I love books. I am in numerous book clubs, so of course I do. I also love childrens books. So I knew this was going to be hard area to narrow things down.
But his book shelf was really out of control. It was impossible for him to put books back on. Sometimes when he took books out others would fall on his feet. Not a pleasant experience. So I knew it had to be done.
At least I got a before picture of this! To prove how crazy it was.
The first round wasn’t too hard.
I broke it the books into these groups
- Learn to Read (could be put away for another year or so)
- Other books to old for T3 (I think his brothers had snuck some on his shelf, probably because their shelves look like this too)
- Give Away (books no one every really loved)
- Church Books
- Beautiful, wonderful Books (Think Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel)
- Fun Books
- I don’t know what to do with these books (love them, no longer appropriate, can’t give them away)
Only putting a few back on the shelves WAS hard.
That is what these piles looked like. I took a break and re-read the section on simplifying books. One of my friends left a comment about this last week – what is the point of cutting it down so much??? Here is what Simplicity Parenting Says.
Books offer such delight and satisfaction to children, conjuring magical worlds and bringing the wonder of our own right into their hands. How could it be possible to have “too many” of such good things?
It is a bit easier to imagine the “too much of a good thing” principle with books when our children have entered the “series” section of the library or bookstore. A child who is racing through “Number 23 of the Magic Tree House Series!’ in a rush to pull ahead of their friend is not reading so much as consuming. When a desire for the next thing is at the heart of an experience, we’re involved in an addiction, not a connection.
I am an avid reader and sometimes I feel a bit of this as I rush through a book to find out what happens instead of relaxing and enjoying the experience. It is a bit of an addiction at times. (When I can’t put a book down to cook dinner and let my boys fix themselves chicken nuggets so I can keep reading.)
Does this mean I think we all need to clean our kids bookshelves off? No, but it does intrigue me enough to try simplifying his shelves and seeing what happens. You can tell by my before picture, I certainly needed to! Here is some more reasons:
By establishing a consistent level of “enough” (simplicity) rather than “too much” (overload), we leave room for our children – room for their imaginations and inspirations, room for them to build relationships with the things that they play with or read.
We’ve all noticed childrens’ love of repetition. As we settle in to read to our three – or four year old child: “Again? We’ve read Curious George for the past three nights!” ….
Repetition is a vital part of relationship building for children.
How can T3 build these relationships with his books, when he can’t even find the book he read last night???
I kept on the shelf only Beautiful Books, Fun Books and Church Books
It first looked like this.
Now in the book it suggested having only about 12 books on their shelf. I just didn’t think I could do this. These were all good books. It was SO much better then before.
To inspire myself, I re-read the section in the book. I looked at the layout and in the closet which is right next to the bookshelf. I created a “bookshelf library” in some drawers I had in there, where I can easily get out the other books that were originally on the shelf. I also brought some downstairs to the bookshelf down there.
I narrowed it down to about 6 in each group and it looked like this. Now he pretty much just has good quality books I don’t mind reading over and over again. We go to the library weekly so he will get variety that way too. (We have a basket downstairs where all those books stay)