Shelf Life

If you’ve got stuff, then you need storage. And when you have run out of closet space, shelves are a great way to get the storage you need and make use of the wall space you probably have plenty of. Choosing among the endless array of decorative and functional shelf options might seem like the hardest part. But hanging them can be tricky, too – it’s not as easy as drilling holes. Keep the following in mind to avoid running into problems.

Tool Smart. For almost any shelf-hanging project you will need a pencil, a level, a tape measure, a screwdriver, a drill and a stud finder. It’s also wise to have – and wear – protective safety glasses.

Weight Watcher. Books weigh more than knickknacks. Be sure to keep this in mind as you purchase shelves; some kinds are sturdier than others. Also consider buying brackets to accommodate extra weight, if needed.

Anchors Aweigh. Just putting a screw in the wall usually is not enough to properly mount a shelf. In most cases, you will need to use an anchor. There are different kinds of anchors for various wall materials; the kind you use for drywall is different from the kind you use for plaster walls. Know what your walls are made of before you head to the store.

Space Station. Make sure you allow enough space above each shelf so there’s no height restriction on what you place on the shelves.

Ball Game. After you have completed hanging your shelf, test it out by placing a tennis ball or golf ball right in the middle. It should stay perfectly still.

Happy shelving . . . and don’t call me if you run into problems . . . I hire other people to add shelves to my walls!

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