Spring cleaning your bookshelves!

Mar 20, 2013
Today is the first day of Spring, which usually means it’s time to clean up the house. If your house is anything like mine, you have a lot of work ahead of you! But let’s not talk about dusting and sparkly clean windows. Instead, let’s focus on one thing…clutter. More specifically book clutter! Now we all know that in theory books are shelved neatly in endless bookcases that display their wonderfulness and we always have enough room for more. In practice, your kids have spent the winter reading every last one of the Rainbow Magic books, a few rounds of The 39 Clues adventures, Geronimo Stilton numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20 and 37. (Because that’s how they roll.) Not to mention your picture book selection is filled with more dust bunnies than fictional ones because your kids are ‘independent readers.’ Your bookshelf is there. You just might not be able to find it… So this leads us to that inevitable moment every book lover must deal with…the purge! We all want to keep every book we’ve ever read forever…but we can’t. So how do we say goodbye to books with no regrets? Involve your kids in the process! They may not pick up those picture books these days but you KNOW they have an emotional connection to some. Let them do some of the sorting. (But save the ones you know they’d want to pass on to their kids or you think your kids might need to come back to at some point in life.) The same goes for series books. Your kids are (hopefully) reading through them at a breakneck speed and most likely, are as proud of the accomplishment of reading them than they are attached to the actual books. Maybe make a list of all of the books they’ve read in a series for display rather than 2 shelves of them. Of course, you should keep a few for book reports or summer re-reading. Let’s not forget all of YOUR books! You need to lead the way for your kids. That means you should take a hard look at your storage space, the books you will realistically reread or want to keep for sentiment and those YA books your soon-to-be tween might want to read in a few years. Now, you have a semi-neat and perhaps spacious bookshelf and a box of books that need a new home. Here are a few ideas for finding them one: Friends read too! You have them. Your kids have them. Maybe their daughter loves Geronimo Stilton too but has only read numbers 2, 8, 9 and 11. It’s a match made in mouse-heaven! Check with your child’s teacher or school librarian. They may need to spruce up their classroom library or might know of a child who really loves the Rainbow Fairies and would appreciate the chance to conquer the series over the summer! See if your local bookstore also deals in used books. If not, there are also quite a few options for selling used books online. There are tons of charities that will use gently used books or raise funds through book sales. If one speaks to your heart, it’s good to know your books will continue to be loved and go toward a good cause. Let’s be honest. Some books have seen so much love that they probably aren’t suitable for donation or resale. Don’t put them out on the curb for the recycling truck just yet, though. They can become part of a collage, homework assignment or some other craft project. Be creative and have fun! After all that work, congratulations! You’ve earned the right to relax. Sit down with a cup of tea and read a good book!