Try This: Make (And Paint) A Kids Bookshelf

In one sitting, my hands can sort through a crisp roll of Ritz crackers. In that same sitting, my hands can type a few hundreds words, scroll through instagram, twist the curl on the nape of my neck around my index finger, pop up a can of LaCroix and wait for that sensational sizzle. In one sitting, with these hands, I can shop for a pour over kettle, try to catch up on the news, write a list of things I need to do and likely won’t get done until the end of the week. If left idle for too long (this week especially), the same hands will find themselves folding laundry to wonder and sit in a particular cluster of feelings, thoughts and realities. 

After coming out and showing out, the sun has gone away and the rain soothes and cleanses, as it often does. And these hands still need something to do. I’m never quite sure if it’s because of my job or if it’s because of my nerves—maybe it’s a mix. While we are all unique, our circumstances in this country and the lack of things to do outside, makes us equally and uniquely the same. 

With that, what to do with the hands? That is, what to do besides cleaning.

The kids’ use of their books has brought more attention to the lack of a bookshelf in their room. For a long time, their books called two mix-matched crates home. The books stood straight up, with the crates flat down, so they could go and grab what they’d like. That was until somehow overnight, it felt like their books doubled. And the size of their room didn’t and couldn’t grow with it. While I’m a supporter of getting rid of things and pausing purchasing for others, the truth of the matter is; for many of their books right now, they aren’t willing to. And neither am I. Notes from 2012, 2014 and 2016, are enscribed between pages as holiday and birthday notes abound. The books without notes? The kids ask for on multiple occasions. The rest remain books that will help a tiny-learning reader continue his journey. 

I searched for bookshelves for a good three days. They needed to be sturdy, take little floor space, were preferably white or a natural wood, and above all, didn’t seem too toddler-like. Turns out, a request like that is hard to come by for under $300. While vacuuming under the stacks of books, trying not to let them slip out of the wood slats, I realized that I could just build up. It wasn’t super genius, or anything too creative. But it did save money, time, and allowed for a bit of design. Most of all, when watching a non-stop election news cycle with my free-trial of CNN, it gave my hands something to do. 

While there isn’t an election of chaos and stress to pass the time, there’s still 65 or so days of God-knows-what, a winter of Covid-19 spikes and holidays responsibly spent more or less, alone.

What to do with your hands? Make (or paint) a bookshelf or two. Have you tried this?

While you’re at it, try to hang your scarf, not wear it, try to stain a side table, not toss it and may I suggest: turn your fitted sheet into your tablecloth.

4 thoughts on “Try This: Make (And Paint) A Kids Bookshelf

  • Reply Ashley November 11, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Or turn your old table cloth into a picnic blanket! Love this so much!

    • Reply latonya November 11, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      that same table cloth was a picnic blanket sunday! So yes to all!


  • Reply Anya November 12, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    We painted a $40 Craigslist wooden bookcase, and it turned out very cute. 🙂 Also, I just realized that I hadn’t seen your posts on Bloglovin in forever— I don’t think they’re loading. I’m not sure why. Last thing— When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead was my daughter’s favorite book when she was about that age when this is what her bookshelf looked like, and when she made me read it, I could see why. Highly recommend. 🙂

  • Reply Tara November 14, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    That’s one of my fav things to do and plan to do this COVID winter, especially. It’s all about self-care to maintain sanity at this point.

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