This is not staged, and unfortunately, it looks better in this pic than it does most days. This eyesore of a bookshelf sits right behind our living room sofa. You see it immediately as you walk in the front door, coming down the hallway, sitting in the dining room…there’s no place to escape from it. Honestly, it’s the best location in the house for Ezra to get to his books whenever he wants, and I’m all for encouraging as much reading as possible. But I was so weary of it looking like a mess ALL. THE. TIME.
I knew that in order for it to get organized and stay that way, I had to come up with a system that was simple, easy for him to maintain, and most importantly, free using what I had in the house. #covid19quarantine
Here’s what I came up with: colors! Imma genius, right?
Colors = categories, and here are the categories I used:
• Royal Blue: Storybooks (These are collections of stories and we have several of them.)
• Orange: Comic books/graphic novels
• Navy Blue: Beginner children’s books
• Pink: Books in a series
• Light Blue: Dr. Seuss books
• Purple: Magazines
• Yellow: Educational books/textbooks
• Green: Bibles and bible story books
• Maroon: Chapter books (I suspect this category will grow the fastest at this point in Ezra’s reading level and interests)
These are loose qualifiers and arguments could be made for certain books to belong to different categories, but I chose what would work best with our collection of books and I sorted them in just a few minutes, so I was making quick decisions.
To marry the colors and categories to tangible organization, I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut vinyl rectangles about 2″ x 1/2″. I created a Silhouette file that would cut an entire 12″x12″ sheet of vinyl into 138 rectangles. Notice that I left one long strip at the bottom. I’ll get to that in a sec.
I peeled off the rectangles and stuck them on the spines of the books toward the bottom. Then took the long piece of uncut vinyl at the bottom, trimmed with scissors to the length I needed, and stuck in on the shelf right beneath the coordinating books. That way, it’s easy to see at a glance where each color is and where the books need to go.
If I didn’t have a vinyl cutting machine, I would use small pieces of construction paper or washi tape on the spine and cover it with clear packing tape.
Sometimes, with kids, you have to make things easy and straightforward so that it sticks! And that’s okay! And for me, it’s all about empowering Ezra to take care of his belongings on his own. And it keeps me from nagging.
So here’s the final product:
SO. MUCH. BETTER. I much prefer this look. And when it gets untidy, it will be easy for Ezra to tidy up quickly. Bonus: as Henry grows, it will be an easy system for him to learn!
It’s not perfect, but it works great for us! Overall, this project only took a couple of hours from start to finish and will be easy to keep updated as more books come into the house. It will also keep library books easy to distinguish from home books.
And since I’m feeling extra, I made a TikTok of the process. If you’re in to that sort of thing, enjoy 🙂