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The Bookcase Gives Me Anxiety

So here I am, a mom on a mission, rampaging through my kid’s room with a single-minded determination to put things in order. Let me make clear that I’m notoriously scatter-brained, so single-minded anything is a stretch for me at best. But on this day, and into the future (stupid adulting goals) I’m determined to go through my life with more focus. You know, start something and actually finish it?

Good parenting 101 says that I shouldn’t be cleaning the room at all since it doesn’t belong to me and being potty trained makes them old enough to do it themselves. But here’s the thing: a lot of my stuff has found it’s way into their room, so I’m part of the problem. In clearing out my own room, I kind of made theirs the landing place for a lot of my stuff. So now I’m sucked into this vortex of Legos, laundry piles, and loads of books.

As I go about the business of straightening up and throwing away, I keep coming across books. Books on dressers, books on beds, books on the floor. Over and over again, I keep ending up at the bookshelf. If I thought the room itself was a big job, the bookcase put it all in perspective. My kids’ bookcase is giving me anxiety.

The books are “arranged” without rhyme or reason. The cat encyclopedia, a book my son bought before we even owned a cat, is next to a Beverly Cleary trio which is next to a Guinness Book of World Records which is next to a copy of The Bernstein Bears. Every time I walk over to the bookcase my heart starts racing and my body yearns to take every book down and start fresh, to instill order, to make it make sense.

My kids love keeping books just like I do. Some months ago, however, I gave them the task of thinning out their bookcase. Not an easy task as you bibliophiles well know. But I made it as easy as I could on them. Any books that they loved for content or nostalgic reasons could stay. There was a period of time when I was buying them books in hopes to introduce them to new genres and/or encourage their reading, and it wasn’t pretty. It was ugly. No matter my level of excitement, no matter the reviews, no matter the pleading, they just weren’t into my choices. Nope, it was Diary of a Wimpy Kid or nothing at all. So let’s just say a lot of books went unloved. They purged a little at the garage sale and that was that. I never had cause to give the bookcase any more attention.

Now I’m face to face with two monsters. The first monster is the bookcase itself, and the second monster is my determination to stay focused on the single task of cleaning up the room. Fml. I become a part of the problem. I’m picking up books and stuffing them onto the shelves mostly according to thickness. If I can wedge it in, that’s where it goes. The air turns chill, and I shudder.

Thin books are getting lost between thick ones. Short books overwhelmed by tall ones. You know the random setting on treadmills? That’s what I’m dealing with. There are no rolling hills here. Just jagged peaks and craters, books facing the wrong way. There’s that shudder again.

I try to bribe myself with organizing just one shelf, but you book collectors know that’s impossible. Each of my bookcases and each of it’s shelves has a personality. No shelf is an island… There’s thought that goes into it. Does anyone out there understand me?

I suspect that if I asked them to go get a particular book off of their shelf, they’d have no idea where to find it. Here’s where I close my eyes and breathe deeply. And while I’m releasing negative energy, let me just go ahead and confess that I stopped cleaning the room to write this. I didn’t type it, just scribbled down my feelings to get the hebbie jeebies out. It was the second best thing next to actually reorganizing the bookcase.

Is this what being an adult has brought me to? Is this what staying focused has to offer? Um, I don’t like it. I’ve got to get back to organizing, cleaning and stuffing books randomly onto shelves. I feel like everything that’s wrong with the world.

Do you have a system of organizing your books? Is it more intuitive or systematic? Do you also consider sloppy bookshelves to be an abomination?

Today is #nationalbookday, so go love you some books, and try not to have any little novellas 9 months from now! Unless that’s what you want. May I suggest America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines by Gail Collins? Afterall, it’s also #womenshistorymonth and this book is amazing.

You’ve probably guessed that I’ll be making videos filled with tons of interesting facts, stories and history tidbits for you this month, so stay tuned for updates. If I’m on top of my game, I might even create a schedule. (Sounds scary). You can follow me on Instagram to be sure not to miss anything. Anyhow, if you get your hands on the book then you can share even more in the conversations. Btw, the link to the book is an Amazon affiliate link. I can make some cash and you’ll possess one of the greatest books you’ll ever own on your bookshelf. Just saying.

My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?

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36 thoughts on “The Bookcase Gives Me Anxiety

  1. I feel your pain, sistah! When I was in Calcutta, I went ballistic rearranging books in my library room because as it turned out, my brother’s medical books were jammed in with mine. The horrors of it. In one day I weeded out all these heavy tomes focussing on the human body (which I believe no one will need unless the nephew chooses to follow in his parents’ footsteps). My brother might just have a fit when he sees those shelves, but I have taken my chances. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. His books smashing into yours?? That’s hideous. I have a strict no mixing policy and I suspect you have one as well. He clearly took advantage of their vulnerable state in your absence. It must have felt really cathartic to purge your shows of the Invaders!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We only have one small bookshelf, and only the bottom shelf has any books on it lol. Although, back home, I’m sure I still have many books that I’ve placed in one of my parent’s many bookshelves. I should get those at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always see these super chic bookshelves with lots of pretty decorative elements and book scattered about. I love the aesthetic, but my shelves are hopelessly full as it is. There’s a good quote that says something like a home without books is like a body without a soul. Something like that. My point is, go get your books! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

    1. See, you’re talking sense! Mine aren’t organized as objectively. It’s kind of a combination of aesthetics, height, and tone maybe? Mostly, I like them to look right next to each other, haha. But still there’s method to the madness πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You turned in all of your books for a Kindle! Kris, how are you supposed to smell the pages now? Then again, an entire shelf for Gone With the Wind tells me that it may have been time to step away. Was it really difficult for you to let go of the books?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I brought my favorites to the lake, we have an entire wall full of books! Anyone visiting has plenty to occupy themselves on a rainy day. I have modeled myself after Scarlett O’Hara, and was fascinated by Margaret Mitchell since that’s the only book she ever wrote. Way ahead of its time in historical fiction genre.


  3. At my house we have our books organised by function. One bookcase (yup, book case) of history books, one for RPG books, two for comics and graphic novels, and two for Novels and SF. And lots of assorted (or not) books on quite a lot of horizontal spaces around the bedroom. And the kids both have a book case for their own books. Although sometimes we have to take some of our books back to our bookcases.
    However, as my mother is moving, we now have to clean up the library room (yup, library room) of my father (who died a few years back). And as our house is already (too?) full of books, my wife will not allow us to take all of it so we now have to part with a large chunk of the libabry I grew up with. You know, where you knew every book, and could find that particular illustration, on just that page? Well, it’s not leaving me heartbroken, but its close. Fortunatly my father, during his retirement, made a full catalog of all his books, so now I have two things to aspire to: My own library room, and then filling it with all my books, and then recreating his library. Now if I just won that lottery….


  4. YES YES YES to your bookshelf – mine’s the exact same. Each shelf has a different type of book with different decorations on it. I can almost painfully relate to this; my bookshelf is sacred….I couldn’t deal with such a disorganised one! You did well to resist temptation xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh good luck, friend. My kids’ bookshelf is a train wreck as well. And every time I rearrange it, I think a period of no more than one day goes by before it is in disarray once again. Piles of books find their way onto nightstands, counters, the kitchen table, the bathroom, and under my car seats. Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can totally relate to the bookcase anxiety lol. I thought I was the only one. I’m such a neat freak when it comes to my books, I also have 2 children so I understand the struggle loud and clear haha xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ugh the battle of the bookshelves!!! I totally hear you!!! I’m a book hoarder and I just haven’t found a system yet other than by HEIGHT for sure. Books out of their “height” Arrangements make me want to lose my shit!!!! But still- I haven’t found the answer lol. I also have a HUGE complex with PERFECT book covers. Girl I’m not playing. If there’s a crease or a fold or a stain I’m ORDERING A NEW ONE. I’m fucking scary. I hope the room turned out well!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the “rolling hills” height arrangement is quite pleasing to the eye. Also, tallest books on the ends. And yes, you are scary! Anytime you feel like trading up for a more perfect book, you send the imperfect one to me, ya hear? Except if they’re romance or YA about teenagers with magical powers.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Dear Lord, please let it get lost in transit. Let me guess, the cover is a nighttime scene with stars, something swirly, like a long coat, there’s a bird of some sort, and something is glowing. I will burn that book.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s a great point. We had that garage sale, you’ll remember. But sometimes I do forget that the used bookstore I frequent buys back books as well, which is way simpler than garage sales. Thanks for the reminder.


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