Shelf Life

About less stuff, making room and the story of a bookshelf. IMG_1337

My house is kinda small friend. Not minute, not postage stamp size but small enough that I have to really think about how I organise and arrange everything – you know things like furniture –  so that we are not tripping over ourselves all the time.

Less stuff  is a high priority and an ongoing process around these parts.  Making the most of what I have is too. So I’m always happy when I manage to find me a little bit of extra storage space or find a way to use the space I have better. And happy when one I hadn’t thought of before presented itself in the shape of this mild mannered bookshelf.

IMG_1333It’s been languishing in amongst the lizard smells and dirty socks and chocolate wrappers of Ethan’s room for so long I’d almost forgotten about it until Ethan decided to build a new reptile enclosure (as you do) and I decided to help him.

We made the cage to fit the only space in his room where it could possibly go – the spot where the bookshelf was. It was fairly under utilised there anyway as Ethan doesnt like to put things away and he couldn’t really access the bottom shelves. So since then I’d been wondering where I could put it – too soon to go back to the garage surely – but inspiration evaded me.

You see this particular bookshelf and I have some history, we’ve travelled a few roads – seen a few things.

Most significant is that it was made by my Dad what must be 30 years ago now. I remember asking him to make it because he could make anything he put his mind to and better than anything I could buy. And sure enough – its still as strong as the day it was made. Yeah its a bit knocked around and dinged up, the clear lacquer has yellowed and its peeling on the top shelf (my fault – spilt nail polish remover) but all in all it looks amazingly good. It reminds me of a hardworking man, funny, troubled and talented – who did the best he could and took the time to make me a lovely bookshelf. Nice to have something my Dad made here in my house that my kids who never met him, get to use and touch and feel. They know some of his story now. I wonder what he’d make of the dodgy lizard cage Ethan and I made.IMG_1180

Over the years the bookshelf has rarely been used just as a bookshelf – it’s displayed all sorts of lovelies in bedrooms and lounge rooms and kitchens in all the places I’ve called home. Ignored and put upon at times – the centre of attention at other times. It spent a couple of years at my brothers house and even spent a summer out under a pergola during my single days witness to all sorts of fun and late night secret telling  that’s part of the daily goings on of four twenty something girls. I think it came as a welcome relief to spend a few years  tucked away in the garage when I first got married – some calm and quiet and an escape from all the girl talk.

But  just last week in making room we hauled it out of Ethan’s bedroom into the hall. I got distracted by something as usual and wandered off and and not really sure where to put it, Ethan just pushed it down the hallway and up against the hall wall. When I came back and saw it there – – – –the clouds parted, the sun came out and trumpets blew. Oh my  – my little bookshelf looks like it was built to go in this hallway.


Not going back to the garage after all and just opposite Olivia’s bedroom door – more girl talk !!


It has a depth of only 20cm so it tucks away here very nicely. I had a quick rustle around the house and found some baskets to fit – baskets that can hold a few things that I have been trying to squeeze without success into the linen cupboard –  things I don’t use everyday but that I want handy to the front door when I’m going out. So it now boasts a few storage cubes holding things like sunblock and sunglasses, hand cream and nail clippers, sun hats and sticky tape. Another with handballs the kids always seem to be asking for, another for torches and  batteries and there’s one long one for umbrellas and rolls of gift wrap.

IMG_1330IMG_1331IMG_1335I haven’t put anything too precious on there as it’s not a precious looking bookshelf and the kids go rampaging down this little hallway all the time. Needs a few more baskets yet and it may all change overnight but for now this is working well

Any furniture at your house with a story to tell? Any hidden storage just waiting to be discovered? Would love to hear.

And while we’re on the subject of decluttering I thought I would share a couple of things I have tried and have found useful.

1. A Bag a Day – this one Iv’e done – (am still doing) it’s no quick fix or magic wand – just all about slow consistant doable decluttering – a great post and a beautiful blog

2. Ten Ways to Decutter in 10 Minutes or Less from the website – another great website. I found points 1,2,5 and 8 the most useful. Ten Ways to Declutter in 10 Minutes or Less

Tracey xx

collage4-1Linking up with Celebrate it Sunday Link Party


6 thoughts on “Shelf Life

  1. Tracey thank you so much for sharing, I found this moving, inspiring and very real! I loved how you have honoured your dad and that shelf is so beautiful I absolutely LOVE it! It’s not just a shelf it’s a very tangible memory of your dad… A peice of him… On the other hand I have a serious problem….I am drowning in papers!!! Everything from school notes, important papers, not so important but still need them papers, each child has their own pile I am continuously sorting through and it’s all on my kitchen bench. It drives me mad. I really need some sort if filing system for the bench that doesn’t look ugly… So you have inspired me to get into that this week! Anyway thanks for sharing Tracey I really enjoyed it x


    1. Hi Amie – thank you so much for your beautiful comment – so glad you enjoyed it. I can relate – I have a bench like that too where absolutely everything gets dumped – mail, homework, odd socks, toys – you name it – drives me crazy. Iv’e started keeping a basket there so I can corral all the stuff that gets dumped and then when I get time I do a few laps of the house putting things away. I got some good ideas from this post re sorting paperwork. Bench top drawer files are a great idea. I just have a plain old plastic one – its a little unit of 5 drawers for kids stuff and current bills etc. I keep it close by where paper work gets dumped otherwise I wouldn’t use it I find the easier the system the more I’ll actually use it. My only advice with drawer files is to put the due dates of everything into your phone otherwise with papers all neatly tucked away I tend to forget about them and end up missing things. Love to hear how you go with working out a system for your bench – always nice when you can find something that works well and looks good too! Thanks again Amie for your lovely comment


  2. What a lovely little shelf with such wonderful memories, I don’t know how you could ever part with it. I am so glad it has found a spot in your hallway where you can be reminded of the love put into it by your dear father. In addition to that, it is providing a nice little bit of storage space, tucked away, nice and tidy. Thank you so much for sharing this over at Celebrate it Sunday.


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