A Loaded Post About… Pretty Shelves, Thoughts on Life, and Overcoming Insecurities

Well y’all…I was thinking the other day as I was trying to go through the stuff that got moved upstairs to my sunroom during my recent basement flooding (did I mention my basement flooded three times in three weeks, twice from the bottom and once from the top).  I am still trying to downsize from our move back in January and now that I know that there’s a chance that the stuff downstairs might get wet, I’m really having to downsize and come up with creative ideas on how to store stuff (there will be more on that in the future probably).  But, as I was trying to decide what to add to the garage sale pile, I drifted off into deep thought about how we tend to not see the potential in things that we see all the time.  Some of the things that I added to my garage sale pile are things I would totally pick up at someone else’s garage sale.  I think maybe it’s the world we live in now.  Everything is disposable and the trends change so fast!   Ironically, as this was on my mind for a few days, my aunt contacted me for advice on her shelves.  Now, do you remember me talking about my visit to their “small southern plantation” house in my post about gluten free mac and cheese?  Well, she has these beautiful dark wood built-ins around her fireplace that she…wait for it…HATES!  She has a mental block towards them and can’t even deal with decorating them.  Now, I can’t judge because shelves can be cause for decorators block even for the best of ’em and I have those same kind of places in my house.  I’m willing to bet you do too!  Since we see it all the time, we have a hard time seeing the potential in it that other people see, so we just don’t deal with them.  Well, first of all, I told her that I thought they were beautiful!  Everybody has different tastes, and I’m sure they will change them up before everything is said and done, but in the meantime it can help to know that other people don’t think they are hideous.  Secondly, I said take everything off and start over.  Sometimes we get started on something and it’s not working for us, so it helps to step away for awhile, wipe the slate clean and try again.  Lastly, I recommended using things that she loves.  Nobody wants to stare at things that they don’t really like in the first place.  I am a firm believe in not holding on to things that don’t bring you joy.  I read a book by MARIE KONDO about this, that is really helping me to accept this as a way of life.  I’m not near where she is, nor do I think I will ever be able to be as organized as her (pretty sure she doesn’t live with kids, but I don’t know that for a fact, haha), but I have learned to let go of things that don’t bring me joy.  It has been a fun journey and no regrets so far on anything that I’ve let go of!  I also personally feel like, if we hold on to things for sentimental value that there must be a way to incorporate it into our everyday lives.  I alluded to that in my post on using glass boxes for heirloom items.  Now, once you have that done you may need fillers.  Everyone’s taste is different, but I suggest for  cheap “filler” décor, check out the thrift stores for old books, bottles and/or glass containers, wooden boxes, and old plates that match your décor.  Be creative, but make sure it’s stuff that you love.  If you pick it up and have to ask yourself if you like it… then you probably don’t like it.  Beloved family pictures are also a good filler, just be sure to use coordinating frames.  Now, with all that said…my own shelves are a hot mess.  I’ve just kind of shoved things up there to get things out of boxes and it’s semi ok, but they could definitely be a lot better!  Mine are also built-ins on both sides of the fireplace like my aunt’s and that makes them extra hard because you have to have balance not only on the shelves, but also on each side!  And they are floor to ceiling, that is a lot of shelves to fill!!!  So, let’s see if I can walk the walk as well as talk the talk!


I’m starting with a few pictures of what my shelves looked like.  I made some effort to arrange stuff halfway decent when I originally put things on them, but they really needed some sprucing up.



So, you see that they were a tad bit hodge podge, and no they definitely don’t look like something from Pinterest because we actually use our shelves and live in our house.  Now, with that said I want to tell y’all how hard this particular post has been for me.  If you’ve read any of my blog then you probably know of my love-hate relationship with Pinterest.  I love it for its ideas, yet I hate it for pointing out my inadequacies.  So, of course, I used it to look up shelf décor inspiration!  You can look at my DECORATING BOARD to see all my shelf inspirations.  This is where it gets hairy for me.  Can I create shelves that look like the ones on Pinterest?  The answer is…without a doubt!  I can go out and buy all new stuff and arrange them to look just like shelves in a store, but how is that realistic?  Where would I put all my stuff that I love, my family pictures, my heirlooms, my DVD player and Wii U?!?  How much would I spend doing that just to have beautiful, but generic shelves?  How, would that help my readers out who just want to make their shelves look nice without spending a fortune and losing their precious mementos?  So, I decided to ditch the idea of making Pinterest worthy shelves and just be real!  And, this goes for a lot more than just my shelves, really it is me trying to find my place in this world of blogging.  Maybe I’m not meant to be the person who shows you how to make everything “perfect”.  Maybe I’m just meant to be the person that shows you how to make things better for you and help you to realize that you’re not the only one out there trying to be “Pintastical” and not achieving it!  I’ve decided my place in this blogging world is to just be me and hope that in the process I help or inspire someone else out.  It is perfectly fine with me if I never achieve a Pinterest worthy life and I hope that I learn to let go of my insecurities and stop comparing myself to unachievable ideas.  So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get back to my shelves…

Because I have a lot of pictures, I decided to try out my idea about coordinating picture frames.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve this without spending a fortune.  I just happened upon a box full of those old gold frames (you know the ones with our childhood pictures in them and the ones that we get rid of as soon as we inherit them from family members).  I probably just got rid of a few of those myself not too terrible long ago.  But, really, done right, they can look really good.  So, I thought I would give it a shot…especially since they were marked half price.

gold frames

I got all these for $5.00!

I decided the best idea was to mix some of the gold frames and black frames that I already had with these to make it all look more coherent.  The next thing I did was clear out the shelves.  I didn’t take my own advice and take everything completely off.  I should have because even though I thought I was going to leave the books where they were, I didn’t…


So, basically all I did was clean up some…rearrange to make things look neater,  change out some frames, buy maybe $20 worth of new accessories (two gold spheres and some greenery), and add some of my vintage bottles that I realized I had not unpacked yet.  Now, this wasn’t all done in a day.  This process probably took me a few days and that was the hardest part with three kids running around.  I had to try and keep them from messing with all the stuff I had laying around, haha!  But, I eventually got it done and was fairly pleased with the outcome.  I achieved my goal of cheaply decorating my shelves and arranging them where they were even on both sides of the fireplace.  I don’t have anything on them that I don’t like except for necessary items.  I used a stack of books to try and camouflage the DVD player and Wii U.  I still use my brass pot by my desk to hold papers that need to be filed (because like I said earlier, we actually live here).  If you have things on your shelves like DVD’s and CD’s then check out my post on using binders to hide them on your shelves.  So, it’s important to remember there are ways to hide things that are useful, but not necessarily beautiful.  So, here’s what I ended up with…




Not a huge change, but everything does look a little neater and more cohesive.  I will apologize for the poor quality of pictures.  I don’t plan to try and achieve perfection, but I do hope to one day get a better camera and do better with my images!  All, in time though!

So here is a recap:

-Find the potential in what you already have.

-Wipe the slate clean and start over.

-Keep the meaningful items and place items of sentimental value out in a way that you can actually enjoy them.

-Get rid of the things that are not bringing you peace and add fillers that you actually love.

-Remember that you’re unique and your surroundings should reflect that (no cookie cutter décor here).

-Look to others for inspirations not comparison.

Oh…wait a minute…was I writing advice about decorating shelves or life…(insert shy smile)



One thought on “A Loaded Post About… Pretty Shelves, Thoughts on Life, and Overcoming Insecurities

  1. This was great!!! Inspired me to do something with my wall to wall, ceiling to hearth double bookshelves!

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