What To Do With Kids Books

I like to read to my kids.  In fact, the curriculum I sort of cobble together for our preschool is based on books.  I like the kids to be able to pick up books whenever they want and just sit and look at them.


The mess, dear readers, overwhelmed us.  You see, because I am using books for our preschool subjects, I had the kids books organized by subject.  It made perfect sense to me when I was putting the books away (Bible, ABCs, Mother Goose, Poetry, Art, Music, Manners, Math, Science, History, Folk Tales, Social Studies, Literature) but I was the only one who could put the books away.  The kids didn’t get the system so they couldn’t help.  They would stack the books up at the end of the day, but I would wind up reshelving.  We have roughly four jillion books.  It was not working.

Thus, I decided to move to a new system.  Most of the kids toys are organized in baskets and boxes and stored on another shelf so that they can only get out one mess at a time and more easily pick it up before starting the next mess.  I decided to transfer that idea to books.  I used a gift card I earned from taking a survey a long time ago to purchase six plastic boxes.  Using those and one wicker basket I divvied up all of the books into seven boxes, with a few from each category in each box.  Now each day we can get out a new box and at the end of the day all of the books go back in that box.

It almost worked.  Except the boxes were too small (I believe I mentioned the four jillion number…).  So I put a small bookshelf in Hannah’s closet and another basket in Jack’s room and filled each of those up with books that they can look at during afternoon rest time.  With one additional box for books related to the country we’re learning about currently, we are set.  The freed up space on the playroom bookshelf holds toys.  It’s SO much easier to clean up now!

So much better!

Out of curiosity, how do you store your kids books?  Who does the picking up?

9 thoughts on “What To Do With Kids Books

  1. Ah, we have the four jillion books problem too! Most of the children’s books are stored in the playroom on a bookcase and I find that they don’t tend to take books from the shelves. Because I am a little obsessive and like the appearance of order, they are stacked in size order, largest on the left. All my books are stored this way. This may be odd, but I always know where every book I own is so I don’t have to categorize them.

    I have a wicker basket in the playroom and one in the lounge and I rotate the books we store in these. The children love to rifle through the baskets to pick out a book and it’s easy for them to put them away (not that they do…it’s usually me tidying up!). Library books are stored in a separate basket so they don’t get muddled.

    Tom has a bookcase in his room with some of his books and Lily has a basket in her room with a selection of her books. Even Emma has a few books on a shelf in the nursery. The kids books are well stored…it’s mine and my husband’s that are taking over the house!

    Sorry…this turned into an epic comment!

  2. What a great idea for storing books! I love that you categorize then all too… so organized!

    Right now Jesse has a bookshelf in his room with all our kids books and he gets them out and puts them away all by himself. Every so often I have to reorganize the shelf to save the integrity of our books, but it works for now.

    When all the rest of our books come out of storage we may have to try something different. I’m going to remember your idea here.

  3. You may have saved my sanity, at least as far as the kiddie books go. We have 4jillion give or take a few and they were threatening to take over. I packed up several large boxes and stuffed them into the closet. But the ones left out still end up everywhere! Not only do they get stepped on and torn, but the baby is now crawling and has even less respect for books. I can’t wait to get my hands on some bins and further contain the impending disaster.

  4. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to organize our books better, too. We have a nice bookshelf, but the kids have problems re-shelving (instead choosing just to throw them haphazardly back on the shelf, not caring if the whole mess crashes down). So I usually end up doing it, which isn’t my favorite part of the day – because we read a lot of books every day. I thought about baskets and am still considering that idea. Especially with a baby on the way, this would keep the messes to a minimum. Not that I mind the mess, but I want them to be able to clean up after themselves and care about the condition of their books. 😉

  5. Interesting. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I start to get more organized in the homeschooling dept. and have certain-books-for-certain-times.

    Otherwise, we have a library basket for all library books, to keep them separate. Our all-time favorite kids books (the ones we keep going back to) are on the shelf in the bedroom. I keep a rotation of books on our shelf in the sunroom (where I usually read to them during the day), putting out what the boys are most interested/excited about and what is most suitable or age-appropriate. Our backstock is on an upstairs bookshelf, where I keep “everything else” and whatever is out of the current rotation. Oh, and I do have a collection of over-sized books on a downstairs bookshelf in the living room.

    For pick-up, I have the kids stack the books in a nice, neat pile when they are done with them and then I put them back on the shelf.

  6. We are well on our way to having 4 jillion books too, and I’m going to have to make some changes to our storage system.

    Currently, some of the books live in G’s bedroom, in 3 of the 9 “cubes” of one of those multi-cube shelving units. He’s getting ok about putting books back on the shelf when he’s told to, but I usually straighten them every day or two because he can’t do much more than pile them up on each other (he’s 19 months).

    The rest of his books are downstairs in the living room/playroom. We’ve got two low bookshelves (look similar to the one you show) that store toys and books. The bottom shelves hold 4 baskets, and one of the baskets holds a mountain of books. About 5 larger books just get stacked next to the baskets since they are too big to fit in the basket. G is very good about trying to stack the larger books on the shelf, and some nights he’s great about flinging the other books into the basket, but I usually do a final tidy of it all before going to bed.

    Library books usually stay in my designated library bag, or sometimes hang out on the top shelf of his bookcase.

    It’s still manageable now, but if we add any more books at all, we’ll have to make some adjustments. I’m trying to avoid buying any more books or toys until we’ve moved so that we don’t have to move them and also so that I don’t have to figure out those adjustments. 😉

  7. This topic made me chuckle. We have so many books that I have considered writing a blog post about the sheer number of books in our home (and how I think it breeds good training for my kids) – alas, counting them always seems to overwhelming to begin the post.

    Plus, my husband is uber-organized and I am NOT! He will often attempt to get a handle on the kids’ books and will organize them according to category (seasonal books, train books, etc.). I have to stifle my laughter because every time he does it, I know that they will not make it through a week in his pristine condition.

    My method is far less tidy. I allow them to pull whatever books they want and every once in a while, when things are getting beyond what even I can tolerate, I ask them to stack them on a shelf in no set order. Amazingly, I can almost always put my hands on exactly whatever book the boys are requesting – despite the disarray.

    My older son recently passed all of his Goosebumps books on to his six year old brother. I think Trevor is going to be more like John. He has stacked them according to number in sets of ten, clear from one to sixty-two. They are upright, so he can see the top cover, but it is his system, so I’m not touching it.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to search through all our kids books for a missing library title, because they never seem to hold to my rule of keeping the library books on one designated shelf. Oh well. If they love books, I don’t really mind how many they want to pull and read.

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