Baby Gear 1 – Introduction

This series is dedicated to my dear, dear friend Kayla who is expecting her first baby.  Do me a favor and please and pop over to her blog, Renowned and Crowned, and shower her with words of encouragement, congratulations, and blessings.

Baby gear and gadgets is a massive industry, you take one step into Baby’s R’ Us and that is clear. There are products out there to do almost everything, many of them unneccessary. I remember a friend of mine when she had gone to Babies R’ Us responding to it with “that store was overwhelming. Why does anyone think a baby needs all that stuff”.

 There are advertisments always bombarding us about how “better” life will be with this or that. How terrible and hard it is doing something without this “special time offer”. How we do not have the ability to discern and care for our babies without that product. How our babies will NOT be safe without it, sometimes giving false statistics. The advertisements job is to show us what we are missing out on. To convince us “that product” is really great and our lives our bad without it. As moms, stewards of money, and homemakers we need to approach claims of superior life bought for $19.99 with caution. We need to discern and research. Advertisement is a big part of any business and discernment is a big part in making the decision of whether something really is or not necessary.

We have always tried to keep our life simplistic as far as gadgets go. Many things that are designed to make life easier and more convenient become a burden as they over take your house. Each item must be cared for on some level and so can potentional add more trouble then they are worth. As a homemaker I try to carefully consider everything that comes into our house. Sure, I buy things and then realize I shouldn’t have (such as 20 pocket diapers I don’t like) but that is a guideline I strive to live by. If we can make do without it, I often try not to get it, because even if something is “convenient” or bought for cheap it can complicate your lives.

Over the next several weeks I will be sharing with you the baby gadgets we find pretty indispensible, we love, we enjoy but don’t find necessary (and probably only have because of a gift), and the ones we intentionally avoided. These will all be from my personal experience. I realize what one person finds unnecessary another person finds indispensible. It is my hope that I can share from my experience and hopefully help other young moms.

And no, I will not be advertising any product for personal benefit :D.

And once again, please head over to Kayla’s blog and shower her with blessings.

Baby Gear- Common big purchases
Baby Gear- Clothes
Baby Gear- Cloth Diapers
Baby Gear- Carriers
Baby Gear- Nice, Unncessary, and Avoided

Building a Home Library 3- How We Store Our Books

Today in the Building a Home Library series I want to talk about how we store our books.

If you have not read the other parts of this series here they are:
Building a Home Library 1- Why We Are Doing It
Building a Home Library 2 – What is On Our Shelves

Please excuse the quality of the photos we’re making a switch in computers right now so I couldn’t upload pictures from my camera and had to use my husband’s work ipad.

Here are the ways we store our books-

Rain Gutter Bookshelves

We love our rain gutter bookshelves! After an initial cry because I thought they’d be ugly (I was surprised at the style of gutters brought home) I love them. BTW I no longer think they are ugly, I wouldn’t want them in our family room but they look right at home in our den.

You can read how how to make Rain Gutter Bookshelves here.

Some of the reasons we love these-

Christopher is able reach all of his books.

They are pretty unobtrusive and easily places in “dead” space.

I was afraid they’d be sharp and dangerous, but while they are sturdy they also give a bit because they are made out of plastic.

They took very little time at all to hang. In an evening Mark and a friend of ours bought the material, sanded some sharp spots, ate dinner, installed them, and we put the books in them. Christopher stayed up a little late because we wanted him to be able to help put the books in them and to help build them. He LOVED playing with the stud finder.

Christopher is able to easily put his books away.

It takes very little time to pick up the books and put them away. Before, when I had the books in baskets, I felt like I was ALWAYS picking up books.

Christopher is able to see the fronts of his books and choose his favorites. (This sometimes doesn’t feel like a bonus when I read a book for the billionth time). This also increases the desire to read.

The materials cost us about $36 which was higher then I expected, but I think it was worth the investment and that’s still pretty cheap for Children’s bookshelves.

Custom Corner Bookshelves-

When we were first married we bought some Walmart bookshelves. They were pretty terrible. They stuck out way far and had very little shelf space for the space it took. Books that were big enough to fill it well were way to heavy for it and both shelves fell apart in no time.

We knew we wanted nice bookshelves that didn’t fall apart and custom bookshelves that fit our house well and held a lot of books for the space they took. So, my dear fantastic hubby, and a good friend (same one who helped with the rain gutter bookshelves), made these…

Aren’t they great?

A lot of books stored in a little space.

These shelves are only 10 inches deep and have custom heights between the shelves. Since we built them ourselves we were able to make them to fit in the corners of our room.

We put them in corners for two reasons, to use up dead space and at 10 inches deep they aren’t very steady and need to be attached to another shelf at an angle.

The first one they built (the ones that is actually full) has 42 feet of shelves, that’s a LOT. The second shelf doesn’t hold as much because the height between the shelves is a little greater and they aren’t quite as wide.

They are as sturdy as can be and we will be able to move them easily since they are attached with hinges (we’ll have to take the books off of course they are HEAVY!).

We built these based on a book we got at the Books Bloom Conference called The Case For Books. I don’t know if this book is available to the public, they don’t sell it on their site, we got it as part of the conference. I’m sorry to be rather unhelpful about that. :(

The only thing I don’t really like is since they need to be attached to another bookshelf they’re hard to build up slowly so we went from two big shelves that didn’t hold all of our books to four book shelves, half of which are partially empty.

The first set of bookshelves cost $150 (about half the cost of two real wood bookshelves) and the second set cost $100.

Other Storage-

Those are our two main sources of book storage but we have a couple more places.

The shelves that were already in our downstairs closet were prefect for Mark’s textbooks and some homeschool textbooks. We do not like to have books in boxes, even ones like these that aren’t in immediate use, because that is bad for the books. We use our downstairs bedroom as a craft and hobby room so the closet is being used for unconventional storage.

We have more of Christopher’s books in a magazine rack in our family room. I wanted to have the books handy for him in both living spaces. I removed the block in the center so that it could hold more books.

We sometimes read books before getting out of bed in the morning (Christopher joins us at some point during the night), and also if I’m wanting to lay down with Natalia to nurse her I sometimes give Christopher some books to keep him busy while he is on the bed with us. His books are in the bottom shelf basket, the books I am currently reading and some notebooks of mine are in a basket on the second shelf, and there are also two read aloud books that have made it to Mark’s and my bedroom but really don’t belong there so ignore them.

Frugal Friday at Life as Mom


  1. We just keep on buying more bookshelves from Ikea. :) And we each have a pile or two in our bedroom….

    I like the gutter bookshelf idea, but our family is almost past the picture book stage. Time goes so quickly.

    Annie Kate, popping by from Frugal Friday

    PS I’m your latest follower. :)

  2. Popped in from Frugal Friday…I love the hinged bookshelves! We’re having a bit of a bookshelf “crisis” in our little apartment: the old just-got-married-flimsy-bookshelf had to go but we’ve yet to replace it, leaving those books in unfortunate plastic bins for now. We do have one huge, sturdy bookshelf but one’s just not enough!

    My husband is definitely getting a link to this article…and maybe free reign to head to Home Depot tomorrow. I smell a weekend project coming on–thanks for the post and idea! :D