Declutter childrens books without the guilt

Those close to me know that I have no trouble getting rid of excess clutter in my home. It doesn’t matter if it’s clothing, toys or kitchen appliances – if I haven’t used it in a while it goes. Children’s books on the other hand are definitely a weakness of mine. My children have such a love for reading. I have read to them since they were only a few months old. Not only is it great for speech and language development, I live for the snuggles and one on one time with my kiddo’s.

Dyllan books edited

Books are one thing that I have always had a problem parting with. They are one of those items that can take up very little space and can provide a heap of entertainment for the kids, time and time again. My children have their favourites and of course there are a few that I am sentimental about also. Particularly books that my kids would request every single night for months and months on end. Remembering how my Son had learnt all of the words by heart and the funny way they would pronounce certain words puts a smile on my face.

Over the years our collection has continued to grow. In fact, I am pretty sure I could count on one hand how many books I have ever thrown out. To keep on top of the book clutter my children each have one designated shelf for books in their bedrooms and we also keep a basket of books in our living room. The rest of our library is stored in plastic tubs in the garage and we rotate the books every few months.

 

Bj Books edit

But how many books should you store to rotate in and out? The answer to that question will vary person to person. I guess it depends on how much space you have to store them and how often you change them over. We currently have two 60L tubs and they are packed full. If I am being honest, the truth is that we have never purged books before and I know that many of them never get read and there are heaps that the kids have quite simply outgrown.

A few weeks ago my Son asked if we could change the books so I dragged the two plastic tubs out from our garage and lugged them onto the lounge room floor. We began searching for a particular book that Master B had been asking for and within 10 minutes my carpet looked like this.

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I honestly could not believe how many books we owned and these didn’t even include what was already in the house. Being that school holidays had just started, I took advantage of a stormy Sunday afternoon and began finally purging the kid’s books.

First we brought every single book out to the carpet and I got the children to select a pile of books for each of their rooms. I then chose books for our living room book basket.

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I began sorting them into the following piles:

  • Keepers
  • Donations
  • Maybe keep
  • Baby books / outgrown
  • Damaged / to throw out
  • Sets (grouping all Dora / Thomas The Tank Engine – books together etc.)

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Donations

These were placed directly in the empty blue tub.

Keepers

I placed these on the floor so that I was able to keep track of how many we were keeping.

Baby Books

We had a ridiculous amount of educational books for learning first words, colours, shapes, numbers and animals. I kept only one of each type and donated the rest. I then collected a few of my favourite board books “just in case” we have another baby. (#wishfulthinking) The rest were also donated

Damaged Books

I said goodbye to those damaged books once and for all.

Book Sets

We looked through the book sets and kept the ones we will continue to read eg. Dora the Explorer, Where’s Wally, Winnie The Pooh. I then put the remaining sets in our donation box with the exception of two, which I am trying to sell.

Maybe Keep

I left these until last so I knew how much room we roughly had in our “to keep” box. I was able to be realistic in what I knew we would genuinely use and enjoy. There were obvious purges. These were books the kids have never chose to bring inside.  I also found twelve books that we had two copies of (I’m not even sure how that happened) so all of the doubles were purged as well.

We began packing our “to keep” books back in the plastic container. To my surprise (and relief) they all fit back into just one 60L tub. That’s right, I had achieved my goal and we halved our library – and all of our favourites are still here.

This was my donation pile.

donations

It just goes to show how much we hold onto purely because we put off making decisions. When you decide to declutter your home, you must be honest with yourself about what you really use. I hate to see so many books in our donation pile but I know that my kids are either way too old for them or are quite simply not interested in them.

It makes me happy to think that these books will make their way to children who will read and enjoy them. And what is the added bonus to our donations? I now have space for our own collection to grow as the kids get older and their interests change.

dyllan book shelf

If I can get a little serious for a moment when I began decluttering over 6 years ago I never thought I would get to the point that I am at right now. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go before I reach my end goal. When I looked at those tubs absolutely bursting at the seams the first thing I though was that every room in my house was like those tubs. Absolutely stuffed full with unused clutter.

Conquering The Guilt

I have found that when you are trying to better your home and manage the clutter you have to let go of the guilt. Why hold on to all of this excess stuff that you don’t even use, purely because you feel guilty getting rid of them? And why should you feel guilty for trying to make your home less cluttered and better organised?

I like to think of it another way.

Why am I being so selfish holding onto all of these books? We no longer love or use them and there are other children that could be enjoying them instead. There are many places you can donate children’s books. Schools, day care centres, doctors surgeries, play groups, friends and family at even pay it forward style groups online.

You are taking the necessary steps to live a less cluttered and more organised life. By ridding your home of excessive stuff you are making room for things that you truly use and love and you are making less work for yourself in the long run. No one should feel guilty for trying to enjoy their homes more.

I really feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. No really, do you know how heavy those tubs were? We are no longer drowning in books and it feels really great to get another job crossed off the to do list.

I challenge you to tackle the kid’s books and minimise the clutter this week.

Simplifying My Life In 2017

It’s hard to believe that January is over and we are well into February already. How does the time go by so quickly? I find that this is the time of year when we all begin to settle back into our regular routines and start getting a bit of normality back to our lives. If you are reading this, then I’m guessing that you are interested in the idea of simplifying your life. The mere thought of this is extremely overwhelming when you feel like you are living in chaos. This is pretty much how I am feeling at the moment.

I love my husband to death but when he is on holidays I get absolutely NOTHING accomplished. Please tell me I’m not alone on this one?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having all of that extra family time together. Day trips to the beach and extra activities with the kids have been wonderful and of course the little ones love having their Daddy home so much over the break.  In saying that, I’ll admit that I find it very hard to keep everything in order when the four of us are home together all day everyday for a month straight. Routines get thrown out the window, there are way too many late nights and every day is like the weekend. And if I am to be 100% honest with you I get quite lazy myself – if everyone else is on holidays why can’t I join them?

February is also the time of year that I really start to act on my goals for the year. I know I’m a little late in regards to this topic – I realise that the new year began over 6 weeks ago.

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The holiday season is absolutely insane around here. My Husband and I went on our Honeymoon at the end of November and also celebrated his birthday. Then of course there is Christmas, our Sons birthday, New Year Eve celebrations. Add to that “Party Season” as all of Master B’s little friends birthdays fall in December and January as well as my birthday! To say it’s been impossible to start anything new during this time is a massive understatement.

But now is the time! Hubby is back at work and Master 5 has just started kindergarten. My aim is to simplify our routine so that we can enjoy our day to day activities. I’m also trying to create  a new routine with just Miss 2 and myself at home. I know this will be a major adjustment not just for me, but her as well. She misses her big brother so much.

I don’t know what it is about the beginning of a new year. It’s a fresh start and a whole world of possibilities. As you all know, I love having a decluttered and organised home. While it has taken me many years to get to where I am at this point, I am far from finished I really want to take it further.

This year I chose one word, call it my theme for the year. LESS. I have always aimed to use less, have less, spend less, waste less. In the past I have tried when I remember to, but this year I’m determined to take it to the next level. I’m really excited to share with you my goals for the year.

It’s time to start simplifying my life

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I have officially begun my journey to minimalist living.

Now let me just say that I will never be a “true minimalist”. We will not be selling all of our furniture and electronics. We will not be swapping our couches for bean bags or our beds for a mattress on the floor and we certainly will not be replacing toilet paper for washable cloths.

Yes, I have recently learned that this is actually “thing”. #omg

I have been learning lot about minimalism over the last few months. My time has been spent reading many articles and I have been listening to a lot of podcasts on the topic. I have joined quite few facebook groups where everyday people share their progress, as they begin living with less, simplifying their lives and living with purpose. Let me tell you, the benefits seem to be life changing for some people. I want to be one of those people!!!

There are many interpretations of what minimalism actually is. To me, it’s only keeping things that you need, use and love. Everything else is not needed. I love the idea of living a much simpler life, getting rid of the unnesacery and only having what we need. I truly believe that happiness is not measured by the amount of possessions you own and more importantly I want to teach my kids the same thing. This is incredibly difficult to do these days any way.

During my year of culling I will not be stopping at household items. Minimising waste of food and money by meal planning and budgeting is high on my list of things to improve. As well as cutting costs anywhere I can in the everyday running of my home.

It may come as no surprise that having less stuff makes keeping your house clean, tidy and under control a much easier task. Having too much stuff causes stress and creates so much more work when it comes to running the household. I’m going to tackle it all. Every inch of my home is going to get the minimalist touch and I will be sharing my progress on my facebook page as well as monthly updates here on the blog.

I am so excited about this change we are making and I can’t wait to see how it impacts other areas of our lives.

The Year Of The House

The second goal I wanted to share with you are the projects we have planned for our home. It is really going hand in hand with our minimalist goals. My husband and I have renamed 2017! Yes, you read that correctly, 2017 is now known in our family as the year of the house. Our plan is to do as many updates and improvements to our home as possible. This will include DIY projects and organising projects. If you have seen my Back To School Series part 1 and part 2,  work has well and truly begun.

We have been in our house for eight and a half years now. We have painted a little here and there and made a few changes along the way but we have a long way to go. With our kiddo’s aged 2 and 5 it has been extremely hard to find the time to knock all of these projects off the to do list, as I’m sure many of you out there can relate to.

Truth be told, over last year I have realised that we are very quickly outgrowing our home. Before we bought our house, my husband and I had been renting a tiny two bedroom unit. So when we moved into our 3 bedroom house it felt huge, like seriously huge. Add to that another dog, two kiddos and all the extra stuff that those little people need and we are close to bursting at the seems. This is another reason we will greatly benefit from a more minimalistic life.

Moving will not be an option for us any time soon, so for the time being it’s about making the most of the house that we have. I had so many plans for our home when we first moved in and somewhere along the way it has all been pushed aside. So decluttering and setting up systems to make the most efficient use of the space is at the top of the to do list.

I think of all those years we totally wasted the space in our entry way. It was always a mess because there wasn’t enough storage and with our entry project not only has it completely transformed the way it looks, but it has totally changed the way we use that space.

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On Our To-Do List
  • Laundry update – better storage
  • Declutter while simplifying storage in kids rooms
  • Closet organisation in all bedrooms
  • Finish painting inside
  • Front patio update
  • Garage declutter
  • Garage organization
  • Purging every room
  • Photo Organisation

I’m sure there a million other areas that will need some kind or re-organisation and I’m sure they will be added to our never ending list.

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So this is the starting point. I’m ready for a more simplified life. I’m so excited to get started on ridding our home and lives of all the unnecessary stuff that has no purpose and only having things in our home that we truly need, use or want.

So here’s to a tidier, cleaner and less cluttered 2017!