Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reinvented Childhood Bookshelf in Just 62* Easy Steps

Completed project... for now... 

I’ve been following the (often overwhelming) posts on Apartment Therapy. Every once in a while I get the bug to turn my dreary, piecemeal apartment into something fashionable and sleek (and then I remember that I have no budget -- who has the money to spend $1,000 on on a plastic chair?). But, rather than get overwhelmed by actually doing something productive (like cleaning larger spaces like, oh, I don’t know, my living room or kitchen or bathroom), I dig into a task that isn’t very high on the “need to do” checklist, because, you know, priorities. I had this old bookshelf that I’ve had since I was probably 5 (particle board, nothing fancy). It’s white laminate with stains from old candles I got for a long-ago birthday, and I’ve been using it as kind of a catch-all (imagine junk drawer, but with more dust). I kept old electric bass amp cables, an old set of double bass strings, my old digital camera, bibs and participant medals from every 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon I’ve ever run, bobby pins, old photo frames no longer used, tags I’ve removed from new clothes just before heading out the door wearing said new clothes… You get the idea. Recently I’ve been acquiring more cold weather clothing: Cuddl Duds, long-sleeve t-shirts, layers upon layers upon layers. I wanted to find a way to store these new layers, along with the sweaters that can’t/shouldn’t be hung up and so, with a little obsessive internet browsing, I came up with the idea for my repurposed (budget-friendly) bookshelf. Here are the steps I took (should you try this project, your steps may be different):
  1. Stare at my dusty old bookshelf for approximately 4 years.
  2. Allow it to accumulate clutter beyond my wildest imaginings.
  3. Ignore the dust bunnies (that seem to multiply at a faster rate than real bunnies) for the last 8 months. (If you don’t touch it, it’s not airborne, right?)
  4. Start obsessively reading Apartment Therapy, dreaming of a sleek, clutter-free home.
  5. Realize that isn’t going to happen any time soon.
  6. Stare at the sweaters draped across my drying rack.
  7. Realize that I rarely actually put them “away,” and instead just wear the same ones over and over directly from the drying rack.
  8. Go through my closet and realize I actually do have a decent selection of cozy clothes to keep me warm.
  9. Resolve to do better.
  10. Stare at my dusty old bookshelf some more.
  11. Go online and browse Target.
  12. Spot these awesome baskets that are more expensive than I need, but they’re so pretty.
  13. Order these baskets, and also some more practical ones that do the exact same thing, but for less money.
  14. Wait for baskets to arrive in the mail.
  15. Open magic box from Target -- Huzzah! Baskets!
  16. Immediately gravitate to the awesome design baskets and see how my folded sweaters would fit in them.
  17. Continue to stare at my dusty old bookshelf and take no steps to actually start cleaning it off.
  18. Admire my neatly folded sweaters in one of the fancy baskets I ordered.
  19. Calculate just what the shelf height should be to accommodate the fancy baskets. Realize it’s the same height as the non-fancy baskets.
  20. Finally open the non-fancy baskets, because I feel guilty non opening them, just to see how they’d look.
  21. Stare at the two baskets for a little while. Finally decide to splurge a little and go with the slightly-fancier plastic basket for the project.
  22. Decide I won’t really have a good idea of how the project would look unless I actually make an effort to clean off the bookshelf already…
  23. Sit down and watch Hulu for 2 hours (because Miranda is hilarious).
  24. Eat some supper, because it’s that time already.
  25. Wash the dishes.
  26. Glance at the bookshelf to see if it is still dusty and ugly, or if my project has magically completed itself. It hasn’t.
  27. Sit down on the floor in front of the bookshelf to get started.
  28. Realize I forgot all dusting materials under the kitchen sink.
  29. Get back up and fetch everything I could ever possibly need to tackle such a massive amount of dust.
  30. Begin the dusting process.
  31. Shove found bobby pins in random places in my ponytail (to be found later, while getting ready for bed).
  32. File away old race bibs and medals, dusting each individually (not because they’re precious, but because they are that dusty).
  33. Shove old picture frames aside to be dusted at the end.
  34. Try to remember which electric bass cords actually still work. Give up and shove them in a corner with my instruments, to figure it out later.
  35. Dust each shelf thoroughly, and then remove the shelves and dust them again (because, somehow they’re still dusty).
  36. Move the bookshelf and realize I hadn’t vacuumed behind it since I moved in. Use all the vacuum tools/attachments to get in the nooks and crannies and corners of the carpet and the bookshelf itself.
  37. Take a sneeze break.
  38. Look at the bookshelf and question whether it’s even worth trying to do anything with it.
  39. Walk away for a while.
  40. Come back, looking at the floor with bookshelf clutter exploded all around. Decide I do actually want to be able to walk through my hallway without tripping over clutter. Resolve to complete this stupid project.
  41. Look at the peel and stick wallpaper thing I found at Target. Consider covering the back panel and top (to cover up the stains from the candle from many birthdays ago).
  42. Decide against the wallpaper (too much work and too expensive for just an old bookshelf) and go with some wrapping paper I have lying around in my closet.
  43. Measure the back panel to figure out just how to cut my wrapping paper -- Carefully cut the wrapping paper.
  44. Realize that my angles aren’t 100% square, but it’s for the back of the bookshelf and there will be baskets in it anyway so it doesn’t really matter that it’s not perfect, right?
  45. Try to figure out the best way to adhere the wrapping paper… Little rolls of packing tape -- If it’s good enough for the mail and for presents, it’s good enough for me.
  46. Stick little rolls of tape around the edges of the inside of the bookshelf.
  47. Try to figure out a way to keep the paper from rolling back up while I’m trying to stick it up in the two top corners… Find a couple of bobby pins in my hair and clip them onto the bottom two corners of the wrapping paper. Somehow stick the paper to the tape and pull the rest of it tight and smooth out the paper -- Success!
  48. Realize I still have to cut wrapping paper for the top of the bookshelf. Decide to use one long roll of packing tape across the whole front of the top.
  49. Get caught in a web of sticky tape.
  50. Throw away a lot of tangled tape and start over.
  51. Finally succeed in making a roll of tape. Realize I need to measure and cut wrapping paper.
  52. Finally get the perfect piece of wrapping paper cut only to have it roll into the already adhered corner was correct...and one corner curled with the pattern down.
  53. Try to get the paper up from the tape without ripping it.
  54. Fail at getting the paper up from the tape without ripping it. Tear it violently and curse the wrapping paper gods.
  55. Cut another piece of wrapping paper for the top of the bookshelf.
  56. Adhere it correctly and smoothly and do a happy dance!
  57. Realize I still have to put the shelves back in.
  58. Put shelves in, but notice there is a wobbly one because I accidentally put one of the shelf pegs in the wrong hole.
  59. Take the shelf out; fix the peg; put the shelf back in.
  60. Figure out which of the sweaters (and Cuddl Duds) goes in which baskets and on which shelves.
  61. Finish the top of the shelf with pictures (no longer covered in dust).
  62. Worry about the sticky tape residue that will inevitably be a problem someday in the future, but decide to ignore it until I get another project bug.

So, that’s it, just 62 easy steps to the perfect, sweater-filled bookshelf. 

Wrapping paper tops it off
Completed back panel

* 63. Realize after taking all of the pictures for this blog post that the middle shelf is still crooked (see completed back panel photo). Take out shelf; fix pegs; return shelf; resolve to not do any more "creative" projects, at least for a little while...

No comments: