Less is More…Again!

Last month, I de-cluttered the built-in shelves in my living room.  I love the more simple look and am so happy I put in the effort!  Read more about it here.

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This month, I tackled the built-in shelves in our upstairs game room.  I think built-ins can be a blessing and a curse.  The cabinets are nice for hidden storage, and they have great display space.  But on the other hand, it’s SO MUCH display space!  After many phases of rearranging the shelves and some advice from a friend, I think they’re done!

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I love to read, and I used to hang on to every book I bought and read.  About a year ago, knowing I’d want to tackle this space, I got rid of about half of those books – the ones I never thought I’d read again.  The “before” photo here is after that purge…and there are still a lot of books!  The books were really making the shelves look cluttered because there wasn’t any consistency among them (height, color, etc.).

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I decided to move all of the books either into the cabinets below or into baskets I bought for the shelves.  The shelves are only 11″ deep, and since I didn’t want baskets hanging over the edge of the shelves, I had pretty limited options.  I ended up ordering two sets of these woven baskets from Target.

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I found that de-cluttering in phases was the way to go when starting with such packed shelves.  Here was one of my first passes.  At least I got all of the books out of sight!

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And here’s my finished product.  I removed even more items in the second and third passes, and I bought a couple of black 8 x 10 frames on sale at Michael’s to add some height.  I stuck with black and silver for the frame colors, and I even spray-painted a few of my 4 x 6 frames black to avoid buying new ones.  So much cleaner!

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Here’s a peek into one of my baskets full of books.  I made sure to put them either on the top shelf or with a shelf close to the top of it to hide the contents.

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I wanted to give some of my 4 x 6 photo frames some extra height, so I used some hardcover books covered in white paper.  When I was arranging things, I placed the books with the spines toward the back of the bookcase, so I’d get an idea of what they’d look like all white.

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Once I was happy with the placement, I made the covers.  For a couple of the smaller hardcover books, I used plain 8.5″ x 11″ printer paper taped end-to-end.

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As long as the paper overlap was on the back of the book (which is the side that’s facing down on the shelf), it’s good!

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For the larger books, I used paper from a 12″ x 12″ pad of scrapbook paper I already had on hand.

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I taped two of the 12″ x 12″ sheets together (white side facing down so it will be the outside), marked off the height of the book, and cut off the excess.  A small piece of tape holds the part of the paper I folded over the inside flap of the book.

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Here’s the finished product.  Note that the edges of the book cover are not covered, but I’m perfectly fine with that for the reduced level of effort!  If you want to do something more elaborate, there are lots of ideas on Pinterest from covering with fabric to making a complete book cover (edges and all) to printing the titles on the spines.  I’m all about easy and free DIY around here, though, so don’t be surprised when I go with the simplest option!

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What do you think?

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I also redecorated a small bookcase in our home office.  I got so excited that I forgot to take a before photo – oops!  But here’s what it looked like when I realized I’d forgotten.  Suffice it to say that it was a neglected aspect of the office.

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And here’s the finished arrangement.  Every time I pulled an item off of one of the built-in shelves while I was redecorating them, I placed it in a box.  Then I’d carry that box to the next set of shelves I needed to rearrange.  It’s so nice to redecorate with minimal purchases!

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I used one the baskets to store all of my extra fabric pieces.  With them standing on their sides, it’s easy to see all of the patterns and colors at a quick glance.

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So I crossed a couple of projects off of my list, and I’m adding a new one: painting the back wall of the upstairs built-ins.  That should really make everything pop, not to mention it needs a paint job anyway.  I’ll keep you posted when that happens!

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2 thoughts on “Less is More…Again!

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