Stephanie knows where my Achilles heel is located. It is, in fact, quite a ways from my actual heel—about ten feet across the room, in fact.
I have a wall of books in my office at home, and my two children each have two shelves, which takes up about a third of my space. I want to kick them out of my bookcase and get them their own for their rooms so I will have more room for my books. Oh, did I say that? I meant, I want to get them their very own bookcases for their rooms so that they will be more encouraged to read and feel a sense of ownership for their books. Yeah. But they are so expensive! At super department stores, I find the â€˜engineered wood productsâ€™ and laminate finish bookcases inexpensive, but they are cheaply made and not really very attractive. Where can I find real wooden bookcases that are big enough, sturdy enough, and doggone it, attractive enough, that will last them until I kick them out to find their own places (I mean, until they spread their wings and fly like the little angels they are into their own independent lives), and that will not empty the bank? Whew! Did you make it through all that? Like you donâ€™t have enough to read during the day.
Right. Bookcases. Does anyone else wonder if the person who invented particle board was in it purely for the gag of the middle shelf bowing until all the books spill out onto the floor…? I’m sure particle board is great for lots of things, like… ummmmm… well, they sure do seem to use it a lot on design shows, but then the cameras leave before everything fall over… so… uhhh… okay, I’m not really sure where I was was going with that. Sorry.
I’m a book lover, and as such, I believe books deserve to be lovingly displayed and stored. Nothing says “one week in college I couldn’t afford beer at all” like a $40 particle board bookcase with a cardboard back. Not only are those bookcases ugly and prone to shelves warping or just plain falling off those tiny little support pegs, they are a particularly bad idea for kids’ rooms. If you’re looking for a unit to put in a child’s room, you need something sturdy. Or at least something you can attach to the wall with a bracket. Those particle board things, a bracket would just rip right through the back.
Okay, so let’s talk about what I like, because I’m guessing you may have already ascertained that I’m not the president of the Particle Board Fan Club.
In a perfect world with gobs of money, you go to your favorite furniture store where they don’t hold sales, just have fair prices on nice stuff all the time, and you pick out what you like. Voila! Lovely. You of course pick out a few sturdy wooden cases for your kids, and life goes on. (Heck, while you’re there, pick up something pretty for yourself. You deserve it.)
In reality, you may not be able to afford that, so then the question becomes what are the options between that and the saggy college cast-offs?
Do you have an unfinished wooden furniture store near you? Most such stores have a variety of offerings, from the most basic to “wow, this is so expensive I may as well go to a real furniture store and let someone else paint it.” (Speaking of: Most of these sorts of stores will paint or finish it for you for an additional fee, if you like.) Check out these offerings; the shipping is “free” there, but prices are a bit high (translation: shipping is already factored in, because nothing is free), and it means you have to do your own assembly, of course. I actually had local stores in mind, but that will give you some idea of what’s out there. If you’re looking for sturdy, no-frills bookcases, this sort of store may fit the bill.
Again, yard sales and thrift shops and consignment stores (aw, heck, just go review this post about finding things used) may yield something perfect. It may take some time to find something, but if you do, the price will certainly be right.
Don’t forget to check out Overstock… I’ll be putting up their weekend coupon later on today. Again, ordering online means you have to put it together yourself, but it may be a way to get a bargain.
And here’s one more thing for you to consider—I don’t know how old your kids are, but maybe you save the nice bookcases for later, and go with a slightly more creative solution for now. My son still has one of those racks of toy bins in his room… and he keeps most of his books in there. It’s not particularly elegant, but it’ll work for now. A couple of bins or baskets may work just fine until they’re old enough that you feel safe putting a nice piece of furniture in their rooms. Even a couple of sturdy brackets and a painted plank across the wall may be sufficient for your needs, and that will cost you more in elbow grease than cash.
Good luck, and remember—just say NO to particle board!