Simple steps to create a home library that is organized and maintainable
Like so many of you, I HIGHLY value the importance of reading. As a previous kindergarten teacher and a mom of three, I have a large collection of picture books at home for my kids. However, throughout the years, I never found an organizational system that REALLY worked.
And because of that, my home library wasn’t getting utilized to its full potential because- if the books aren’t organized, they’re impossible to find at the right times.
So, I created a new system for organizing our children’s books- a system that is simple and maintainable! This system encourages kids to more intentionally browse books and then INDEPENDENTLY put them back where they go!
• Kids could actually maintain it themselves
• It supported books being rotated frequently because they could be found and replaced easily
•It was NOT complicated or expensive
This home library system works even with little ones touching and using the books because it is easy for kids to navigate and return the books to their proper place themselves. And when my toddlers dump all the books on the floor, it’s a breeze to put them back organized. Check it out!
• Shelving- I highly recommend cube storage! To keep books from becoming a disorganized, messy pile, I strongly suggest shelves that are sectioned in cubes.
• Post-its and a pen
• Colored dot stickers
• Clear tape
• Category labels (create your own or download mine at the bottom of this post)
Step 1: Discard or Donate
Get out ALL of your books! This is a great opportunity to get rid of books that are badly damaged, not quality literature, aren’t worth reading, WHATEVER. You have permission to get rid of any book you don’t want in your home for any reason. I made three piles: trash, donate, gift.
Step 2: Sort
Sort the books into categories. These are the categories I created, but yours might look differently. If you don’t know where to start, use my categories as a starting place and adjust as you go. My categories changed at least three times as I worked through the sorting step. Use post it notes to label your drafted categories. If one category is too large, break it into smaller sub-categories.
Step 3: Confirm & Create the Key
Confirm categories and assign stickers. It helps to make a key that has the categories listed and the assigned sticker. I actually ended up with 18 categories and SPOILER, I did not have 18 different colored stickers. Keeping things simple, I drew a black star with sharpie to create additional labels.
Step 4: Sticker
This is the big one and most time consuming! Sticker those books! Place the dot sticker on the bottom of the spine of the book and reinforce with clear tape! It takes longer but, if you want this to last, REINFORCE THE DOT STICKER! Good news is that this is the easiest step to get help with! Got an old friend you need to catch up with- invite them over to sticker and sip wine 😉
Step 5: Label Cubbies
Now that the books are labeled, it’s time to label their place on the shelf! If you have a lot of categories (like me), you’ll need to double up cubbies! So that requires assigning shelves strategically. After you arrange the books on the shelves and confirm placement, it’s time to label the cubbies. I chose NOT to use pictures, simply out of ease, but you can absolutely use picture icons with your labels- I have both options available below
Step 5: TEACH!
You can’t just expect your kids to magically know how to browse the library and put the books back correctly. I literally sat down with Charlotte and had a mini-lesson on how to use the home Library, complete with role-play.
I also want to note that the intentions for this library are mostly to house the books in an organized way, not for my kids to sit down and pull books to read from- although that ends up happening a lot. We have several spots throughout our house where books are kept. Every few weeks these books are rotated. Charlotte loves to go “book shopping” to find new books that will go in her room. Having the books organized into categories helps us find books we want and include a variety of literature!
TIP: I have my dot stickers stored next to the shelves so anytime we get a new book, I immediately label it and put it in its designated spot!
There you go! Now it’s your turn to create a children’s book library that is organized and maintainable for YEARS! I hope you and your family enjoy your home library as much as we enjoy ours. Happy Reading!
How do you organize the children’s books in your home?