Monday, May 14, 2007

Thrifty Book Shelf Tips

Flatly stacked on the shelves of an unusual bookcase, South Florida artist Carol Fryd has arranged her books -- fiction, biographies and art books -- into a stunning and surprisingly practical work of art. But you don't have to be artistic to make your books attractive and easy to access. Here are a few frugal suggestions:

• Sort and purge. Jane Butler-Biggs, author of Feng Shui in 10 Simple Lessons ($19.95, Watston-Guptill), recommends clearing off your shelves and sorting the books. At my house, we purge our bookcases at least once a year.

• Box, sell or donate your overstock. Trade in extra books at used bookstores for cash or store credit. We've also sold books on eBay. Many charities need books and you may qualify for an income tax deduction.

• Create a system. Consider organizing books into categories and even subcategories. Art, literature and cookbooks can be organized by genre, region or period. Lulu de Kwiatkowski, a New York-based fabric designer, suggests arranging books by color. While her color-coordinated book shelves looked good in a recent issue of Domino magazine, finding a specific book might be tricky. What's important is to create a system that works best for you.

• Be creative. Furniture companies sell bookcases in unusual shapes. For example, our coffee table and end tables have small shelves for books. We've also found attractive bookcases at yard sales and thrift stores. Others have hired cabinet makers to design and build custom shelves to fit odd corners and spaces.

• Use boxes for deep storage. My husband has packed away excess books and stored the boxes in large closets and cabinets. Boxes from office supply stores are affordable and offer lids, handles and space for labels.

That's from my latest Frugal Duchess column in the Home & Design section of the Sunday edition of the Miami Herald.
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1 comment:

TexanNewYorker said...

I can also recommend the frugal usefulness of wine crates. They can be stacked and reinforced as bookshelves or used as deep storage bins under beds and desks, and almost any liquor store will have a hoarde of them that they'd love for you to take away for FREE! I've even seen them stained and nailed to the wall as modern-styled shelving.