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Staying sane with all these books

July 27, 2009

If you know me at all, you know the 2-foot high stack of school books is far from being the only stack of books I have sitting around.  We love books.  We can’t seem to get enough books.  In addition to all the books we own, we also check out quite a few from the library on a weekly basis as well.  I have one simple rule that helps–Library books do not leave the living room.  It sounds simple and it is…but this is the book mess I finally had to sort through recently. 


Library books tend to stay in the living room, but for some reason or another, they also tend to get piled in the windowsill.  Books from the boys’ bedroom bookcase eventually come out to join the party, and pretty soon it’s a giant mess.  I am positive they multiply and replenish while we are sleeping. 

I actually do have baskets on the floor for corralling most of our library books during school.  A few years ago we needed one book basket.  We’ve since graduated to a pink basket for history books, a black basket for science books, a wicker basket for free reading and picture books, and another wicker basket for books on cd.  So far, so good, if only the boys can figure out which basket each book belongs in. 

For organizing all of the books that we own, I resorted to a sticker system.  I can tell in an instant if a book is for biology or chemistry, or ancient history or 20th century.  Unfortunately the boys can’t distinguish these categories at a glance so our own bookcases were getting terribly chaotic looking (which admittedly drives me crazy.)  I finally bought some stickers and went to work on a labelling system similar to Brenda’s on The Ties That Bind Us blog.


Both C and D have come up to me in the past week to say that they had read a book and then put it on the shelf “Right back where it goes” when they were done.  I LOVE  this system already!  Color matching, who knew it could be so simple?!  With color dots, I labelled all of the history books according to the history cycles in The Well-Trained Mind.

  • Red: Ancient–Creation to The Fall of Rome
  • Yellow: Medieval–475 to 1600 A.D.
  • Green: Early Modern–1600-1850
  • Blue: Modern–1850-Present

Science books, although we own far fewer, are likewise categorized with a striped sticker (actually file folder labels):

  • Red and white: Biology
  • Yellow: and white: Earth Science and Astronomy
  • Green and white: Chemistry
  • Blue and white: Physics

We also own about 101 books about trains so those all got an orange sticker.  The colored dots didn’t actually stick for too long, so I ended up putting clear tape over the spine to hold them down.  Eventually I want some new bookcases to house all of the schoolbooks in one place and I will then put a corresponding sticker on each shelf so it will be even easier to return things to the proper place. 

Sanity for this book-loving Mom! 

Now if I could only only find dots in enough colors, I could label the ABC books, the Five in a Row books, the church books, the art books, the music books…

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2009 5:38 am

    What a great idea. I feel like we need to do this for our books. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Karie permalink
    July 28, 2009 5:57 am

    Hey, it’s been awhile, but thought I’d pop in to say “marvelous idea” Now just to get it done on my end. lol

  3. July 28, 2009 7:02 am

    Fabulous idea! I wonder if you could just use white dots, and have the boys color them with markers. That would give you lots more colors to work with.

    • cellista permalink*
      July 28, 2009 9:16 am

      I could use white dots and a marker! Thanks for the idea! I don’t have nearly the number of books in other categories that we do in history, science, and trains though. It’s not such a big deal. Yet…

      And most are on my shelves and amazingly enough, MY shelves stay pretty neat! Imagine that.

  4. July 28, 2009 11:08 am

    Fabulous idea! Right now our books are spread all over the house. They are on bookshelves but usually the books don’t get put back where they are supposed to go. They usually get put on the nearest shelf. I’m hoping to remedy that with all our remodling but it’s going to be a LONG process. Love that even the littlest ones can find where the bookd belong by the color and type of sticker.

  5. July 28, 2009 9:31 pm

    Great idea!

  6. July 29, 2009 8:50 pm

    Love Love this idea! I wanted to re-do our library this summer inbetween school semester’s but…well, other things have come up. Perhaps this system is something my older girls could help me do. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. July 31, 2009 3:34 pm

    You are much more organized than me! I wish I could get organized enough to do something with all of my books!

  8. August 12, 2009 10:41 pm

    I have been dreaming of an organizational tool for my “library” and I LOVE this one. I think I’ll try it! If you visit my blog, you’ll see how we handle books from the public library. Enjoyed the blog!

  9. October 1, 2012 10:10 am

    You are a lifesaver! I hadn’t figured out what exactly I was going to do with the school books, so even though they’re probably what needs organization the most, I haven’t looked at them yet. But this is *perfect*! I need more stickers…

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