The post that rescues my home's stashed mementos.

Our living room bookshelf is equal parts form and function with the several baskets scattered throughout to wrangle our clutter. I loved the visual results of that bookshelf so much that when we were revamping our office, I wanted a bookshelf in there, too.

Bookshelves, in general, are an easy way to add color (a big bonus since we can't paint the walls) plus height to a room--and you can find inexpensive versions if you are willing. This one that's in our office is decidedly more heavy on "form"--and this "form" is the result of, in several cases, mementos that I have unearthed from their assigned seats in the backs of drawers and the bottoms of boxes. So, without further ado, here's a stroll down the memory lane portions of our bookshelf (don't worry; it's not so mushy that you'll need a box of tissues nearby)...

1.  Our baby pictures. We had ours enlarged to black and white 8x10s at Walgreens, and I am loving the adorable result. I purposely chose pictures that A) were similar in style (we're both sitting in chair-type items at approximately the same age) and B) give the illusion that we are lovingly gazing in each others' direction as mere babies (we're both facing the center). You can easily change the direction a person is facing in a picture by flipping it using the Mirror tool in many photo-editing programs.

2.  Advice from our wedding guests. I picked out some of my favorite small ones (they were written on a variety of cardstock sizes) that we used in lieu of a bulky guestbook  and placed them in this fun little seashell dish. The orchid nestled in there is just a sweet accent to all of the writing.

I especially like that these were, for the longest time, merely stashed in a Ziploc bag in the dark depths of some drawer, never to see the light of day. Now, we see the pile every day to not just be reminded of our beautiful wedding day, but also some of the things that make a marriage work: "Laugh. A lot." "Love people--use things. Don't confuse the two." "Be sweethearts forever." "Make time to spend together, no matter how busy life gets." AND--just because it's funny--"Erin: Make sure you let your husband cook for you. It's great, and it saves you time when you're busy." Obviously, I have had no problems taking that piece of advice. Especially since I tend to blacken things that shouldn't be. But that's another story. And not a very sentimental one. So it will not be appearing in this post. Sorry to disappoint.

3. A card that Rick gave me. Now, I am not a pack rat by any stretch of the imagination, but I have held onto this card because I absolutely adored what it said on the front: "I'd chase you across a hundred playgrounds, a thousand schoolyards to play this game of love with you." I think it was the combination of nostalgic childhood innocence plus the reference to a school plus the echoes of first falling in love that really made me keep this card over all of the others. And now, just like our wedding notes, it has retreated from its dark drawer to be displayed as a reminder of our ever-growing relationship.

4. My college yearbook. Don't let this fool you: I won't teach my children my college alma mater (and not just because I don't know it). I can't fill an entire drawer with clothing that has NAZARETH scrawled across it. I don't secretly take drives through the campus, trying to sneak into the dining hall for one last turkey wrap. But that school is where I got my ticket to the real world diploma and certification, and I owe a lot of my career- and life-learning to the 4 years that I spent there. So when I found this yearbook buried at the bottom of my closet, I decided it was time to do something with it. Mind you, I'm not even in the yearbook. So don't ask why Naz felt compelled to mail me a copy of it. But they did, and I didn't know what to do with it (the recycling bin felt wrong, somehow), so it has found a new home on our office bookshelf.

5. A framed photo of us. If sticking photos on shelves seems typical, that's because it is. But I've started to develop my own personal "rules" of photo displaying. As much as I love pictures, I have recently begun to notice that when displayed, they can jarringly shift the entire feel of a wall (and not in a good way) if not chosen properly. For example, I would not use this shelf to display either of these pictures:

OK, well, maybe that's just because we look like fools. Although I do think that Rick's face is priceless as he naughtily yanks on poor Eeyore's tail. No wonder Eeyore is so depressed. :(

Anyway, in all seriousness, when choosing photos for display, I try to use pictures that have a similar color scheme or texture in order to keep things visually cohesive. Since I do love displaying our captured memories, this seems like a nice compromise. *For the record, the one of Rick checking out Eeyore's ample tush does make an appearance in our Disney World scrapbook.

I was thrilled, then, that this particular photo (sorry about the poor quality--the light and the glare and reflections from the glass were all working together to be more difficult than a room of 28 ninth graders trying to read Shakespeare) works with our shelf, because it is one of my absolute favorites of the two of us. It was taken by my dad at my friend Michelle's wedding last September, so it's a nice reminder of that day and my friendship with her. And I think Rick and I look pretty cute in our complementary attire (no, of course that wasn't planned!).

So that's it for the run-down of how I've used our office bookshelf for items that I can't bring myself to throw away, or just simply don't want to throw away, but aren't getting much quality of life (or purpose) in their dusty and dark storage spaces. How about you? How have you turned sentimental storage into decorations that you can see every day? Feel free to share any and all ideas. :)

Psst: stay tuned for Part II when I give the run-down of how I filled the rest of the bookshelf with cheap and easy DIY decor!


Amy @ Journey Mum said...

I'm planning on repurposing dresses from when I was a little girl into pillow covers to decorate my daughters bedroom. I just have to learn how to sew first!

Erin said...

Amy, that's a great idea! My mom still has my stuff; otherwise, I think I would try that :)

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