The Artfully Arranged Tween Bookcase – Keep it Neat!

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Throughout the whole #MagsRoomChallenge2015 (yes, we’re still talking about it and will be for some time…thank you for stopping by), there were pockets of joy to be found. One of them was in how Mags and I set up her tween bookcase in her new space. My goal for her room over all is to have it be a more focused, functional, and fabulous place for her to spend time; and having an artfully arranged tween bookcase encompasses all those things. And it keeps everything neat.

Related: from hoarder to heavenly in 4 easy steps!

AND we didn’t spend a cent to make it over. (My favorite part.)

Tween Bookcase - keep it neat!

For a couple of years now, I’ve been wanting to custom build out her entire room for her but because of Mags’ inability to keep her space less than a hoard, I have been reluctant to do so. I’m not being a dink about it; I simply won’t fork over the money, time, and effort (mine or anyone else’s) only to feel like it was a waste.

So, in the mean time (while she and I have both been dreaming of her perfect room), she has lived with hand me down furniture and inexpensive cubby-like organizational items that I won’t feel too horribly upset about if something happens to them.

Okay, that’s a lie. Of course we are teaching her responsibility and how to care for things. But as you can plainly see, it hasn’t been easy up to this point.

Related: Is my child a hoarder?

But when Mags and I sat down to artfully rearrange her tween bookcase slash media center, I explained to her that it didn’t have to look like crap. Books shoved everywhere, no direction, movies haphazardly stuck wherever, odds and ends littered about.

There could be order AND art AND it would stay neat.

She just had to trust me.

This was what we had to work with.

Tween Bookcase - the before!

Before Mags Room Challenge 2015, her books and movies were EVERYWHERE. There was no order and the chaos was maddening. It drove us both crazy – for very different reasons, most certainly.

You’ll note that after the room makeover, her tween bookcase slash media center was switched with her dresser.

Tween Bookcase - the switch!

Again – focus, function, fabulous.

  • She can watch DVDs from her bed (her TV is not hooked up to cable, she’s not that special 😉 ) or her couch.
  • She can read in bed or from the couch.
  • Everything is easily reachable for easy storage, maintenance, and it all just plain looks GOOD.

The looking GOOD part matters in that she can now take pride in having an artfully arranged tween bookcase that is functional AND focused (fabulous was mentioned in the first part of this sentence, of course).

How To Artfully Arrange a Tween Bookcase without Spending a Cent!

  • Organize your items smartly – DVDs in one (or more, depending*) cubby; keep it focused.
  • Drawing/Activities books/etc. in another cubby.
  • Books by Author? If your tween has a favorite, gather them together and display them in a fun way. Place a knick-knack on top of the stack to pretty up the pile.
  • More books? Stand them up, sit them down, and mix them up; but keep them neat.
  • You (and your tween) know what books go where (hopefully) and may determine the placement by simply sitting for a bit with all of it.

It IS ART, after all.

I will say that this was one of the more confusing projects for Mags. She wanted her tween bookcase to look cool but she kept getting frustrated. I refused to engage when she got to the point of anger. This helped BIG time in keeping her in check, throughout. There was no need to fight about this.

It’s a bookcase. Slash media center. No need to over think it, really.

The artfully arranged tween bookcase, by Mags, my sweet girl, who would have been just as happy tossing all of it right back in those cubbies as it was before.



Over the course of the last (almost) 5 weeks, she has managed to keep it neat – almost the same as the day she set it up (yes, she did it all – part of the process – I merely guided). I am seriously proud of her for that and believe she feels a sense of pride in herself, too.

Tween Bookcase - artfully arranged!(shot this morning, 6.3.15)

Sense of pride.

This component is essential for anyone recovering from a hoard. In the past, it may have been been confused with the need to accumulate for comfort. Having things is not the same as keeping your things nice and neat. During Mags Room Challenge 2015, she was able to rid a ton of books (to be passed on to those in need to read) and keep just what was essential to her in her space. Artfully arranged by her, with pride in where each item goes and how it works for her. My tween.

It matters.

~ Cheers

Sandra Lynn



All images fabulously editing using PicMonkey: fearless photo embetterment!

*DVDs (or more, depending) – through the years, Mags has had a tough time caring for her DVDs. We  stopped buying them for her a long time ago because she just wouldn’t listen, no matter what we tried. As a result, her collection is small. Tis okay. I’d much rather she spend her down time with her books. And no worries that she doesn’t get enough movie time – it IS 2015, after all. 😉

Does your tween take pride in his or her own space?



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