Organizing Children’s Books

17 May

Was it Plato who said “Necessity is the mother of invention”? Something like that anyway. I’m a mother and I have a necessity. Turns out, lots of them. But, I digress.

I stumbled upon this need while supervising my newly mobile 8-month old crawling around his room. He has a small bookshelf filled with books. As he was trying to get to the books, I conceded that he was going to pull those books out. Repeatedly…unless I move them. I don’t want to move them because we are in a rental and I’d like to mount as few things to the walls as possible. AND I want him to have access to those books. I just want them put away when he’s done with them. For now that means Mom & Dad need to take on this task but it’s a great opportunity to teach him to organize early. And, I happen to know from experience that many parents have the same challenge organizing their kid’s bookcases.

I don’t really care what order the books are in but the lower shelf has room for taller books and everything fits right now. Plus, organizing by title is just over the top for an infant, don’t ya think? So, I just needed a way to make sure the right books returned to the right shelf. So, I thought of those colored dot stickers you find in an office supply store, one color assigned to each shelf, stick it to the book and call it done. So, off to Staples I went {OK, I didn’t really hop in the car right then and there. I added it to my errand list.}

I did stop at Michael’s while running my errands and thought some simple, colored stickers would work, too. I needed multiples of the same sticker and found these great puffy stickers. But knowing I had to worry about an infant picking the sticker off and choking on it, I decided to scrap that plan. Now, off to Staples.

I checked out their label aisle and found the dot label stickers but was hoping for something other than the standard color set. Then, I checked out Martha Stewart’s new line of products {can you say eye candy?} but I didn’t see anything that worked. Finally, I stopped in the Post-it note section. Post-it’s are my friend. They never let me down. Ok, maybe they did this time {not really} because I could only find the page markers in the Staples Stickies brand. At $2.99 for 500 page markers, I was golden!

Why these are perfect for the job:

  • low cost
  • easy to replace
  • easy to add on to the system
  • comes with 100 page markers per color
  • can select your own desired colors
  • won’t ruin the cover of the book

Since it’s nap time, all that’s left to do is label the books, replace them on the shelf and take some pics to show you {just in case you really can’t visualize it}. I’ll add one page marker to each shelf so anyone can translate this system. The possibilities for this are endless. You could also color code by age range of the book so when your children outgrow them it’s easy-peasy to pull books and make room for the new ones.

I used tape to layover the sticky note pad

Applied the sticky and tape to the book spine…

Do you have a place where you can or already do use this method? What might you label the books with?


2 Responses to “Organizing Children’s Books”

  1. juliebestry May 17, 2012 at 11:51 PM #

    I’m looking forward to the photos, because I’m not sure why there’s a “right” shelf for any of the books. Since it’s your home library, by what criterion are you separating them?

    I can tell you that when I worked in a public library (back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, when I was in my teens), we kept all the children’s board books and story books (i.e., non-chapter books) in rubber dishpans, facing outward, the way you used to be able to look at records in a record store. Little kids don’t want to see the spines of books anyways, but the covers, so we arranged the books simply alphabetically by the first letter of the Author’s last name (in case parents wanted to find a specific book, they could plumb the depths of the S bins for Dr. Seuss or Richard Scary). Otherwise, even tiny kids could plop in front of a bin and pull/tip each book forward, towards him or herself, just like in olden-days record stores, to find the book cover that appealed.

    • techorgmama June 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM #

      Hi Julie- I appreciate you stopping by and commenting! There is really only a “right” shelf for some of the books. The scallop detail cuts into the height of the top shelf. That, and the fact that there is no extra room. Right now, the baby is certainly not reading any of them but he does love to pull them out of the bookcase. Every. Last. One.

      And, while it may seem like overkill, with the time I have to clean up I like just tossing the books back on to their respective shelf without even thinking about it {which helps when your cognitive skills are impaired by sleep deprivation}. But I do think this method coupled with your solution will come in handy in the future.
      Thanks again!

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