titles! I was just thinking about writing a post about the books I just started and books I want to read soon. I made a Pinterest board this morning to keep track of the books I read in 2014, just cause it will be fun to look back at!

  2. Monica says:

    How do you read all of those books? How do you buy yourself time ? 20 min. Here and there? With homeschooling and one who is disabled, I am having a hard time figuring out how to read as much as I would like.

  3. Christina says:

    …just letting you ladies know (as a superfan of both of you!)…

    I opened up this webpage just now and my three year old daughter, scampering by, said, “Mommy! Both of those girls are SO pretty!”.

    While we try hard to emphasize beauty in all forms, sometimes a little bit of more “shallow” flattery is nice to hear as well! 🙂 I hope this makes you smile today!

  4. kimberly says:

    I love this!
    We have a lot of bookshelves here, mostly antique barristers with the glass doors. I have my own by my special chair filled with the books I love and always want close at hand. My husband has one across the room next to his chair filled with all sorts of mostly reference books. One set of shelves is full of our antique books including my 1870’s set of all Charles Dickens novels. There’s another set that runs the length of our school room with mostly fiction. The kids each have full shelves in their rooms. There is one barrister full of computer books in my hubby’s office.
    And there are more books than I’d care to mention in stacks on nightstands, floors and collected in baskets all over. 🙂 We kinda read a lot. We don’t do tv and we live out in the middle of nowhere, so it’s perfect for us.

  5. Looks similar to our shelves. Our shelves are actually housed in the storage room in the basement ( we have several baskets and stacks upstairs). The kids get super excited to swap out books. I hope to one day tidy up enough to curtain off a section and make it a “library” area for them. 🙂 Cute series!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Oh! A glimpse at other people’s bookshelves – this time as a series? This is going to be fun 🙂

    It’s good to see Crystal over here! I can definitely relate to biting more than I can chew in the book department. The monthly plan sounds more manageable than a must-read-these-titles-this-year-or-else kind of one. Beautiful pictures, by the way – I’m a fan of the charming little corner bookshelf area.

  7. Cindy says:

    Oh, books shall be the death of me! 🙂 I LOVE BOOKS!!! I can’t even begin to tell you where all our books are-some under our bed in tubs, some in our attic in tubs. Since my youngest (and last) moved out, I took over her room and turned it into a kid’s library of sorts as I also collect kid’s books. I also love old books, those are mostly in a book case in our living room. I think we have a bookcase in all our rooms except our kitchen & bathrooms. Even our front porch has a bookcase.

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