I’ve become increasingly irritated with the overflow of books in the living room lately. I don’t know if it’s because of my library background making me long for order on the shelves (or book buckets as the case may be), or if it’s just a hidden Type A personality in me. At any rate, I have been lamenting that not only has it become the biggest source of mess in our house, but we find ourselves only reading a handful of the same books over and over again because it’s impossible to sift to the bottom of the buckets to find something new. So I finally did something about it today.
I’ve seen a lot of blogs in which the author rotates through her kids’ toys to keep the choices manageable and focused as well as the mess. I decided to try this with the books. I started out putting the books into categories/themes. I ended up with several stacks of books. Some were huge (animals), others tiny (opposites). The categories were Animals, “Me,” music, holidays, characters, opposites, shapes, colors, numbers, and miscellaneous. I ended up breaking down the largest categories (Animals and “Me”) into subcategories as well. I boxed them all up in a total of four boxes, made labels, then chose one box to put on the shelf (not in a bucket).
I know they won’t stay in order, or even on the shelf, but with fewer books to choose from I feel like the kids will be more likely to look at a larger variety of books, instead of going straight for the familiar. So far it seems I’m right. After nap we read quite a few books and only one or two of them were among the “usual suspects.” I found it much less stressful to clean up after they went to bed as well. Instead of a messy pile of books, I was able to neatly line them up on the lowest shelf, ready for them to look through tomorrow.
My plan is to rotate the books once a week. I figure with 4 boxes, that gets us through almost a whole month before we repeat. Of course, I may continue to change things based on how it goes, but for now I’m at least satisfied that I tried something. Next I want to try to do the same with the toys. Of course, first I need to clean out the guest room, since it seems to be taken over by the boxes of books as well as the clothes and toys I plan to pass on to other people. Guess that will have to be my next goal. *sigh*