Today starts the toy organization end of the Back To School Organizing Challenge. If you haven’t been following along, we are completing small tasks each day to get the entire family ready for back to school! We are going to focus on book organization today, and work our way to all sorts of tips and tricks for organizing the kids toys! I’m sharing an older post with some tricks on how to keep the kids books organized!
A while ago, a of my dear friends asked me for some advice on how I keep all of my toddlers’ books organized, especially since I have two kiddos under the age of three roaming the house, looking to attack anything that appears to be “put away”. I love that the kids love to read books, but trying to keep them semi organized can be a huge challenge. I get upset when a good book gets bent pages or ripped because it way lying on the floor and someone walked over it. But trying to teach two toddlers to put away books when they are done is like bringing a bull into a china shop…disastrous!
So to keep all of our books contained, I have made sure to have books in the majority of the rooms in the house. Seriously, it can be a rather daunting task to keep books everywhere around the house, but I found that it really keeps the books more contained and easy to use so we can easily sit down to read regardless of where we are in the house. Seeing as our home is a split-level, we have books in both kids’ bedrooms, the master bedroom, the living room, the play room and in the basement. I put all the books away every night But there has to be more to my organizational process with the books. So I started to pay close attention to the things I was doing to keep the books organized.
As part of our nightly clean-up routine, all of the books get put back on the shelves or baskets they came from. I really don’t keep many books in baskets anymore because the kiddos are starting to read longer, paperback books which ended up getting piled or crammed into a bin and we weren’t reading that story as much. Now, both kids have bookshelves in their bedrooms, we have a bookshelf in the playroom, and a bookshelf in the basement. I keep a small bin of books in the living room and our master bedroom, as we don’t have space for a bookshelf in our bedroom.
We try to put books away before nap time, but that doesn’t always happen, so I make sure all books are put away before we go upstairs to start our bedtime routine. The kiddos help put the books on the bookshelves and my two-year-old has gotten pretty good at stacking the books on the shelves. This routine has drastically helped cut the amount of books that end up ruined because they weren’t put away. Since we have gotten into this habit, it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task any more.
The next thing I do to keep the books organized is rotate where books are located around the house at least once a month. I do this so the kids (or myself) don’t get bored with the same stories in the same locations in the house. The easiest way I found to rotate books is to take a bin from any room and carry that bin to all the other rooms in the house while you swap out books. I try to change-up 10-12 books per room. I typically start with the bin from our living room and bring it upstairs to the kids’ bedrooms. I swap out a lot of books or move them into the other kiddos’ room. Then I might take a book or two from our bedroom, but most of those books are what I call “specialty” books. These are activity books with magnets, family photo albums, pop a dot or song books to keep the kiddos entertained while I get ready in the morning. Then I carry the bin down to the play room. Once I moved around books from the play room that we getting stale, I will switch out books in the basement. We don’t read as many books when we play in the basement because we have bikes and the Cozy Coop cars along with sports activities and a mini trampoline to play with. I typically go into the basement to get the kiddos to run around and use more of their gross motor skills.
The last thing I do to keep our books organized is to fix books immediately once they are torn. If I can’t fix the book, I put it in the recycling can or try to turn it into an art project. I have tried to keep books that are torn apart, but we either end up discussing that the book was torn apart, or we just throw it aside and don’t read it. When I just run to grab tape, and fix the book right on the spot, we have a discussion about how to treat our books.
I realized that I also have taught them how to respect and treat books by doing these tasks to keep the books organized. I feel that by keeping the books organized, it demonstrates to the kiddos how important it is to take care of your books. My two-year-old understands that you can’t rip apart a book and you turn the pages carefully. My one-year-old doesn’t understand these rules and wants to rip into every pop-up book we have. But she will pile them on each other when she’s done or hand them to me to put away.
It’s a process to teach kids are to handle and respect books. I have seen, from my own experiences, that by keeping the books organized, my children are understanding how to treat their books. We clean the books up every night, sometimes they help me rotate books around the house to change-up what we are reading in different locations around the house, and they help me fix a book that might be torn or falling apart. If we can’t fix the book, we will either recycle it or turn it into an art project.
By keeping book bins all over the house, rotating books, and teaching the kids how to respect books, we can, hopefully, continue to keep our books organized! Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more pictures and tips! And share your progress using the #organizeback2school!