My kids have tons of books. They fill a huge bookshelf. They are never in any order and constantly cluttered with other stuff (misc toys, this weeks rock collection, etc). I love that my children love books, love to read them and enjoy picking out new ones. What I don’t love is discovering we already had that book and didn’t remember before we purchased the second copy (I unfortunately do this with condiments too…sigh). I also don’t love having to get a new book for a book report and later to discover we had a perfectly good book in our book collection, but didn’t know it because again things are so disorganized!!!
Well, that’s it. I can’t take it anymore. I am way to OCD and a neat freak to allow this to continue ONE MORE DAY (ok, it took me three weeks to start and finish this project, I’ll blame it on the wine). I even got lucky and during this little DIY adventure I stumbled across a little company that makes those old school library cards that you pull out and use for checking in and out a book – SCORE!
Here is the hot mess I was working with…..run away right? NO stay thirsty….oops I mean strong my friends!
The first step is always the hardest. You have to sort the books. You have to put them into some resemblance of order, or a category. I came up the following categories (Fiction, Reference, Science/Technology, Parent Readers, Classics, Disney, Dr. Seuss, Educational Reader). After that task was done I opened up Microsoft Excel and had at it. This piece took some time, but it was well worth it. Click on the picture to see it bigger so you can see the sorting columns.
The cute little library check out cards can be done over time. As they “check out” a book that has not been checked out before, fill the card out. I hung two file folders on the side of the book shelf. One to put the checked out cards into (to be later put back into the books as you check back in) and another file folder for the master list. Because the bookshelf is set up like an excel spreadsheet I labeled books for location based on A1 — for Column A, Row 1 and so on. If you are using a standard bookshelf just label is either Shelf A or Shelf 1 etc.
The best part about this little library is that we now have a master list so I can check it before we buy. I keep the list on my Box.com cloud file storage site so I can access it from my phone that way it won’t matter if I have the hard copy. If we find ourselves at the book store we can check it and feel confident to buy and not worry about duplicates! I also decided to share the list with our friends. If anyone needs to borrow a book they can check it out from Logan & Kaleb’s library — and probably another great result of this effort is my kids excitement to “go and use” their own personal library. It is super cool!