Diary of a (Possibly Crazy) Book Culler & Sorter…

I know I promised that Other People’s Bookshelves would come back this week… Well, I lied. Okay, I didn’t intentionally lie but I changed my mind which is my prerogative and my whim, ha! However this post is in keeping with the bookshelves theme as I thought I would share a book shelf crazed day with you all, one that followed an indecent which I can almost can guarantee you will all have been through! A few weeks ago I told you I was at that time when you have simply run out of bookshelves. You ponder if you should get rid of books, or just get more bookshelves? That was the nightmare inducing situation I told you all about, made all the worse by the fact Ikea had stopped stocking Expedit replacing it for Kallax. But I made do… until the next morning when I woke at 6.30am thinking about the fact my shelves didn’t match.

Shelves 2

6.45am – Still really thinking about the fact that the shelves don’t match.

7am – No it’s fine you can’t tell from the side, I can live with this.

7.30am – No I can tell. This will only get worse when I open the curtains and see it in its full horror.

8am – No it will be fine, who will see these shelves in the bedroom anyway? Shelves are just for storage, what difference does half an inch make (insert your own crude joke here) I am just being a silly billy and it will be fine.

8.20am – Oh sweet jesus! It is upsetting my eyes, The Beard has brought tea and marmite on toast and opened the curtains and I am inwardly screaming at the shelves. I can see them, I can see them, I can see them. They don’t match!!!

8.26am – Post tea sipping I casually ask The Beard what he thinks of the shelves? Can he tell they don’t match? Pause. ‘Yes, I can tell but it doesn’t matter does it?’ I act nonchalant and return to my book, the mismatched shelves sneering at me over the top of the pages in full eye line.

8.28am – The Beard is still staring at the shelves.

8.32am – The Beard announces ‘Those shelves really don’t match do they?’ I want to scream that I KNOW THEY DON’T MATCH. I smile and say ‘No, not really. Not ideal but nevermind’ whilst wanting to weep.

8.43am – I look at The Beard ‘I am really sorry… but I can’t cope with those shelves.’

8.44am – Silence.

8.45am –  Me: ‘Erm, I still can’t cope with those shelves. I might need to get some more and re-arrange the room… What do you think?’

8.46am – Silence.

8.47am – The Beard ‘Okay.’ Silence follows.

8.56am – Me: ‘What time does Ikea open today?’ The Beard internally and externally winces.

9.06am – I have been staring at The Beard for ten minutes. The Beard gets up throws on some clothes and says ‘ I am going now. I will get you shelves, I will build you shelves, then I want to garden and be left alone. You are not coming with me, you will want to do the whole shop again, you will want meatballs for lunch and bring home more cacti. Ok?’ I stay silent because I know all this is true.

9.07 am – ‘I am leaving now, I will be back at 11 when all books should be off the shelves ready for moving them.’ The Beard leaves.

9.37am – I am still staring resentfully at the shelves.

10.55am – The Beard hasn’t returned and I have not moved any books.

11.05am – I start moving books.


11.23 The Beard is back and needs to build shelves and use the space on the floor I have filled with books when the bed wouldn’t hold anymore. I want to scream but smile sweetly and move them.

11.30am – More shelves start to be built.


11.50am – The Beard is building more shelves and wants to know why I am sat watching him on my reading chair with a coffee. I tell him he doesn’t understand how hard moving books is. The Beard responds with some comment about ‘…if you didn’t have so many books’ which I block out and stare at the books instead noticing a few books I am not sure I was aware I had and don’t actually think I will read.

11.51am – I decide this will be a cull as well as a sorting.

11.53 – I decide I need another coffee to think this all through. The Beard carries on building shelves.


11.54am – The Beard wants me to stop taking pictures and actually get on with it, I sigh, he doesn’t understand bibliophiles or the chance to make a potentially funny blog post at some point.

12.07pm – I have now taken all books off all the shelves that were in the room when I awoke. I have used the new shelves The Beard has built to house the books I took off, along with most of the floor. I am confused and cant really move, or move the old shelves. I feel vexed.

12.39pm – The Beard and I aren’t speaking, we had a row about the fact that there was no room to move the shelves.

13.02pm – We have moved the shelves, hoorah. I load the books on the first two and then we add the third… and realise that the way we have done it means they don’t match.


13.03pm We are practically back to square one. I get ‘the look’. I give ‘the other look’ back silently taking all the books off again.

13.19pm – We have managed it! The shelves all look like they are meant to be, in this corner at least but I don’t think about those other shelves for now as I am on the edge…


13.21pm – Now it is time to reward ourselves with lunch.

14.07pm – Having procrastinated by watching an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race (it is amazing) with lunch I go back to the bedroom.

14.08pm – I want to cry because the room is in devastation. I have too many books, I hate books, I want to burn them all, I will never read most of them anyway…


14.09pm I get a grip. It is time to sort these books and these shelves out once and for all.

14.32pm – I have just spent the last however many minutes making a play list of ‘podcasts and tunes I can sort books to’, I haven’t sorted any books but I will.

15.12pm – I have sorted about three rows of shelves out trying to do them in ‘themes or genres’ then this makes me cross. I start again.

16.42pm – I have sorted books by when they have been released or are going to be released. The mismatch of sizes mixing is bothering me.

17.03pm – I start again.

17.33pm – I give up and go and do some other shelves instead, the smaller ones.

18.32pm – I have made sense of the shelves in the corner by my side of the bed.


18.45pm – Is it annoying me that these shelves and my actual bedside shelves don’t match?

18.49pm – I am told to get a wriggle on as dinner will be ready in twenty minutes.

20.06pm – After dinner, and possibly more Ru Paul (it is addictive guys!) I get cracking…

21.11pm – I am done! I have sorted all my shelves out and impressively whittled out 53 books that will find loving new homes. I feel like I am king of the world and a bit smug.


21.13pm – I show The Beard my hard work.

21.14pm – The Beard comments that ‘you haven’t even touched those books in the boxes on the other side of the wardrobe have you?’ Silence.

21.15pm – The Beard then says ‘if you didn’t have so many books this wouldn’t have had to happen and maybe you should consider a one book in one book out rule.’ I consider violence, I simply glare instead.

21.16pm – I consider moving out.

21.17pm – I realise that would involve moving all these books and all these shelves again. I smile sweetly and go and eat my feelings via the medium of chocolate instead, simply thinking ‘as if, there’s still space for more shelves…’


Filed under Random Savidgeness

20 responses to “Diary of a (Possibly Crazy) Book Culler & Sorter…

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Love it, Simon – still laughing like a drain! And I so sympathise – mind you if I had to try and make my bookshelves match I think the house and everything in it would collapse….. 🙂

  2. Understand completely. Recently realised I definitely need to have more shelving…a lot more shelving.

  3. You won’t like this but here’s solution I use ( I am Type B)… I lay my books the other way…on top of each other…takes up the space better…I see you have lovely spaces above your very tidy books( I don’t)…mine are also two piles deep on each shelf.. mine are organized by the country of the author’s origin….ha it works for me…..and a separate two shelves for the classics and other separate shelves for non fiction and text books…ha..good luck…how nice is the Beard, as he is referred to.. for all the building of shelves and cooking he does too!

  4. LauraC

    This is one of the funniest things that I have ever read! My nose is starting to run from laughing (well, that and the horrendous allergy season here in the northeastern US this year.) I hope The Beard realizes what a great guy he has. No wait, do I mean that the other way around? 😉

  5. Roger Park

    A funny column after a hard days work.  If I had more time, I’d add up how much time you actually spent working vs. thinking, drinking coffee, watching Ru Paul, etc.  🙂



  6. Simon, Simon, Simon. You take Beard out for a wonderful lunch or dinner and do anything you can to make him realise he’s with a great guy. Nutty yes but great guy. Beard is a legend. You need to keep him. Get rid of some of the books or stack them as suggested above and double shelf. Get the books off the floor. Beard is more precious than any book in your house. Now I can quit laughing. Have done the very same thing myself.

  7. heather

    Absolutely hilarious! I just got rid of about 700 books so I feel your pain. I felt so empowered and in control that I went to my local independent and bought 3 books. Phew!!!

  8. sharkell

    I really needed some light entertainment, thanks! I am currently moving a four bedroom house into a three bedroom house, both of which are fully furnished and stocked with books. Arrrggghhhh!!!!

  9. Brilliant. I sniggered along to the whole thing while feeling your pain. I also do the lying books on their side thing as I realised I could fit more in. As I refuse to cull, we’ve decided we need to save up a deposit so we can buy somewhere bigger. We’re all insane.

  10. pam

    my dearest simon – i have said a lot of things to a lot of people in my life. but never “You are not coming with me . . . you will want meatballs for lunch and bring home more cacti.” i love this line and will strive to use it sometime in the near future whether it fits the situation or not.

    thanks you so much for the laughs!

  11. Melusine

    Kaggsy brought me here … It was a brilliant Sunday morning chuckle. Thank you for the amusing read.

  12. Fantastic blog. My Ikea downfall was always a cuddly toy. At one point I had about 12 of these https://www.flickr.com/photos/orqwith/14392725473/ in a variety of colours. They were all named Boutros.

  13. Absolutely hilarious post! I feel your pain 🙂

  14. Leona

    Thanks so much for this—Beard really is worth his weight–we all need someone like him..

    I was thinking of a cull–no space, matching or other-wise, but you have helped me decide to spend the afternoon reading. (The Night Circus–isn’t it great)

  15. Here’s some advice after decades of bookshelf issues. The shelves you have now are the ones you have now. Later in life, you’ll be able to afford the built in bookshelves of your dreams. After that, you’ll look back on this time of your life and laugh.

    It may be one of those low eerie laughs that slowly build to a maniacal scream, but still, it will be a laugh.

    (Okay, I admit, I stole that line from an old Far Side cartoon.)

  16. What a nice room! Personally I try and keep only my favorite books (which still amounts to a lot) and give the rest away, especially when I know I will not read them again. I still need a lot of bookshelves…

    Your cat cushion kind of creeps me out though. LOL

  17. This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while – thanks so much for posting it!

  18. Rhian

    This made me laugh so much. I know exactly how you feel (apart from the matching issue). I cheated when we had to clear the Scary Room so we had room for visitors to sleep (DB invited them, realised what the invitation meant, and said “I didn’t really think that through did I?) We shifted any books which wouldn’t fit on the shelves into the loft! (My initial plan of sorting as we went, and filling the shelves in the spare room with short stories, poetry, essays etc for visitors to read, went by the board). My system is “oh look there’s a space in that bookcase, which book can I fit in there?!) Staircases make quite good shelves too, if you don’t mind walking down one side.

  19. dabarai

    OMG, this post is about me…. I tried not to laugh too loudly do not to wake up my baby, but I can only nod to your dilemmas….
    Ps. GREAT chair!
    Ps2.i already started to buy books for my son. I so hope he grow up to be like his mum! Together we will drive his dad to distraction, haha!

  20. Hilarious and so, so true. My husband has a question for the Beard. Did he attach the shelves to the wall? Or to one another? Or both? Or neither?

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