My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1159: Organizing my Library of Books and Magazines

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-08-2013 11:52 AM 1702 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1158: The 'Organization Landslide' Part 1159 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1160: Mission Accomplished »

Yesterday was another full day without a moment’s rest. By the evening, I was completely exhausted. It was dull and rainy outside as well which made it the perfect day to stay in and organize.

I have come to the conclusion that we must be slobs because I spent the majority of the day sorting through things and reorganizing. Keith was good enough to build me an additional shelf in our one closet to accommodate my ever-growing ‘collection’ of magazines and painting pattern books.

During our recent trip to Chicago, we had the opportunity to visit my childhood friend Carlene. Car and I met when I was a freshman in high school, and we have remained friends through all these years. Like many friends, our lives had taken different directions from time to time and we lost touch. But it always seemed that in the end our paths would cross and we would pick up as if we saw each other yesterday. Those friends are the best.

Several years ago, while waiting for my ‘Landed’ status to be processed here in Canada (it took five years), I was speaking with Car and telling her how expensive it was for me to keep my personal items in storage in the United States. Prior to achieving my status, I was told that I was limited to the number of items I could bring into the country, and if I brought more I would be taxed on the value of them. I wound up paying for a storage locker for five years to house many of my personal thing that didn’t make it here yet.

Carlene lives about an hour or so south of Chicago on a nice piece of farm land. They have a large pole barn and she offered to help me take my things from the storage place and keep them in a corner of her barn. I am very grateful for her generosity, as it saved me a great deal of money from having to pay the expensive fees each month.

Every time I visited I tried to whittle down the pile a bit more. I either gave away, donated or saved the remaining items.

During this past visit, I knew that I wanted to go through things once and for all. After all, it had been nearly ten years since I moved here to Canada and most of the personal things that I had in storage were here with me or given to my children and what was left was what many would probably consider ‘junk’ and needed to be addressed.

There were probably 30 or so boxes left – most which were filled with my large collection of magazines and books. Upon seeing them again, something came over me and I knew it was time to for me to let things go and finish sorting once and for all.

Long story short, I spent the afternoon going through everything, and while I have a couple of boxes of beautiful hand-blown Christmas ornaments left and a couple of dolls that my daughter will hold on to for me, Everything else is gone. I went through all the books and magazines and items and only took a few trinkets as well as a decent sized container of magazines and books here and let go of everything else. I finally finished.

The closure was a good feeling. After having such a large part of me sitting in storage for so long, it felt good to move on AND to give or throw away all that I no longer needed.

My only dilemma now was what to do with the things I brought home. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I spent the other day sorting and weeding through the things that I had over at Keith’s moms. One reason things were so disorganized there was because everything was brought over piecemeal. A little of this . . . a little of that. At one time a couple of years ago, I had things at several different locations and had trouble remembering what was where.

It does feel good to know that I have stuff either ‘here’ or ‘there’ and having less is better yet. It felt good this week to pare down and sort and only keep what I really wanted. Perhaps that is why I felt so muddled earlier in the week.

So I spent the day yesterday going through all of my magazines and painting books and organizing them completely. As I mentioned earlier, I love print magazines and painting instruction books. At one time (before I came to Canada) I had over 500 instruction books on decorative painting. Many (or most) of these books I have never even painted anything out of them, but I still loved to read through them and dream. The same with the magazines. I have collections of probably about four or five different publications which date back for years. Unfortunately, many of these magazines have ceased to exist, but that makes my own collection even more valuable.

While at Carlene’s, I knew that only so many would fit in my little Mustang for the ride home. I took on the task of going through and sorting what I really wanted as opposed to what I thought I could do without. I think I amazed everyone when I wound up keeping only two boxes of things from the 30+ boxes that were there. But that was still a lot of magazines and books to bring to our little place here and yesterday’s main task was to integrate them into my collection here. And that is what I did.

I rearranged our bathroom closet so that it contains all of my Creative Woodworks and Crafts and wood working magazines on the top shelf. The next two shelves are artist’s instructional painting books. (This is where I really had to cut down. I went from over 500 to probably a couple of hundred here!) And then the final bottom shelves contain my hard cover ‘Northlight’ instruction books and a couple of cookbooks that I didn’t want to part with. I had lots of cook books, but since I can find just about everything I want on the internet, I decided that it was time to let them go.

Every magazine is in date order for easy access and all of the artist’s painting books are alphabetical by author. It is a great and easy way to find exactly what I would like. :)

As I mentioned I had Keith add a shelf near the bottom of our last hall closet for my magazines:

The bottom two shelves are all of my painting magazines, again in publication and date order. He only built the shelf as deep as the magazines so that if we want, we can still put something larger in front of them for storage. You can see that above there is storage for many of our tools, as well as in the closed cupboard in the middle. For now, I have some things on the top shelf but we are at the time only using about half the space.

The bottom consists all of my magazines, organized by publication and then by date. The small box on the right is going to be used for what I call “miscellaneous” magazines that I only have a few of or for those that need to be filed. I purposely left a little room for ‘growth’. ;)

I really love reading and having physical books and magazines. I suppose in that way, I am ‘old school’. Looking at the photos and holding the book in your hand wile sitting in bed is something that is fun and relaxing to me. I don’t think I will ever change.

I can’t tell you all how proud of this I am. After having all of my books and magazines in various boxes in various basements, closets and even countries, it feels great to have everything in a central location where I can access them easily. I am very happy.

Today I will do the final cleaning and reorganizing of the remaining closets here in my home. After the overhaul they have had this past week, this task should be “easy peasy”.

In the mean time, I am planning my next projects in my head. I hope to begin tackling them either later on today or tomorrow and work on them over the weekend. I talked to my editor yesterday and I mapped out what I am planning to do, and she seemed very pleased with it.

It will be wonderful to have everything in place and ready for the long winter. I plan to nest in my little place here by the river and get a tremendous amount of work done. I have so many wonderful ideas for both woodworking and painting projects that it will keep me busy for months. What a pleasure it will be to work in a place that is so organized.

I hope you all have a great day today. Happy Friday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1573 posts in 2154 days

#1 posted 11-08-2013 12:30 PM

You’ve certainly tackled a major project in itself and i’m sure that that feeling will carry over imediately into you artistic endevours as you progress with the ideas that you have mulled over in the passed few weeks. And, you also have a great day!

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2941 days

#2 posted 11-08-2013 12:35 PM

Thank you Russell! :)

(PS – I did see your message and wrote a reply!) :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2906 days

#3 posted 11-08-2013 12:54 PM

Great job on storage. I need to do some of that – January perhaps

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2825 days

#4 posted 11-08-2013 01:14 PM

A gr8 job at organizing magazines. I’ve got tons to do the same thing one o these days.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2941 days

#5 posted 11-08-2013 01:28 PM

It was a HUGE mess while in the process. What I needed to do was take ALL the magazines/books out to a centralized location. Sort according to type/publication. Then re-sort according to date or in the case of my painting instruction books – author. Then figure out which shelf they fit the nicest on (leaving room to grow, naturally!) It looked like a tornado hit at about 4pm yesterday, but now it is all neat and wonderful!

Take the PLUNGE!!! :D


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View CFrye's profile


10226 posts in 1861 days

#6 posted 11-08-2013 01:59 PM

Great job Sheila! I, too, am a magazine collector. I have been going through and getting rid of old photography magazines. That field changes so fast that very little in the old mags is useful. Old wood working type magazines, on the other hand, seem to always be (mostly) current! Hope you have a great Friday!

-- God bless, Candy

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