We have too many books.
Not adult books. It’s kids books that are doing me in.
I am drowning in piles and piles of kids books and I need some help to figure out how to sort and/or store them.
My kids have a lot of books. I like that they have a lot of books. They really really really like to read. But we don’t have much storage space and the books are causing problems. Stacking them neatly on the book shelf just isn’t manageable for our kids. The girls take out one book and three more fall down as well, then they aren’t able to put them back so they shove them in on top or leave them on the floor and arrrghhh it’s driving me nuts!
I realise that kids choose a book from looking at it’s cover, not it’s spine, so we started storing books in boxes and baskets on the shelf with the covers facing out so they could easily flick through them to find the one they want. But we have too many for that now and not enough space and it’s back to disaster area.
So how do I manage this?
Have we simply got too many books?
Should I be culling some? Giving some away? If so how do I choose what stays and what goes? It feels kind of wrong to be getting rid of books….
Is there some magical storage system that works for kids books?
Do I just pack a whole heap away into boxes and put them in the shed? So hard to choose which ones would go though especially since I know I’m not likely (or able) to lug big boxes of books in and out to change them over….
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We packed some away for awhile but they eventually all came back out again.
We have a library of books too.
We had two shelves, one in the loungeroom and one in the twins’ bedroom. It was always messy. In the end though we bough an Expendit shelving system from IKEA. The shelves are really deep and there are alot of them, so it makes keeping books tidy very easy and easy for the kids to help pack away too.
We still keep some in the loungeroom too on the smaller shelves but most live in Ivy and Noah’s room now.
Kate, I put less on each shelf. Quite a bit less than what would fit. That way when they pull one out, only one comes out! Our kid collection probably takes up 30% more shelf space than it “needs” to, but it keeps it orderly, and is probably less space than some other system.
We also have a rule about putting “read” ones on the coffee table (helps keep the baby from tearing them), and I can put them away as needed. Your girls are a bit bigger than mine, so might be able to put them away with ample “space” in the shelf, but mine Fs up the pages a bit – hence the coffee table arrangement.
Good luck :)
I have the same problem with my toddler’s ever growing book collection so can sympathise but don’t really have any advice.
If there are books that aren’t being read regularly how about donating to a local school or releasing them into the wild via http://www.bookcrossing.com
granma Jill says
I heard recently that libraries and people in bushfire ares are pleased to have books. So maybe you could donate some to a worthy cause.
We have the largest size Expedit shelf thingy from Ikea, and it is completely tightly full of childrens books (its the 5 x 5 cube one). We have it in Archie’s room cause it is the only place it will fit, despite his room being too small to really accomodate the shelves.
I can *never* cull books, unless they are really bad ones. I love all our books equally, particularly the children’s books as about 75% of them were mine from childhood. So many memories that I can now share with my kids!
Anyway, no help from me- we are also drowning in books, and I let Archie have full access to all of them, and despite always telling (and modelling) him to put each one away after finishing reading, I am picking up books and putting them away all day long. But I LIKE it like this because it means he is reading the books and enjoying them!
Good luck LOL Shall post a pic of our books on Twitter for you later.
Hm, yes, books. After being on so many kinder duties, I noticed the same, Kate, kids choose books from looking at the cover! So, I do a combination of things to keep everyone sane. We’ve got half on shelves, and the other half in piles, and we rotate those. None of the kids books are packed away for rotating. At the moment, our piles are Matty’s favourites on his bedside table, another grouping of his nature/science books on his dresser (lowline so not out of his reach), then in the lounge there are Gabe’s board books where he keeps his other treasures, and another few baskets based on interests LOL And then yeah, the other books on shelves, harder to browse on a whim, but the boys know they’re there if they want something specific, I’ll help them (pop up books, books w/ CD, books with not many pictures, etc). Hm, sooo not helpful at all? LOL
[email protected] says
I got nothin’ helpful Kate, ‘cept the same problem!! (Particularly the 3 falling out when someone pulls one out problem.) We have a ‘reading now’ box which kind of works, downstairs, and a whole bookshelf upstairs in the kids room (but the books are more often on the floor than in the shelves.) If you solve it, let me know. xxx
Bite your tongue. 1) Books stored in a shed are books you don’t get to read, 2) i hope you designed more bookshelf space into the upcoming renovations cause once you have the book bug it doesn’t go away.
Alternatively i recently discovered that our local library will accept books up to five years old or accept them to sell for fundraising for older books,so then you could borrow them back from the scary dangerous library!
I have just culled our kids books. Well, the baby books, my youngest is now 3 and moved on. I thought I’d be all community spirited and took this big bag of WELL KEPT, CLEAN and MARVELLOUS books to our local Salvos. It was rejected. I tell you now, leaving a Salvos with the donation you’ve just carried in is nothing short of humiliating. It seemed they had the same problem as you, no room to fit more kids books.
I have no solution for you, just that sad story to tell…
I would cull anything you can, and then I would put in a rotation system, because you have a lack of space.
So pack some away that are too young for the twins, but too old for your youngest.
Then pack away half and rotate and swap every month.
I’ve moved some of the kids favourites into their rooms and some ‘generic’ ones are out in the play area.
I rotate books in a similar way to that that I do toys. I think it is alright to put some away for a time and it makes them seem fresh and new when they come out again.
Secret Mom Thoughts says
We pack some away and rotate them. Also in the spring our library has a used children book exchange. It is a great place to replace some of the younger books with slightly older ones.
Too many books?? You can never have too many books! We have book problems too, brought on by lack of space. But, I would never say we have too many, particularly since Nathan can recite most of them (at least a part of each one).
I love the rain gutter idea, maybe we could do that if/when we ever have a bit more space.
How about some of these http://chasingcheerios.blogspot.com/2009/08/rain-gutter-bookshelves.html and rotate their collection?
monica (peapodsquadmom) says
oh, dear. i feel you on this one. our local library takes donated books for an annual used book sale…the proceeds of which go to purchase new books for their collection. we just finished boxing up a TON of books for them. it is very difficult to choose what stays and what goes, but at this point (they are 5) i’m focusing on books that will stand the test of time. baby board books and such are gone.