07 June 2006

Talk amongst yourselves: Organizing board books

Betsy wonders:

How do you organize board books? They're too small to fit on most shelves and come in non-standard sizes, but bins don't provide easy access and stacks tumble too readily. Anyone found a great storage solution for them?


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I pile them up in stacks on the shelf and try to group them by the length of the spine. And I've given up trying to care how messy it looks.

Years ago, we put up rain gutter shelves. I got the idea from Jim Trelease's website. You can see them being used at my house for board books: http://tinyurl.com/qancn

We have a very shallow bookshelf that we bought at Target right after our first was born. It's perfect for the smaller infant books. For the bigger books we use canvas floor totes from Pottery Barn Kids: http://tinyurl.com/juy93

These work very well, not only for books but for other toys as well.

we have a few homemade bookshelves with 6" high shelves that work perfectly for them, spine out. I usually organize by color so I get stripes on the shelves.

I made small shelves from diaper boxes! They are perfect for those books, and when you just cut off the flaps you can line them along the walls (only 1 box high) and they are perfect for my son to take them off himself. We only have 1/2 that don't fit there.

We have a media shelf for Paul that we leave outside of his room. The shelves are just deep enough for DVDs/CDs and they adjust well to regular paperback/hardback books.

The top shelves have books that he can't look at without supervision. The bottom 2 rows are for board books. I try to keep them by size, since Paul loves to stack his board book "blocks". It's pointless to organize them at this point, because Paul "fixes" that before I can finish ;).

I figure if I leave them on the floor long enough, eventually my toddler will just chew them into bits and I can vacuum them up.

We used a combination of a shallow, low shelf and small, rectangular baskets. This way, the books couldn't fall on anyone's tiny foot, but they were easily browsed. A basket of books could also be carried to a cozy reading corner.

Remember those wooden CD crates? We used to have tons of them that we would stack together to make a makeshift shelf- a decorating tactic from post college era. When we finally got a real media bookshelf, I had no idea what to do with these crates, but reluctant to throw them away, I shoved them into my storage closet. When putting away baby clothes right after our son was born, I saw them and realized they were the perfect height for all those akward board books that I had just been tossing in a basket. These storage crates are a pretty versatile solution since they can stack onto an existing bookshelf, sit on top of a dresser, or even mount to a wall.

We don't make much of an attempt at organization. We just have these three big plastic bins that we pile the books into. They're on the floor, so they're easy for the kid to access, and just throwing the books in there makes tidying up a breeze.

Love the rain gutter bookshelf idea, though.

We keep them propped up in those ubiquitous sterlite-type plastic shoeboxes, like this:


We have these shelves from Crate and Barrel called "Puzzle shelves." There's nothing special about them, really, but the books seem to fit nicely into the space. When we hhave a lot of library books, we have to double stack, but it's easy to keep them in one spot. The shelves also hold toys nicely too.

We got some of the pressboard "stackable" units at Target and left out one of the interior shelves.

I'm going to sound real geeky here, but forgive me--I'm a teacher! I have found it fun to spread books around thematically. I put books about food with the play kitchen, books about travel by the globe, books about naps and sleep by the bed, even stacks of bath books in the bathroom. I try to have multicultural or multilingual books in every spot.

One word: shoebox.

That's it. Nothing special. When he throws it on the floor and rips the box, we just buy more shoes.

I agree with Jen the teacher. There are some fun books and animal books in the toy table, a couple by the bath, some in a shoebox by the couch for leisure reading, and a couple favorites by the bed for nighttime. The rest go on a bookshelf with other books that are for older kids (gifted by several older cousins) and they are exchanged for the others around the house when a new favorite is discovered.

Our bookshelves have pegs up the sides so you can make the shelves the height that you need. Our lower shelves are small for the books. The upper shelves are larger and we use the space for videos and DVDs. It keeps the books where the kids can reach them and the more fragile media higher up.

Our son is in elementary school now... and we have a tiny house / he has a tiny room. We've had sling shelves (books face forward) which was good when he read the same 10 books over and over. But now that he regularly checks out library books and gets a magazine, we are going to add these clear folder holders to the back of his door - making use of presently unused space and getting rid of the sling shelves.

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