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Too Many Books? Here’s One Solution!

September 25, 2009


Even before I began homeschooling, we had way too many books around this house. I’ve been buying children’s books since the conception of my first daughter. Book fairs, school book orders, book mail clubs. Actually, I started my collection years before Coco was born. I still have my original Babysitter’s Club books that I saved for my future children. Why wouldn’t I? My fantasy home always had a fully-stocked library complete with plush chairs and wide windows.

Now fast forward twenty or so years. No, no library. Yes, I still have the books. I have drastically simplified our home in the last few years…removing knick knacks and cluttered shelves. The only thing I could not bear to get rid of was our books. I routinely give away novels that I’ve read but I find it impossible to part with my children’s books.

When the girls started sharing a room, there was just not enough room for all their books in one bedroom. Finally, I parted with some chewed up baby board books. Thirteen of them in fact. It felt so good that the next day I boxed up quite a few more and gave them away.

Still, though we had so many! Now that we’re homeschooling, we have even more and I am saving many of Coco’s books for when Soleil gets older. Soleil’s bookshelf was perpetually overflowing and she read the same books over and over. I think too many choices was just overwhelming.

So what did I decide to do with all those books?

In our garage, we have several large filing drawers. Soleil has about 25 books on her bedroom bookshelf at all times. The rest are in the drawers in the garage. (you can easily have used a large storage bin or shelf for this idea.) Every couple of weeks, I will take her “book shopping.”

First, she picks all the books she’d like to exchange from her shelf (usually leaving one or two behind).

Then, she trades those books for books in the garage.

I had the idea to sort the books by season and subject, but I said no to my inner control freak. Soleil can pick whatever books she wants, whether she’s reading about valentines in the summer or not.

Often, I will have a particular idea for a book that goes with something we’re studying. If that’s the case, I’ll just grab it and add it to her pile as a bonus.

Now, her shelves are pretty tidy most of the time and she is reading a variety of books. On a side note, we still use the library frequently. These books are stored in a basket in our living room.

I have to say, book shopping has become a pretty popular activity around here! I plan to keep this in action until my girls grow up and start their own collections.

Unless, of course I move into a house with a library.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. mamala permalink
    September 26, 2009 2:04 pm

    Once again–I want to live with you.
    There is nothing that seduces me more than an unread book.

  2. September 27, 2009 8:45 pm

    We are going to start book shopping in our house too! Even without having the sheer numbers of books to manage I like the idea of teaching my kids to be selective and thoughtful about their reading which this activity would encourage.

  3. September 28, 2009 10:13 am

    This is what I do with our videos, both for space saving and to take a break from the ones that have been watched over and over, but which I think still have value.

    I love the idea of doing it with books too (especially because of my secret ambition to be a librarian!), but alas, I have no garage, so I traded my girls’ large dresser for two smaller ones, which I keep in their closet, and that freed up room space to have a large bookshelf (actually a 9 cubicle pink toy storage unit I got at Target) for their 100 or so books. The rest of the books (classics, nonfiction, curriculum books) are in our school room (which is also our office, library, etc.) on a large bookshelf.

  4. September 28, 2009 11:24 am

    I LOVE this idea!!!
    I have boxes of books sorted by reading level that I swap out onto the shelves as the reading levels change, but our shelves are STILL too full. And a filing cabinet is sooooo much easier than boxes. Why didn’t I think of that myself? I’m glad there is you to take care of that for me.

    AND I know my kids will love book shopping.
    It’s a win, win situation.
    Thanks again for ANOTHER great idea.

  5. October 1, 2009 10:20 am

    Found your blog through the homeschool carnival. I loved this idea. I have two empty metal file cabinets in my garage, so I can definitely try it!

  6. October 7, 2009 10:05 pm

    Great idea, I have the SAME “problem” and am going to get going on this in our house, thanks!

  7. Suzanne permalink
    November 10, 2009 8:30 pm

    This is an amazing idea! I’m going to try it with my two little ones!


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