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REPURPOSE | Trash into Treasures

Too many books? Just shelve them.

Text by Wendy Becktold

Photo by Lori Eanes

This summer, I went through boxes of books that were collecting dust in my parents' garage. I unearthed volumes from my childhood like Little House on the Prairie and a mini-biography of Florence Nightingale so worn that I was amazed it hadn't fallen apart. I wanted to keep these treasures, but I ran out of shelf space a long time ago—a problem any bibliophile can relate to. Even the Library of Congress, with 838 miles of shelves, has books piled on the floor and stacked on metal carts.

Clearly, there are just too many books. E-readers were supposed to solve this problem, but they are hard to bond with and aren't necessarily better for the environment. I'd have to read a minimum of 40 volumes on one for it to be the greener choice, according to a life cycle assessment by Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris in the New York Times. Most of my childhood library ended up at the thrift store, but I kept a few favorites. Since I can't shelve them, I drilled some brackets into the wall and turned them into actual shelves. It gives me more space, and best of all, the books are still intact, so I can reread them if I want to. Now that's a happy ending.


You'll be drilling holes in the wall.

What You'll Need:
  • Hardback book
  • Electric drill
  • 1 corner bracket (2")
  • 2 corner brackets (3 1/2")
  • Six steel flathead wood screws
  • Flathead screw driver
  • Ruler
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • 2 to 6 plastic anchors (optional)


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