Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Do you remember how I told you that we recently moved from Iowa back to California? And how, in Iowa, we had 2 kid rooms and 1 basement space worth of toys? And how now all that nonsense needs to somehow fit nicely into 1 small apartment room?  Lordy.

One of my favorite storage solutions is this white cube organizer from Target. What's actually going on in this picture is two 8-cube organizers and two 2-cube organizers. We've been collecting them over the years and I love them, although I'll totally admit that they never actually look this organized unless I'm prepping them for a dang picture. 

Anyway. Check out the books!!! Do you see how they're all sorted by color?  

This is the first time I've ever done that. I've sorted by size, by Ella's books/Peyton's books, and by size again, but they always looked messy. I love that my kids have tons of books, but the disarray-look wasn't working for me. And, more often than not, when it was time for the kids to put their books away, they would shove them on top on the others horizontally and it just about drove me bananas.

And then I had an epiphany! I've had my books in my room sorted by color for years because I like to be all grown-up and fancy like that. Why can't my kids be fancy, too? I had an hour to spare, so...

I love it. The kids love it. Our kid library no longer drives me to drink. 

Wait. What? Never mind.

The only bad thing about these cubes is that they can sometimes be a little small for the big stuff. Our biggest books don't fit, so they have their own basket under the bed.

Anyway, back to the not-freakishly-large normal-sized books. I started the color-coded awesomeness by dumping out all the books into one horrific literary mountain. Then I took a deep, cleansing breath and started tossing the books into loose piles according to the color of their spines. And then I had to figure out how to make those 8 or 9 color piles fit into the 5 cubes I had available for them. 

And, yes, I do know that you could figure out how to organize your books by color if you wanted to. Because you're totally smart like that. But in all honesty, after I had those books sorted by color, I wasn't quite sure how to work it all out so that they looked good. And if I can save you a little bit of figuring-it-out time, then my job here is done.

I tried to do it rainbow-style first - you know - "Red, orange, yellow, green, blue. Don't forget, there's purple too!" Thanks Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song, for taking up that valuable space in my brain.

But the rainbow scheme didn't really work as well as I'd hoped because of the colors we had - mostly blue, yellow, and white, and hardly any purple or green, so I went from dark to light instead. It totally works. 

And it looks AWESOME.

And it's totally educational because I'm pretty sure that's how libraries organize their books. 

Well, it's how libraries would organize their books if they wanted to look amazing and be cool like us. Losers.

I'm just kidding! I love libraries! (I don't want the library people to come after me.)

At bedtime, when it's time for the kids to pick out a story, I make them choose by color. "Tonight you have to pick a yellow book!" They think it's totally fun.

And when it's time to put the books away, they know they have to do it by color and height. "Color and height! Color and height!" I'm drilling it into their heads. It's much easier than our system before. Which wasn't a system at all. It was a bibliophilic disaster.

But now! Now it's all color-coordinated gorgeousness.

And our kid library has looked like this for an ENTIRE WEEK!

I know! That's like an entire year in kid clean room time.


Ali Richardson said...

SUPER SUPER AWESEOMENESS are the only words that come to mind!

quiverfull said...

this may be the best book organization post i've ever read. and i've read... two. :)
seriously, though. i'm doing this tomorrow. the kids will love it. and they will keep to the code - color and height... and our life will be instantaneously more awesome.


Jodi said...

Okay...I will keep loving you forever if you can figure out this book conundrum...Scholastic Book Orders will be the death of my kids library. What in the world do you do with all those super-cheap, super-fun, but oh-so-super-flimsy book fair books? AHHHH!!! It kills me that one of those magazine file thingys don't fit in the Target cube system.

So whatcha got for that one?

(Oh, and I love that I can actually hear your voice two thousand miles away)

Darcy said...

I know!!! What the heck, books! Why must you be so skinny?
I just shoved them in here and there depending on the color of their cover art. It's not a perfect system. It's a Darcy System.

I miss you!!!

4kidsgrandma said...

I love that you inherited your mom's love of an organized life and that you're much more creative as you go about it!

Bona Fide Mama said...

That is craziness! I love it! I'm really enjoying your blog! I'll be back and I welcome you to visit my site as well :)

andiejaye said...

i love this idea! i did a post on it a week ago or so too! way to go for figuring this out on your own! i saw it on another blog and figured i'd try it. it makes the room look so pretty, doesn't it?

OhioMomPatriot said...

I am so happy to find your sarcastic gene on the blogosphere! This idea would have made my DD's life so much easier than the "Crazy Mother" looks she got growing up at the unorganized cleaning up she did...LOL! I will be reading you for enjoyment and ideas!

kt said...

aaaand, i'm totally doing this in my classroom. the horizontal books (among other things) are still driving me to drink.

thanks again! you're fabulous.


silly eagle books said...

This is awesome! I love the look. I write a children's book blog--would you mind if I shared one photo and a link back to your post? I'd love to share this.


Lorraine Castellon-Rowe said...

OH MY GOODNESS....why didn't I ever think of that??!!?? I have to tell you that I totally have OCD and absolutely HATE my son's bookcase. It's never organized and yes, there are books stacked, standing up, piled and out of color coding!!! I am going to do this today!!! I almost just ran out the door to get the Target cubbies but my Hubby tripped me at the door and said NO! So, I'll have to work with what I have and I am so excited to start!! Thanks again for another incredible idea and I'm going to forward this to my son's school Librarian in hopes that she may conform! LOVEYOURBLOGMEANITBYE!

aber said...

I love you almost as the lady who blogged about sock rings. (Amazon if you're curious.) Seriously genius. We are book people. We have over a thousand kids books and the shelves they live on are a nightmare. Thanks so much for this idea!


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