I am a bibliophile and a bookworm. I buy, share, collect and read books in many genres. My love of books began when I was in pre-school and hasn’t wavered since. While other young girls were arguing with their mothers about the length of their skirts I was arguing with mine about my inability to purge any of my precious book or comic book collection. Now that I live in a smaller space, I have to be mindful of the amount of books I own and how I store them. My tips on how to be a book loving small space dweller…
- Go vertical – I have a tall Sapien bookshelf from Design Within Reach (see above left image from their online shop) and it is one of the best investments I’ve made. It is made well, comes in white or black, fits in a 14″ X 14″ space and mine currently holds a little over eighty books. The Sapien also presents your book collection as a beautiful floating stack. At the writing of this post, DWR is having a special offer, buy two and save $50. I also love the Wall Mounted Bookcase by West Elm (above right image from their online shop). Mounted on the studs for extra capacity, this floating shelf is perfect for a home office, bedroom or even a kitchen for cookbooks.
- Embrace technology – While I still love the feel of a hardcover in my hands, I’ve also embraced the e-reader. The prices for dedicated e-readers like the Nook and Kindle are much more affordable now and the current versions are also lighter. You can also download e-reader apps for free to your phone, tablet, iPad or computer. I do prefer the Kindle for reading novels and non-fiction gems due to the lack of glare and less eye strain (you can read the Kindle in full sun!). I use the iPad Nook or Kindle apps for cookbooks or image heavy publications. What I also love about my Kindle is that I can send a sample of the book to my Kindle account. Rather than buying the book right away, I can peruse the samples and buy when I’m ready to read.
- Have an outbox – The only books I keep are cookbooks, reference, design, photography and art books. Novels, motivation, business, magazines and non-fiction reads are taken straight out to the CRV and placed in a box in my trunk as soon as I finish the final page. When that box fills up, I drop off my stash at the Maui Friends of the Library bookstore. Friends and family are also welcome to browse that box and help themselves to whatever catches their eye (if we are out to lunch and dinner and you’d like to browse da MauiShopGirl free used bookstore, just ask and I’ll gladly pop my trunk for you). If you have difficulty letting go, try to imagine that object sitting in your home. Would it sit on a shelf gathering dust? If so, wouldn’t you be happier knowing that the book you enjoyed may bring someone else joy or knowledge?
- Decorate your interior- I love seeing books around a home. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine living in a book free home. Stack some design books on a bench at the foot of the bed or in the entryway. Put an art book or two on the coffee table. I’ve also seen a stack of books used as a resting spot for an alarm clock next to a low platform bed. I used to go to a salon in Honolulu that had a huge round glass coffee table in the waiting room with a center base. They stacked books under the coffee table, spines out. It was a wonderful effect, you could see the gorgeous covers through the glass and it created the illusion that the table top was sitting on stacks of books.
- Search for unused space – If you have room at the foot of your bed, it could be the perfect spot for a short but wide bookcase. How about shelves under a stairway or lining the wall of a hallway or entryway?
- Divide and conquer – A beautiful shelving unit can be a wonderful room, studio or loft space divider and can serve as storage too for books or other objects.
- Mix it up – Gone are the days where we placed all our books on one shelf and collectibles on another shelf. I mix books, tchotchkes, frames and ceramics together on my cube shelves. I stack some books horizontally and stand others up vertically, whatever works best for the mix of items, the size of the books and the amount of space.
- Buy less – Genius, right?! For me, I can buy books at a much quicker pace than I can consume their content. So, I put more thought into my book purchases. I place possible future purchases in my wish list or the save for later option in my cart on Amazon so that I can take some time to read reviews and really consider whether I need that book NOW or at all. I also keep a category for my list of someday reads on my Things iPhone app rather than purchasing books straightaway. If I wait a few weeks, I often find myself willingly removing some books from my list or Amazon cart. I visit Barnes & Noble (da mecca for a coffee guzzling reader like me) no more than once a month. I also borrow books from the library.
All images via merchants’ online shops.
Do you have any tips to share on living with books?