..........children's books are now nicely organized in my home. Yes, I just counted them. Believe me, it took WAAAAYYYY less time to count them than it did to organize them. The organization process start to finish took about 5-6 hours give or take. Yesterday I promised to explain what I did and show the photographic evidence. However, before I do that, I have a question. Am I one of the few people in the world who would actually go to such lengths to organize their childrens' books? I have mentioned my little project to several people now and I'm noticing that no one (yet!) has responded with anything remotely like, "WOW! What a great idea! I can't wait to go home and do that with my books!" So, I think I'm sitting a little left of normal here. Oh well, I am pretty happy with the result of my labors, and as I've said before, that's what really matters, right?
Before I actually dove into the project, I spent a few days thinking about what our book issues were so I had a clear direction for the organization project. One of our issues was that we have many, many non-fiction books due to my son's interest in all things factual. These books were getting mixed in with all our other picture books and it was becoming difficult to find specific books when he wanted them. Also, we had books spread out throughout the house and all mixed together. For example, my oldest son has 3 shelves (I mean individual shelves, not bookcases) in his room that held books as well as a wooden book holder his grandpa made. Additionally, I had at least 4 or 5 book baskets strewn throughout the house AND we have a floor to ceiling bookshelf in our office with the top four shelves holding a mixture of books. Big tall books were intermixed with little short books, so the short books were getting lost, etc. You get the picture.
Given these specific issues, I decided that a big part of the reorganizing would be to separate fiction and non-fiction. Furthermore, I wanted to divide the non-fiction into different categories or genres. And to keep them easily identifiable, I decided to color-code the spines of the books with sticker dots. The final step before THE DAY OF REORGANIZATION was to decide which categories to divide the books into. This will, obviously, be different for every person and family given your specific collection of books. My categories were: animal fiction (books with animal characters), fiction, geography, history, reference, animal reference, dinosaurs, art & activity, and poetry. On THE DAY OF REORGANIZATION (is that getting obnoxious? for some reason I am liking it in all caps.......) I used scrap paper to write the category names and placed these papers all around on the floor. NOTE: Additionally, I had separate papers for series of books such as Mr. Putter & Tabby, Curious George, Magic Tree House, etc.
If you look at yesterday's post, you can see the photos of BEFORE we started organizing. (My mom came over to help with this yesterday. Thanks, Mom!) I started by pulling out all the books and placing them in piles. Then I laid all the category papers out and we started physically sorting the books.
This photo shows part of the piles of sorted books. Click on the photo if you want to see it larger.
After sorting all the books, we had to decide how we would color code them. I had purchased a few sturdy baskets from Wal-Mart for the project. I decided to put all the Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus books together in one basket, and the Mr. Putter & Tabby, Berenstain Bears, and Curious George books together in the other basket. Then I placed these on one of the shelves in my son's room. Next to the baskets on the same shelf I put his set of Veggie Tales books. These books pretty much took up that whole shelf. On the bottom of that bookshelf, I put all the animal fiction books.
Here are the books I described above with a close-up of the Magic Tree House/Magic School Bus basket.
The left photo shows the bottom of the bookshelf with the color-coded animal fiction books. The photo on the right shows the top shelf of another bookcase in my son's room. It holds the other fiction books. The bottom two shelves of that bookcase have baskets for miscellaneous toys.
My non-fiction categories included Geography, History, Reference, Animal Reference, Inspirational, Poetry, Art & Activity, and Dinosaurs. Additionally, I used some magazine holders I had on hand to house our Robert E. Wells books, "I Wonder Why" books, and Math books.
These photos show two of the shelves of non-fiction books in our large bookcase in the office/computer room.
When I was all done organizing, I printed out this color-coded key and slipped it into a page protector. It is taped to the side of the large bookcase in our office/computer room.
This is the wooden book box that Grandpa made that was previously in my son's room. Now it is in our living room and from now on will be designated for our library books. We have also had a problem with library books getting mixed in with the stash. Hopefully this will help with that issue.
And here is a little bookshelf next to my youngest son's bed in his bedroom. It is currently home to 113 board books (yes, I counted them). These books are not part of the color-coding system. However, many of these books were mixed in with the many other books in the house, so it will be nice for them to have a special home base again.
Here are a few tips I learned along the way. MOST IMPORTANTLY..........sticker dots do not stay stuck on the books. Almost immediately they started to peel up. This was worst on the books with cloth spines, but it still happened on the books with smoother surfaces. My solution: cover ALL the sticker dots with little squares of Contact paper. When I said earlier that the organizing process took 5-6 hours, keep in mind that about 2-3 of those hours were taken up with me cutting and sticking little squares of contact paper on 443!! books all afternoon :0) I am thinking this is where I get a little over the top. I just didn't want all the labelling to be for nothing. Now the dots will (hopefully) stay stuck so my boys can not only easily find the books they want but (equally important) they will also be able to put them back where they belong. My oldest son is already learning the system and has been able to easily locate the books he wants.
If you are thinking of tackling a project such as this and don't want to get as extensive as I did (in hindsight, I don't think it was that necessary to separate fiction/animal fiction and sticker all of those), I recommend just separating your fiction and non-fiction on different shelves. This would help tremendously in being able to quickly find the book you need.
I forgot to mention one thing: I have a big Rubbermaid tub in a closet that holds all our holiday books. I have LOTS of Christmas books, and some for other holidays as well. Now they are in one place and I can just pull them out and plop them in a basket when the holiday/season rolls around.