View Full Version : Book organization and storage

11-28-2011, 01:47 PM
Ok, so I'm not sure if this should really go in issues or not, but it's an issue for me, so there ya go! :)

Over the years, we have collected quite a few books. My 9 yr old has always loved to read, so that's been a default gift for him, plus I've gotten really good at hitting up the library books sales and such. I've been using the library more and more for him as he's gotten older, so a lot of the books we have are board books and early readers, which is great because I have a 1 yr old and a 3 yr old. Here's my issue: I can't figure out how to organize and store them. There's no way we can have all of them out at once. I really want to rotate them out, every week or two, but do you have a good system for keeping track of what you have??

For example, I just went through and pulled out all the winter/christmas books that we have, and a few other favorites, and the rest are sitting in boxes in the closet. I need a better system. I guess that's what I'm asking -- what's your system? :) Clear as mud? Good. Thanks! :-)

11-28-2011, 02:07 PM
If it were me, I would put them in rubbermaid bins, by topic. And then rotate them in and out that way.

11-28-2011, 02:07 PM
my system is to have a big messy house and also a bunch of unlabled boxes in the attic and tell dh to clear out space for the homeschool books but hten then he goes up in the attic to bring down more of his own books and . . . i have a big messy house.

11-28-2011, 02:08 PM
(then again I put EVERYTHING in rubbermaid bins)

11-28-2011, 02:17 PM
We just keep putting up more book cases in random places. If a store does not sell one that will fit in the needed spot we will build one from neighbors scrap wood. Yeah, not he best system but we try to have certain groups of books on certain shelves.

11-28-2011, 02:36 PM
Dewey Decimal system under the stairs.....

11-28-2011, 02:39 PM
lol, y'all crack me up. Yes, I have a big messy house despite having rubbermaid bins everywhere, heehee. Glad to know I'm not the only one. :)

11-28-2011, 03:31 PM
Our books are all just out and on shelves arranged by topic. The picture books are the biggest mess, I'll admit.

11-28-2011, 04:04 PM
We just keep putting up more book cases in random places.

This was our system until we ran out of space. I would love every wall in our house lined with bookcases full of books.

Each of the kids has a bookcase in their room with their own books not used in school. Then we have several other bookcases around the house with books organized by subject. I have one small bookcase for me where I keep curriculum and lesson plans and such. About once a year I go through all of the bookcases and remove everything they have outgrown or will probably never read again. I either donate them to the library or take them to a used bookstore. The latter helps fund future book purchases. :)

11-28-2011, 04:04 PM
I know some people keep a data base. I haven't tried that. OK, this is totally teachery of me (yes I was a teacher) and my kids are younger, so please keep that in mind.

So, we have plastic baskets on our book shelves. Each box is labeled by topic and we sort the books that way. The labels have both words and pictures and they are laminated with velcro on the back. The baskets have velcro on them, too, so that we can switch the labels whenever we want. We have about 18 baskets and the topics vary (some include Clifford, emergency vehicles, animals, Richard Scarry, how things work, space).

I rotate books in and out (there are just too many for the baskets!) I keep the ones not in use in a shelf in a closet. They are sort of grouped together by topic. Eventually I'd like to organize them better. I try to rotate books every time we start a new topic or unit. I also try to change labels/topics every few months, too. Right now we have a basket with Christmas books. In January we'll change that to dinosaurs.

I don't know if this helps at all, but it works for us. It keeps the books organized, and it's so much easier for our little ones to find what they are looking for without our help. I also like that my kids can help put books away and learn to categorize at the same time.

11-28-2011, 09:26 PM
Each boy has a book shelf in their room and there's one in the playroom/family room. Often I go through them and take whatever they don't read anymore to the used book store and trade them in for new "used" books. It's probably tough for you because you're trying to save them all for your younger kids. I would just put whatever your older child has outgrown away for a bit until your younger ones are ready and just leave the rest of them out in book shelves.

11-28-2011, 09:47 PM
If it were me, I would put them in rubbermaid bins, by topic. And then rotate them in and out that way.

Or a milk crate.. I somehow have lots of those. I had one that I would carry into the car because it fit better and then the girls could look at books while we drove around.

My photo on my profile is how I did it. LOL.. we only have one bookshelf for kid stuff. (and it is stuffed) I kept the board books on the bottom shelf just piled there. And I can't imagine putting some away and pulling some out. What if they wanted to read them? I really don't know. Because we don't have that many books. So, I just left them all out. Now I have that whole bookcase and a shelf elsewhere for library books. The side effect of library sales is that I cannot tell the difference anymore which books are which.

Just recently, as in last month or so, I organized them into author and fiction, non-fiction. At least now they aren't pulling them off the shelves. We never had many early readers, mainly because I hated reading them. When they were learning I just got them at the library. However we did have a whole set of Cowboy Sam, (http://www.amazon.com/cowboy-freckles-Edna-Walker-Chandler/dp/B000BY59DI) and they cracked me up so much. And their illustrations were fantastic! I am a suckah for illustrations. (http://devilchasnme.blogspot.com/2008/08/cowboy-sam-and-shorty.html)

Oh gosh, now I have to share one of my all time favorites! In City and Country by Nila Banton Smith (http://i.ebayimg.com/t/CITY-AND-COUNTRY-NILA-BANTON-SMITH-COPYRIGHT-1935-/16/!C!4TFPwB2k~$(KGrHqZ,!lYEz+2+5gwYBNE8e+J6mw~~_35.J PG)

Stella M
11-28-2011, 09:57 PM

It's the Waldorf in me, I know, but I love baskets of board books to hand for littlies. And then they can be seasonal baskets, even better. What season are you all in ? Winter ? Autumn ? Idk.

But go through the books, which is fun in itself, and take out all the ones that have anything to do with those seasons and put them in a basket.

Yes, you definitely need baskets :)

11-29-2011, 05:17 AM
I wish I had a big messy house, instead I have a cramped messy apartment. I have a small bookshelf in the living room with board books and other kid books on top and homeschool books/workbooks on the bottom and the rest of the books are on one of those cube shelves in my room.

11-29-2011, 08:01 AM
We're supposed to keep books organized.....?

speech mom
11-29-2011, 01:59 PM
My youngest likes to keep books in a nice thin layer. That way, wherever you are in the house, you can reach out and something to read is within arm's reach.
My oldest organizes all hers on a bookshelf and then has piles of library books on every flat surface in her room.
The middle child has roughly 40 star wars books in his bed with him at all times. He rotates them with the ones on his dressers.
We have 3 other kid bookshelves that we all check out a couple times a year and pull out the ones that are too young and give them away.
The seasonal books are with the seasonal decorations in Rubbermaid bins.
My husband and I share 3 huge bookcases. It is a challenge since I organize books in them by genre and author. And he shoves them wherever they fit. He doesn't read anything twice, so he thinks I am a little crazy.
He has two big bookcases that are all his because I want his crap out of my crap's way.
I have 3 more huge bookcases that are MINE. They have thousands of dollars of irreplaceable materials related to my old job and it gets ugly when people mess with them.
We have a book case in the dining room and another in our bedroom for school type books. Mostly history and science stuff.
So basically a lot of bookcases. Many of them have curtains over them. I do better when I don't see so much stuff everywhere.

11-29-2011, 02:11 PM
I want book cases... I drool over pictures of built in floor to ceiling wall-to-wall bookshelves. I cry over people that have "conservatories". My book are in rubbermaid bins. I know what's in there, and I have them labeled non-fic, scifi, ref... so on. My son has a book case... I'm just now entertaining the ideas of going through them and donating. Before he had four cousins, most younger than him. I never had to go through them because they regularly were borrowed or destroyed with love...

11-29-2011, 04:25 PM
Well, I thought my house was small...

I like the idea about the baskets, but I am opposed to clutter. I toss out things twice per year. I always have some box/shelf that never gets organized but I have tons of storage in my house. I have about 8 cabinets in the kitchen half full or empty. I have 9 full size closets, 2 walk-in, a storage room attached to a garage, I keep things in the rafters out there. The children have shelves in their room--once they are full they HAVE TO GET RID OF SOMETHING to get anything new. I do this for everything. Next week they HAVE TO GET RID OF TOYS (for new ones).

My suggestion would be multipurpose furniture-the ottoman/bench that stores items inside. There is a couch that stores things: http://homereserve.com/
A loft bed for the kids would allow tons of storage underneath (maybe space for a desk/reading chair). So would a bed frame that has shelves or drawers beneath it. Raising a bed on risers and getting bins that slide underneath is also worth a consideration. If you have a closet that will allow you to relocate items...line it with shelves. You can create your own built-in's with rods and rails and planks fairly cheap and line the upper parts or lower parts of a wall. Renters can do this in most places.

Unusual ideas---find a used wooden pallet--this free wood can be used for a lot of storage ideas--there are devoted websites to its versatility.
An old dollhouse, shellacked and mounted on the wall is a nice small shelving unit just about anywhere. So, are organizers-a lot of folks don't think to mount these....
old bedroom furniture from a flea market--take an antique wardrobes and line them inside with shelves....these are nicer than just bookcases, usually.
tablecloths-you'd be surprised how much can fit under a table-I know a lady that mounted those push lights under her table and the little kids love going under there and enjoying "their space", reading, coloring, make-believe.
clubhouse-in a tree, in the attic, just sitting in the backyard, etc is a wonderful place to store books (away from the living spaces) and gives kids a great place to read.

If all else fails--use the library. Sell and donate books and borrow and return what you need. I used to always buy books until I started homeschooling. Now, not so much. Cheap and marked down still adds up. Some people invest thousands into books over the course of a few years. I find homeschooling costs enough without the added expense, but maybe I'm just at the low end of the wages spectrum. I only buy what I know my kids are passionate about.

Here's a neat trick: get one of those library kits--if the book isn't "checked-out" in six months, put it in the toss pile. This is great for older kids who you can designate as librarians. You can even play "book store" and toss math in there if you wish.


11-29-2011, 10:44 PM
Oh, okay, this is the best idea yet!!!

RAINBOW BOOKSHELVES!!! (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=rainbow+bookshelf&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1376&bih=738&sei=fqbVTpOcD8OU2wXI7_hl)

11-30-2011, 05:43 PM
[QUOTE=lakshmi;70205]Oh, okay, this is the best idea yet!!!

That is awesome! I love rainbows.