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Quick and Easy Children’s Book Storage

December 30, 2010

Call me crazy, but I kind of felt like posting about something that has nothing to do with Christmas or holidays or presents or cooking or resolutions or looking back on the year. I’m still stuck firmly in the in-between week of feeling like we’re in a bit of a fog. Next week it’s back to work for John and pre-school and our “normal” (whatever that may be) again, so I think I might be ready to look back and evaluate at that point. Until then, I’ll be honest and say that I still haven’t even managed to look through all of the pictures from the holidays. Those that I have seen are mostly frantic shots I tried to get of random moments that end abruptly because I decided to put the darn camera down and just enjoy the time with my kids and family.

So, instead, I decided to post a quick and easy project for book storage for kids. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I can’t. I wish I could at least give credit for the idea, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I got it – though probably somewhere among all of the posts I searched full of ideas for gutters as storage for books. {If you know where I found it, please share – I’d love to add a link!} What I do know is that we have a lot of¬† children’s books floating around our house and we can always use extra storage space for them. Some live downstairs on the bottom shelves of the grown up bookshelves. Some live in the corner of their room and wind up always being stacked on top during cleanup. Some lived on a second bookshelf that lived in the closet, but that got re-purposed just before Christmas to be ready for post-Christmas toy organization. So we decided to put up a few bookshelves on their wall:

They’re Ikea spice racks, $3.99 each. Not huge in size, but just the right size to keep a few in reach and easy to put away. Not that we have any issue with pulling out a book around here, but I’ve read a lot about how much more likely children are to reach for books when they can see a full cover and I’ve been amazed by how much more interactive they really are with these shelves. I’m not sure if it’s really the novelty of the new shelves or the state of their older book shelf on the other side of their room, but they definitely go for books on these a million times more.

The old shelf(that still looks like this daily):

And, for posterity, the chaos that ensues around and behind me when I try to spend 10 seconds just taking pictures of some bookshelves:

Yes, they’re wearing a Halloween costume and his bathing suit/shirt(on her). Jumping off of beds. Reading books. Vacuuming. Probably ripping books when I wasn’t looking and saying 1500 times, “Be gentle…Be gentle…be gentle with the books…”

I should probably post soon with an update on how much their room doesn’t look like this anymore. But I can’t make any promises – rumor has it around here that I’m seriously considering switching out bedrooms because theirs is smaller and it feels like I have toys coming out of my ears and moving them into our bigger bedroom would give us space in their room for more of a play area. But, we’ll see. John’s working on finally finishing the kitchen, so he may not be a huge fan of flipping bedrooms any time soon. But that means that hopefully – hopefully – I’ll have a budget kitchen remodel (2-years in the making) to share very very soon.

114 Comments leave one →
  1. ell.uu permalink
    January 2, 2011 12:18 pm

    arggh! why is there no ikea here (yet)? we have books everywhere and nowhere to put them. I love this idea.

  2. January 2, 2011 11:34 pm

    Thank You!!!!! perfect timing! We’re redoing our current tv/sunroom into a playroom for our two girls! This will be perfect!

  3. Ellen S. permalink
    January 3, 2011 1:06 pm

    Great (and thrifty!) idea. I think my girls might like one of these by their bunk beds that they can keep their favs in.

  4. January 3, 2011 4:32 pm

    Genius! I’ve been wanting book displays such as this for some time now and would have never thought to use spice racks! Thanks for sharing such a fabulous idea. :)

  5. January 3, 2011 4:43 pm

    I too love the idea from Ikea! Nolan’s bookshelf stopped being sufficient soon after we bought it!

  6. January 3, 2011 4:46 pm

    This is a wonderful idea! If only there were an IKEA in Nashville. :(
    I will have to keep my eyes peeled at thrift stores, though. :)

  7. Karolina permalink
    January 4, 2011 3:57 am

    A hello from Gothenburg, Sweden!

    What a great idea!
    I’ve been wanting to build a tall bookshelf where you could put books forwardfacing, but this is clearly so much easier!

    All the best in 2011!

  8. January 4, 2011 11:39 am

    What a brilliant idea! I may have to borrow that when we redo my daughter’s room soon. I popped over here from Ohdeedoh. Off to wander around now…

  9. January 4, 2011 1:50 pm

    That is simply briliant! Love it! Will share it on my blog if you don’t mind.
    Love from Germany, Melanie

    • Lillian permalink*
      January 4, 2011 2:09 pm

      Definitely please feel free to share!

  10. Aimee permalink
    January 5, 2011 2:09 pm

    Love this! I’m totally heading to IKEA this week to get some for my son’s playroom that we’re working on this winter. How did you attach them to the wall?

  11. January 6, 2011 6:27 pm

    I love this idea! Why oh why do we not have an Ikea in Vegas!

  12. January 7, 2011 4:10 am

    Your book shelves made it all the way to German readers :-) Shared it on my blog today.
    Love, Melanie

  13. January 8, 2011 1:26 am

    Hey these look great! I’d love to do this for my own kids books… I had a look on the ikea website, and I can’t seemt to see how these attach to the wall – how did you do it? Are there small blocks of wood underneath maybe? I’d love to know! Thanks :-)

  14. January 10, 2011 2:44 pm

    Okay, this is brilliant. Thank you for the great idea!

  15. Jaime permalink
    January 10, 2011 3:00 pm

    These look great! I was wondering how you mounted them? After the early demise of a wall mounted hat rack, I’m afraid my little darlings might destroy anything hung at their level…

    • Lillian permalink*
      January 21, 2011 12:09 am

      I was woried about similar and we definitely had the little guy climb them once, but after that he didn’t. I know my husband said they don’t come with hardware(I thought they did for some reason), but he just needed screws – he said to check the size when you open the package because he used screws smaller than a normal size.

  16. January 11, 2011 1:34 pm

    We don’t have an ikea here either, but that is a GENIUS idea! I’ve been looking for some spice racks, too. I may have to make the 4 hour trip to Mlps just for those. :) (Just kidding, but I sure wish they shipped more!)

    I found you by googling children’s book storage.

  17. mel permalink
    January 20, 2011 7:20 pm

    here is a similar idea using rain gutters from raising olives:

    • Lillian permalink*
      January 21, 2011 12:06 am

      Thanks so much – can’t wait to check it out!

  18. robi stanton permalink
    February 15, 2011 5:48 pm

    Subscribe by email

  19. February 17, 2011 3:07 pm

    Fantastic. I am going to share this on my blog. Thanks so much!

  20. February 22, 2011 12:03 am

    Thanks for the idea – I want to put this in my nursery now!

  21. Renee F permalink
    March 15, 2011 4:08 pm

    Great idea! Really impressed with this one!

  22. jessica permalink
    March 15, 2011 4:11 pm

    I LOVE this idea!! Thank you-I’m going to do it this weekend!

  23. Kim permalink
    March 15, 2011 7:04 pm

    I think this would also be great as an organizer for my kids’ school stuff! One shelf per kid and they can put their folders, library books and other things that need to go to school on their shelf. Genius!

  24. March 26, 2011 5:09 pm

    What a wonderful idea, especially for young children. I liked it so much, that I’ve blogged about it for my German readers:
    And, of course, I will head to local IKEA store on Monday! :-)

  25. March 30, 2011 2:05 pm

    Hello over there,

    it is really a great idea. I surched for a new solution at our home. Especially for the books from the library. Thanks! :)

    Well, after a few month of living with the new shelves: are they still use them more often than the other book shelves?

    • Lillian permalink*
      March 30, 2011 8:38 pm

      Yes, definitely! We put them up in December and they still use them every day!

  26. Lauren permalink
    April 1, 2011 6:18 pm

    My husband liked this idea so much that he offered to go to Ikea while on a business trip! Such a great idea!

  27. April 15, 2011 2:32 pm

    I did this in my daughters room. I spray painted them a deep brown to match the theme in her room.

    Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  28. July 8, 2011 9:34 pm

    I’m expecting my first at the end of the month and my father made me some similar shelves, (as we don’t have an Ikea near by) Can you tell me how you HUNG these? We can’t seem to figure out a secure way to get them up and flush mounted!

  29. August 15, 2011 11:50 am

    Thank you for sharing such a neat idea. We used it in our home and it was just what we were looking for. I have blogged about it here:


  30. Tiffani permalink
    October 6, 2011 8:54 pm

    Love this idea! Question, have you tried to spray paint them? If so, do you think I need to sand them, then prime them, then paint them?

  31. November 30, 2011 10:41 am

    Loving them! Would be ideal in our nursery school, the shelving we have at the minute always get so messy…

  32. Andrea Matthews permalink
    January 29, 2012 6:22 am

    This is going to sound absolutely crazy, but here goes! After seeing this on Pinterest I LOVED this idea so I immediately got on Ikeas website…they don’t sell these online!!!! In stores only:( and the closest store to me is about 5 hours away! Luckily for me I have friends there right?! Nope! They didn’t have them in that store either:( I can’t believe I’m asking this of a complete stranger but here goes! Would you mind emailing me so we could possibly discuss your assistance in purchasing a few if these? If you have a PayPal account I could send you $ that way? Please let me know, I am totally serious about this! Lol Thanks for your time! Oh and by the way I have been eyeing the ones a PBK for years but really? $3.99 who can beat that?!?

    • Lillian permalink*
      January 30, 2012 10:28 pm

      Sent you an email!

      • shelly permalink
        February 15, 2012 4:26 pm

        Crazy, I was actually about to send you the same e-mail as the lady who posted above. Not one IKEA store in my state carries this shelf right now :( Do you have any suggestions or can you offer any ideas? Thanks!!

      • Lillian permalink*
        February 20, 2012 3:07 pm

        If you’re handy at all, you could try to build something similar!

  33. February 21, 2012 12:26 pm

    I love your idea! My son loves books. He doesn’t want to give them away because he plans on giving his books to his baby brother/sister once he has one.

  34. Katerina permalink
    February 29, 2012 3:47 am

    Hey! Very clever idea, which I’d love to use it in my kids’ room, only not for books, but for boxes of table games. Can you please tell me what is the actual depth of this rack? Can it hold a 2 inch deep box?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Lillian permalink*
      February 29, 2012 6:15 am

      They are 3 7/8″ deep, so they’d definitely fit a 2″ game. Fun idea!

  35. Mari permalink
    March 27, 2012 8:11 am

    BRILLIANT IDEA!!! I can’t believe I just spent $60 on a bookshelf that takes up so much floor space too. I think I’ll venture to my Ikea and see if I can find these shelves. THanks so much for sharing – the pic is great cuz I can totally visualize where I’d put it up in my kids’ room now.

    • Lillian permalink*
      March 27, 2012 9:17 am

      Glad they helped! Have fun:)

  36. Jennifer permalink
    July 2, 2012 9:46 am

    Would you know the lovely color on these wall. It is beautiful! thanks!

    • Lillian permalink*
      July 2, 2012 10:07 am

      Hi Jennifer, It’s a True Value color called Surfboard – can’t remember the number. I still love it 3 years later!

  37. December 5, 2012 3:10 pm

    I know I’m way late to the party, but I LOVE these shelves!

  38. January 14, 2013 1:30 am

    Such a great idea – thank you for sharing! I pinned it. :-)

  39. April 5, 2013 5:20 am

    A google plus 1 for you! Well done. I also saved
    it for later on. My friend owns a web site similar to yours and I think
    this is going to interest him. I will send him the url,
    maybe you fellas might even do a link exchange or something.

  40. morgan permalink
    June 4, 2013 4:28 pm

    What did you use to hang the spice racks onto the wall?

  41. June 17, 2013 11:27 pm

    This stellar knife block idea will save you lots of time.
    If your going to be storing food in canisters, whether on the counter or in a cabinet, a requirement is that the food stays fresh.

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  43. Catherine Wood permalink
    July 1, 2013 11:56 am

    How did you hang the racks? Are there slots on the back of the rack to hang them, or do you have to find a way to hang the racks?

    • Lillian permalink*
      July 4, 2013 11:01 pm

      Hi Catherine, To be completely honest I can’t even remember! I may have given more details earlier in the comments. There are slots on the back to hang them, so that helps, but I think they may have been a funny size, so that’s worth investigating! They’re managed to hold up to my now 4 year old (the little guy in the pics) climbing them on way too many occasions, so they seem to do ok:)

  44. July 10, 2013 4:52 pm

    Hello, just wanted to say, I loved this article. It was funny.
    Keep on posting!

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