Jackie here.

I confess it: I lead another life. Well, another decorating life. And it’s called the Facebook photo album. What am I talking about? Whenever I buy some new piece of junk [read: awesome thrifty item], I snap a photo of it, hook my camera up to my computer, import and upload that sucker in under two minutes, slap some sassified comment about how much I spent/what my plans are in the photo info box and baby, I am done. It’s not like this blog-thing where I am programmed by my spastic writer’s nature to see this blank space and think:


But here’s the benefit of having a FB album I tend to tend to (nice, two parts of speech!) so easily and readily: I’ve got a grand repository of picture-inspired bloggo ideas to draw from when I finally get around to it.

Today’s topic: shelves. Which I hate.

And this is a problem because there’s always crap I want to put places, and gee wiz, it’s hard to do that, as well as effectively decorate a room when you hate shelves.

Well–let me nuance that. I don’t hate shelves–things you can set other, smaller things upon–it’s shelving I hate. It’s Big Box aesthetics. It’s boring, stupid, yucky poo poo crap that passes for interesting decor.

So what kind of shelves does a person who hates shelves put up? Let’s go to the tape!What you’re looking at is my solution to the shelving, you bore me, dilemma: thrift and vintage crates and boxes. Starting from the top left, you’re looking at a Goodwill crate ($4), a vintage box ($7) and a vintage diet rite crate ($15).

Immediate benefit of this type of shelving: they’re interesting all on their own. WHAAAAT! Most shelves when empty we’d like to see fade into the sunset because they’re so banal, but when you choose vintage/thrift pieces of different sizes and depths and colors of wood, visual interest is pretty much automatic.

Here are the boxes from the side:

So because these objects did not come into the world thinking they’d be going on a wall as shelves, I had to get them ready to be hung up. I purchased some sawtooth picture hangers from Lowe’s (get them just about anywhere that carries hardware) to hammer into the backs of each box/crate—don’t be scared; this is really easy! No nails needed whatsoever. Just grab a hammer, and in mere moments you’ll have a bunch of easy-to-hang objects. If you’re hammering these into something with edges of varying heights (like the rightmost box of this cluster), either place the box on a book so the long edges of the box are hanging above the ground or fold up a towel in half and in half and in thirds, and set the box on that. This’ll prevent you from bashing it up and adding unplanned character to the edges.

Before you actually hang anything on the wall, mock up your placement on the floor by sliding the boxes around till you have a cool setup. I even traced the boxes out on kraft paper and stuck the paper shapes on the wall to figure out what I liked and at what heights (TIP: don’t hang your arrangement too high. It should be more or less at eye level.) After I had a sense of where I wanted the boxes to be in relation to each other, I started to map out on the wall all nail placement locations. And there’s a really, really easy way to do this:


Run up to your bathroom, grab your mangled tube of white paste, and totally and completely simplify object-hanging. Stick a glob on the picture hanger on the reverse indicating where the nail should go, hover the box next to the wall till you have it where you want, and press it against the wall. Remove the box carefully—don’t smudge! You’ll have a perfect indication of where you need to put the nail.

Once your boxes are hung, it’s time to fill. SECOND TIP: DON’T OVERFILL. It can be so tempting to look at an arangement of shelves and think, gosh now I should put something in every available spot. By  no means should you do this! Negative space—the empty area—is just as important to the overall look as is picking fun objects.

It took me awhile to get it right when I first ‘merchandized’ these shelves, but here’s what I came up with:

I’ve changed a couple of things since then, but the basic  idea remains: I didn’t fill every ‘spot.’

So that’s it! The shelving-hater does shelves. What unconventional shelving types have you tried in your home?

*DISCLAIMER: The shelf-loathing expressed in this blog post is a particular hang up of Jackie’s. Rachel is much more rational in this aspect of decor. We’ll let Rachel come forth with her own issues as she is ready. =)