Reading Between the Lines

“Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books written because authors couldn’t find anyone to talk to.”
                                                            ― Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy

What?  My world is but a stage?
I didn’t know. 

But I do know that my purpose here in Earth School is to bring order and beauty – one person, one room, and one home at a time. 

So today, I’m on my soapbox venting on messy bookshelves.


Reading Between the Lines


In the multitude of homes I have staged over the last 14 years, there is usually one room that everyone declares as their favorite.  The room?  The one with the books.

Put in a comfortable reading chair, add a couple of pillows and drape a throw over the back. Then place a lamp (turn it on!) atop a small table beside the chair and Volia!, you have a perfect setting for a sale.

But in many houses, there often are more books than in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library, and not as organized.


Your first job is to PURGE, especially if you don’t want to move them to your new home.  If you have been faithfully reading my newsletters, you may have noticed that I say “PURGE” a lot. 


A really sweet idea to pass on an armload of books to a happier incarnation, as well as to unite your community around your love of reading, is to start your very own Little Free Library.

“Started in 2009 by a couple of social entrepreneurs out of Madison, Wisconsin, Little Free Library basically offers an online community for do-gooder bookworms wanting to set up their very own easy-to-manage, esthetically pleasing lending library.

Then, all you do is fill your mini-library with books of your choice (at least initially), and sit back and watch as it becomes a hub for literacy and sociability (the people at LFL promise that social pressure will generally ensure that the honour system—“take a book, return a book”—is adhered to).

If you ask Calgary Reads executive director Steacy Lee Collyer, it’s the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her street in Inglewood. “I love it—it’s the best community-builder ever,” she says, adding that it took six months for her library to truly become a treasured addition to the neighbourhood. “People were confused by it at first,” she says, “but now my neighbours are so grateful to borrow from and contribute to it.”

Collyer’s dream is to see a LFL on every street in Calgary; to that end, Calgary Reads has asked local artists, including Mandy Stobo and Dean Stanton, to paint five boxes that will be placed at various schools next month.”
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

So here’s the real story.

Line books at the front of the shelf.  Not only does this make for organized viewing, but it eliminates dust-bunnies and the much chagrined clutter in front of books. (See picture number 3)

Check that no books hang over the edge of the shelf, if so, they need to find another home.

Try a mix of vertical and horizontal arrangements for books.

Incorporate decorative objects. Bowls, vases, sculptures, framed photos (preferably not of your extended family twice removed or ex-wife), small pieces of art, large seashells, baskets or boxes.

Group objects deliciously, paying attention to color, balance, shape, size, visual weight, and texture.

Use the “Two-Thirds Rule,” which is, objects should fill at least two-thirds of the shelf height.

If you’re feeling confused and have no idea what I’m talking about, just hire a Home Stager for few hours and all will be well.