How to Organize Kid’s Books

how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books

Once upon a time, we had a problem with book clutter. That means kid’s books all over the house. In the past I always believed that when it came to books—kids needed more, more, more.

However, I don’t believe that anymore—you can read the 3 reasons why you need to minimize kid’s books.

How to Organize Kid’s Books

Indeed, less is often more when it comes to books. We purged many books and donated them to worthy causes, but we also kept a lot. Therefore, today I am going to tell you how we organize kid’s books in our house. We have one central location that we store the majority of the books and then a couple of points where we access books throughout the day. Here’s how you can get started.

Step One: Choose the Book Headquarters

You need to pick a control center. This is the main place where the vast majority of the books will live. It is best to choose a position that is out of reach from little hands, but not completely out of sight.

Young children have a hard time managing a large quantity of books all at once. Therefore it’s desirable to give them just a few to access at any given time. By keeping most of them out of reach you will help children to learn to respect and care for books. [more on this here]

For the headquarters in our house, we selected one shelf in my son’s closet. We chose this spot because that’s where we had the shelving space available. The children are free to roam in and out of the closet and my older one can reach the books on his tip toes. This works great because they aren’t in the main space where we spend time, but the books are still accessible to us on a regular basis.

how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books
Our Book Headquarters

Step Two: Minimize

Before you organize, you have to minimize. This is true for anything in your home, books included.

Do not skip this step. 

There is no perfect number. It might take some trial and error to find the right amount of books for your home. We chose to slim down on the books until they all fit snugly onto one shelf. When it comes lining books up on a shelf, they stay put better if you fill up the designated shelf. Therefore, we don’t aim to keep a specific number of books. Instead, we try not to go too far over or under what fits on this shelf.

I should mention, it’s a big shelf–about 6 feet long. 

Step Three: Designate Access Points

Occasionally we choose books from the main control center, but typically the books are stored here until they are rotated into one of the access points. The access points are the locations throughout the house where books are available for easy access. We have three access points for books: My son’s bedroom, my daughter’s bedroom, and the play room.

These access points should be low to the ground so that a child of any age can reach them. When we designed my son’s room before he was born, we made the mistake of putting the shelves at adult level. Unless you like the idea of your child climbing the walls to get books, I highly suggest you put them low to the ground. You can see we have done this in my daughter’s room.

Keeping a few designated spots to access books will make it easy for kids to make a choice, read independently, and take care of the books by putting them away.

how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books
My Son’s Room (Age 3.5)
how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books
My Daughter’s Room (Age 14 Months)
how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books
The Reading Corner of our Playroom
how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books
The Right Side of the Reading Corner (The Playroom)
how to organize kid's books how to organize children's books
The Left Side of the Reading Corner (the Playroom)

Step Four: Make the Covers Visible

Shelves that display the cover of books are vital for young children. By keeping the books out and visible the children will be able to quickly see what is available and make choices–without having to actually take the books off the shelves. I love these clear acrylic shelves for maximum visibility.

It’s important to keep a minimal number of books on each shelf. This means, do not stack the books. If the flat shelves get overloaded, you will find that kids rip through them to see the options. Remember, the goal is not only to have less mess but to teach children how to properly handle and care for books. They will be able to do this when they have fewer books.

Step Five: Rotate

Once you have all your access points set up, start reading! When it feels like the books are getting tired, rotate them out with books that are in headquarters. Don’t feel the need to do it frequently, because it’s actually beneficial for kids to read the same book repeatedly.

You will eventually find the rhythm that works for your family. We don’t rotate on any type of schedule–I just do it whenever I have a little extra time. So there it is. Simple, right?

How do you organize books in your home? Share your tips and tricks in the comments. 

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How to organize kids books

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.