When organizing children’s books it can feel like a never-ending battle of wills.
Children often love books but honestly, they don’t like putting them away. So an afternoon of reading can leave any room covered in a variety of picture books.
When it comes to organizing children’s books it might feel as though you need to be a skilled librarian in order to find some order.
But I promise you there are ways to organize your children’s books without the Dewey decimal system.
The Goals When Organizing Children’s Books
1. Keep Only the Books That Are Enjoyed and Used
Children’s books can easily grow in number to a point of being almost too much. It can feel like suddenly they multiply overnight. Without warning, it seems like books are everywhere.
In a moment of frustration, you might feel compelled to toss all the piles into a box headed for the thrift store.
Or perhaps you find yourself struggling to let go of the books. If you’re anything like me it is so easy to grab a book on dinosaurs or horses and bring it home because my kiddos love them.
At the end of the day, it is important to look at your children’s books and take note of the ones they actually look at, read, or ask you to read to them.
These are the books you will want to keep. Additionally, I encourage you to keep any keepsake books as well. Each year our children receive a book for all their guests to sign on their birthday. These books will be kept for the kids even if they decide they no longer want to read them because they include inscriptions from friends and family.
I recommend sorting through your children’s books and purging from your collection books they’ve outgrown, damaged books, and duplicate books.
2. Display Books in a Manner That Encourages Kids to Reach for Them
Kids love to see things. They are hugely visual. So when it comes to displaying books, you can encourage them to reach for books by keeping them at their level.
Forward-facing shelves allow for displaying books facing outward so children can easily access the books.
Try to keep books displayed at a child’s level. Children are more likely to grab books to read or look at when they are at a level they can reach.
3. Limit The Number of Books Available at a Time
In my previous post about Toy Rotation, I spoke about the magic of limiting the number of toys available to a child at any one time. This principle of less is more, also applies to books.
When displaying books limit it to 5-10 books at a time. Having fewer books will help a child to focus on what they have in front of them.
Kids will be able to really dive into their books rather than getting overwhelmed by too many choices.
4. Create a Storage Plan that Children Can Participate in
Throughout our house, we have books stored in multiple locations but each is set up to be easy for the kids to use.
If children’s books are stored in multiple locations make sure they are all easily accessible for children.
Avoid using high bookshelves that might entice a child to climb. Tall bookshelves are a potential hazard as they can fall onto children or children could fall from them.
No matter what is stored on your bookshelves, remember to secure your shelves to the wall.
Some ideas for easy, low book storage include securely mounted, low wall shelves, baskets on the floor, or simply display them upright on a low shelf.
5. Consider a Theme When Rotating Books
Rotating books will help keep your little ones interested in and reaching for books to read.
To keep things interesting, consider a new theme each week and put out books that fit that theme.
I like to choose a new theme every 1-2 weeks. The books displayed in the playroom reflect the theme. Sometimes the books are from our personal collection while other times they are entirely from the library.
6. Limit Book Clutter by Using the Library
As I have mentioned before children’s books are a difficult item for me to downsize.
In order to keep the book clutter minimal, our family utilizes the local library.
Many libraries have vast children’s sections where children can check out new books every week. This will allow your children to experience new books, without your house experiencing new book clutter.
I like to keep a basket in our living room for our library books. The children know this is the “Library Basket” and they have learned to return their books there when finished.
7. Consider Books in Multiple Places to Organize Children’s Books
If your kiddos love books they will love having books in multiple places.
In each of our children’s rooms as well as the playroom, there is a set of wall shelves that hold between 5-10 books.
Library books are kept in a basket in our living room.
Overflow storage of books is stored on a small, three-shelf bookshelf upstairs.
Sometimes it takes creativity to organize children’s books. In our house, tall or awkwardly shaped books are kept in a rolling bin in my son’s closet.
Having books in multiple places helps kids grow to love books and in turn love reading.