Before I get rid of anything in our home, I do not ask myself if it sparks joy. No. I ask myself if I can repurpose, reuse or makeover the item to make it work better in our home.
I also ask myself if I have the energy to repurpose, reuse or makeover the item.
Sometimes the answer is “no.” Sometimes the answer is “maybe.”
Sometimes the answer is “I really shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself!”
Then I end up doing something drastic like cutting off belt loops on Handy Husband’s old, ripped-up jeans to make hanging loops for kitchen towels. Remember that project? Still using those towels, by the way.
The most recent time I asked myself if I could makeover an item that had started annoying me was a few weeks ago. The item in question was my son’s bookrack.
You’ve seen it in this vignette from his tiny room in Ireland.
This bookrack was a freebie find.
If I rent a house and someone has left junk in the garage or basement, I consider that junk fair game for my use.
I have no shame in saying that.
That’s where this bookrack came from. I’m sure the landlord was happy that I pulled it out from under a huge roll of carpet and got it out of their hair. They gave us our full deposit back, so I’m telling myself they didn’t mind. Or notice.
My son was 4 years old when we started using that bookrack. He’s almost 9 years old now. The bookrack had seen better days. It was a little scratched up and there may or may not have been a dried booger fossilized on the side of it.
It wasn’t mine.
The sorry state of the bookrack didn’t bother me until approximately 14 seconds before I decided to rip it off the wall and give it a makeover.
It was just one of those “enough is enough” moments, I guess. I’m sure you can relate, right?
In fairness, my moment was a little more anticlimactic than my “rip it off the wall” language suggestions. What I really meant was I had to walk down to the basement to get a screwdriver, walk back up and get distracted by four million other things that actually needed doing, forget about the bookrack and then three days later finally get around to unscrewing the bookrack from the wall.
It was still satisfying. Just not nearly as dramatic.
The only problem was that I didn’t have a solid plan for the bookrack makeover beyond getting it off the wall. That’s par for the course around here.
I knew I wanted to make the bookrack look like it belonged in an older boy’s room, so I decided a logical first step would be to sand the
boogers paint off to see what I was working with.
What’s the worst thing that could happen with this logic-enabled plan?
Well, in this case, sanding a bookrack outside in 20º Fahrenheit weather is a little…chilly. But a little frostbite is not the worst thing that could happen. Not to me.
Between the sound of the sander, the ear protection and my focus on operating the sander, I was not paying attention to my surroundings. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see a dark streak racing toward me. A millisecond later I realize that dark streak is actually a pitbull.
Then I have a heart attack.
Then a millisecond after that I notice the pitbull has an owner who is chasing after his pitbull yelling, “He’s nice! He’s nice!”
Too late! I already had a heart attack, thank you very much.
My sander was still running, by the way. I’m still not sure how I managed to avoid dropping it.
Thankfully, the dog was quite friendly and the owner was very apologetic. The dog had broken away from its owner while out on a walk. I guess he likes a good bookrack makeover as much as I do!
Speaking of the makeover, that was a really roundabout way of getting to the point of this post. Here is the finished bookrack in all of its glory.
Underneath all of the white paint I discovered that the bookrack was solidly constructed, but out of two different types of wood.
I decided to stain the horizontal pieces and paint the vertical parts of the bookrack using paint and stain I had on hand.
I showed you a picture of my son’s room the day we moved in. It’s a long narrow room with an A-frame type ceiling. I barely squeezed this bookrack on one of the few spots that is not angled and more than 36-inches high. It’s a tricky room to make functional, but I’m grateful for the space.
The door to the right of his bookrack is his closet. Or, my overflow closet if you want to get technical about things.
I don’t think we will be using this bookrack for another 4 years, but in the meantime, this impromptu makeover solved my desire to make the bookrack look a little more appropriate for an 8-year-old boy’s room instead of a preschooler’s room.
My son doesn’t really care either way how his bookrack looks. He cares about how much time he gets to play after school, if he has to shower that day or not, when tennis lessons start, learning division facts and if he can make me laugh with a new joke from his joke book.
And you know what? I’m perfectly happy with that.
P.S. I suspect our bookrack originally came from Pottery Barn since they seem to sell a few different types of these wall-mounted bookracks.
If you’re in the market for one, I love the natural-colored wood legs on this one from Pottery Barn.
P.P.S. Handy Husband bought me this Ridgid sander and the velcro on the back of the sandpaper discs sticks SO WELL to the sander. I’ve not had one problem with the sandpaper coming off. Velcro saves the day!
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