I used to be an elementary school teacher and my mom used to be an early childhood teacher. We no longer teach, but we still have our “teacher stuff”. Most of that “teacher stuff” is books. Like tons of books. Now my kids have our books–along with all of the books they get for every occasion–and they have taken over our house! While having too many books is definitely not a bad problem to have, we got to the point where we needed to figure out how to store all the books!
My kids have outgrown some of the board books that they loved when they were babies. But they were still sitting on the shelves in their bedrooms. I couldn’t ignore those books any longer– it was time to do a major book clean-out!
Before I could even think about storing the books, we had to go through them to decide if we wanted to keep, sell, or donate.
Now it’s your turn! Read below for some simple steps and tips for taming the books in your home.
Step 1: Collect all the Books
We have our books all throughout the house. I love having spaces for the kids to sit and read whenever they feel like it, and still be close while the other child plays.
To start this entire process, I collected every kid book from all the areas of our home. I brought the books to one designated place…our entryway! It was the most open space in our house without a lot of other things that could get in the way of organizing the books.
Then, we created piles of books to keep, donate, and sell. The kids helped with this process so they felt they had a say in what books stayed in the house.
Step 2: Distribute Around House
Once you remove the donate and sell piles from your space, it’s time to get to work on the books you plan to keep!
For us, I like keeping books in the kids bedrooms, play room, and basement. Decide where you like keeping the kids’ books at your home so you know how many piles to make and how to sort them.
I like to keep I Spy, sound books, game-type books, and more engaging books around the house, and calmer books in the bedroom. We have been really into the Little Critter books, Berenstain Bears, and Clifford books before bed.
Step 3: Store And Display
My main goal when it comes to organizing and storing kids books is to make sure they are easily accessible, and easy to put away. I never want to create a system where the kids can’t grab a book whenever they please.
An easy way to store kids books (and all books) when you don’t have a bookshelf is to use a large basket with handles. The handles make it easy for you to carry if you want to move the location of the books. The basket is perfect because all the books can stand straight up so the kids can see them.
Bookshelves are great to store books so the kids can pull out the book they want to read. Keep the books standing up and only keep a small amount of books together. If you put all the books on one large bookshelf, the books will fall all over each other and be difficult for kids to keep in order.
One way to make the bookshelves smaller is to use a bin and put it on its side. Put books in the bin standing up. Put a few of these bins on a longer shelf, making it easy for the kids to put away books and keep the books contained.
Once all the books are put away, teach the kids how to use the system. Pull out some books and ask the kids to put them back. I always like to “rehearse” a new organization method with them so they have a clear expectation for what do with all the books or laundry or toys (see my tips for getting your kids to put away their own laundry here!)
My Favorite Book Storage
I have tested out almost every type of book organizing contraption there is. After much testing, I’ve found that the best products are the simplest.