Hi everyone, I’m Alli from Scattered Squirrel, and I am so excited to be here. I want to start off by sending a huge thank you to Cindy for having me here today. I’ve been a great admirer of her site for a while now, and it’s a joy to be here today sharing my tips for organizing children’s books.
I don’t know about your home, but our home is full of children’s books. Both my boys are avid readers, so we have books ranging from Dr.Suess and other children’s stories, to Harry Potter and J.R.R. Tolkien and more floating around. I swear sometimes it looks like a library threw up in our home. One thing I’ve learned as a mom with avid readers is that it is really important to have a system for organizing books, especially children’s books because there are just so many of them. I’ve fine tuned our system over the years and I thought it might be fun to share with you my top three tips for organizing children’s books.
#1 Easy Peasy Clean Up Time
If I could only give parents only one tip for organizing kids books, or toys, it would be this.
Make it easy to clean up!
Nothing kills an organization system faster than making it hard to maintain. This goes quadruple for children’s stuff. Our kids are busy, playing, creating, and generally having fun. Taking time out to put away stuff is a bummer for them. I always try to make it easier for them to put something away than it is to take it out. And books are no exception, in fact, it was our boy’s books that first taught me this lesson. After the hundredth time of finding every book pulled off the shelf and having to oversee cleanup, I realized that this just wasn’t fair on any of us. I made a simple switch that changed everything for us. I cut down a few cardboard boxes, covered them in fun paper and put the books into the boxes. The boys could pull the boxes off the shelf and read or build with their books (are my boys the only ones that make bridges, tunnels and race tracks out of their books?) and cleaning them up was super easy for them. They just slipped them all back into the boxes. Seriously, we went from a good 30 minute clean up time to under 2 minutes, and we were all happier for it.
Some other great ideas for organzing kid’s books are
- spice racks mounted to the wall at kid friendly heights
- wicker baskets with or without labels
- magazine holders
- bus/dish bins
- book slings
#2 – Think Outside the Bookshelf
Think about areas in your home where your kids like to read, or perhaps where you like to read together. Do you gather on the sofa in the living room for family story time? Does your daughter like to read on floor by the front window? Does your son like to read on the comfy chair in the family room? Don’t limit where you store your children’s books, encourage them to grab a book by keeping them accessible around the house. Combine tip #1 with this one and you’ve got instant reading stations to stick anywhere in the home. Some spaces to think of are:
- A nice basket to hold books in the living room can easily be tucked under a side table out of sight when company comes.
- Maybe you could hang a spice rack by your breakfast bar, a bag over your children’s chairs or put a small basket near the table so they can read while eating a snack.
- Consider making some room on the entertainment stand for some books, after all books are entertainment too right?
- Night stands are a great place to keep favourite bedtime stories.
- In the playroom or family room, especially game books or how to draws.
- Near the door with a blanket for reading outside on a warm afternoon.
Anywhere your kiddos like to read. The point is to encourage them to pick up a book more often by keeping them in plain sight. As a bonus, having a spot for them where they get used often also makes for easy clean up! If you really don’t want kids books all over the house, consider picking up some sturdy canvas bags or re-purposing reusable shopping bag into book bags. Your little reader can fill it with books to read around the house, and pick them up and take them back to their room when they are done.
#3 Get Your Kiddos Involved
Make an afternoon of it and let your kiddos guide the process. Having them help you organize their belongings gives them a sense of ownership, and it’s a great opportunity to start teaching them about taking care of their things.
- Start with having them decide how they want to group their books.
- By subject
- By colour?
- By most favourite to least?
- Books they like to read by themselves and books they like you to read to them?
- Where they like to read the books.
- Start sorting the books. You can put them in piles to start with or grab some boxes or bins to keep them contained until you decided where they are going to be kept.
- If you have younger kids, they can still get in on the fun. Give them a box or a bin and ask them to choose some books to go in it.
Giving your kiddos a say in how their books (or any of their belongings) are organized is so important. It fosters good organizing habits, and empowers them to make choices for themselves. Taking the time to teach them organizing skills is never a waste. You will learn much about how they think, what they feel about certain things, and you’re giving them a gift that will last them a life time.
Organizing kid’s book can be a lot of fun, even if it is a lot of work at first. But if you take the time to think about how to store the books, give some thought to where to keep them, and make it easy for your kiddos to put them away when they are done, you’ll end up with a system that will last you for years.
How do you organize your kiddo’s books? Do you have a system that works well for you?
Hi there, I’m Alli, from Scattered Squirrel. Being slightly scatter-brained and a recovering clutterbug, I know what a struggle it can be to find harmony in the chaos. It is my hope that by sharing ideas and printables, I can help others find their own path to living a more organized life on their own terms.