Episode 019: 2 Quick Organizational Tips

Episode Transcription

Do your kids love reading and have many books at home? Or maybe you want your kids to love reading but don’t want books all over the place. Diana shares how she manages her kids' book collection. She also discusses a change she made with their family board games and how it freed up space in her front hall closet.

In this episode, Diana shares two quick organizational tips when it comes to books and board games that can easily be implemented in your home.

We’ll also discuss:

  • Using a Kindle for both kids and adults
  • What happens when you add books to your home after you’ve started a routine
  • How having a decent amount of board games doesn’t have to take up lots of space

What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?

  • 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
  • How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
  • Guest interviews
  • Deep dives on specific topics 

Find Diana Rene on social media:

Instagram: @the.decluttered.mom

Facebook: @the.decluttered.com

Pinterest: @DianaRene

Are you ready for a peaceful and clutter-free home? Watch my FREE training video “Kiss Clutter Goodbye” to learn how it’s possible! And find all of my resources here

Episode 019: 2 Quick Organizational Tips

[00:00:00] Diana Rene

You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.

On today's episode of the podcast, we are going to go over two really quick organizational tips when it comes to books and board games.

We're gonna start with books. A lot of times, people will say when they're decluttering, like, well, we could never have too many books. Like books is the one thing that I will never put a limit on. I will always make sure that we have tons of books because I want my kids to be strong readers. I want them to have an interest in reading and so forth and so on. Right. And I get that. I understand that idea or, like, um, I don't know the word for it. It's late, you guys. I'm recording this probably too late, but I really wanted to talk about this.

So this, this idea of like, we, our kids can only be interested in books or good readers if they have like every book in the world available to them. I understand where that's coming from, but I also don't think that that's necessarily true. My eight-year-old is my five-year-old. Doesn't know how to read yet. She's in kindergarten. But my eight-year-old is a really, really, really big reader. She's reading constantly. Um, she reads on her Kindle a lot, but then she also reads chapter books. And I don't really think that limited, well, I don't even wanna say limited, but may be less access to various books at one point in time has decreased her interest or her ability at all.

So, I think that books are one of those things where it's not really like a bad thing if you have a ton of books. But just like anything, too many choices can be really difficult for a kid's brain. And when they're looking at a bookshelf, and they can't even see what the books are, because there are just piles and piles and piles of books, then they're not really getting the full benefit of what all of those books are anyway. So what if we had a different system that just made it easier for them to see what their options are and then for them to be able to have less choices, um, and maybe even more interest in reading, or less decision fatigue, with all of the books. So something I started doing, gosh, I think I say I started this probably three years ago.

So when miss eight was five and when miss five was two, you can fact-check me there. My math is probably the worst in the world, but when they were around two and five, I started this book rotation. And a lot of people assume that because we do a book rotation, we do a toy rotation, and we actually don't.

Um, we don't have enough toys to have a toy rotation, really. But with this book rotation, it allows my kids to be able to see what their options are very clearly and openly. And then they are able to kind of cycle through the different choices. And I have found that when I started doing this, they actually were more interested in books again because, I think again, it was just less overwhelming.

So instead of a bookshelf with a thousand options of books to read. They have 10 to 15 books out at a time that are clearly displayed. Um, and we just have like wall shelves. I think I got them at Target. No, sorry, Amazon. And they are just like those really basic, uh, shelves that have just like a tiny little ledge, and so they're meant for books, right? So there are three or four on each of the shelves. It's very clear you can see every title, you can see every cover. Um, you can see the pictures. And so it just makes it like very obvious what books are available to them.

So I do typically 10 to 15 books at a time. And also caveat, I don't really do this for my eight-year-old anymore because she's so into chapter books that this doesn't work as well for chapter books. She's also really into her Kindle, which I know is very controversial. Like I have discovered that. I know like paperback or hardcover books versus Kindle is controversial even as an adult, but like some of the looks and words I have gotten from people when they find out that my eight-year-old has a Kindle that she reads on, um, like, like I'm robbing her of something. And I understand like reading from a book is, um, like an actual book is an experience, but I have. I prefer my Kindle. Which I know, again controversial. But I really enjoy reading in bed at night, and I don't like book lights, like the, I just don't like them.

And I also feel like it's really hard. This is like a tangent. I really feel like it's hard to get comfortable holding like an actual book. So I prefer my Kindle, and I think honestly that she just saw me with my Kindle so much that, that it was something that she asked for for Christmas one year. And I think that she now kind of gravitates towards it also. Honestly, I think in big part because it just has so many books on it.

She has like a kid's subscription that came with the Kindle for it's like free for a year or two or something that just has access to like thousands and thousands of chapter books. And so she just like will pour through this like virtual library that she has on her Kindle. And I think she really likes that. So that's a total side note. So I don't really do this for her anymore. I think this works best for like picture books. And so for miss five, it absolutely still works. And I think it will until she really gets into, uh, chapter books as well.

So I do 10 to 15 books at a time. And what I do is I just separate them out. I, when I first started this, I got all of the books out, and I kind of put 'em in piles of categories, um, or types of books. And then I would kind of pick and choose from the different categories so that each week, or each rotation, had different titles, varying topics, and things like that. So it's not like one week she gets all Pete the Cat books, right?

Like there might be two Pete the Cat books in there, but then there's also going to be, um, different books from different, I don't think I can say genres. I don't think there's genres for kid's picture books, but maybe there is. But you get what I mean, like there's just different types of books in each week so that it's not just like all one at a time.

So each week, or rotation, and I know I keep saying week or rotation and, and the reason I say that is because I don't think it has to be one week for how long between rotations. Um, I think for some people, it works really well to rotate them out every week. For some people, it works really well to rotate them out every two weeks.

Some people want to rotate them out every three or four days. I think that that's just gonna matter, or it's gonna depend on a couple of things. How accessible the books are going to be to you, because if they're not super accessible, you probably don't wanna rotate them out every three days. And then also, like your personality. If you are someone who has a hard time sticking to routine, you definitely don't wanna set yourself up for failure by saying, okay, every two to three days. I'm gonna do this. It's much more likely that you're going to do it every week or every two weeks and so forth.

So once I would did this initial, like grouping of the books, then I would have 10 to 15 books in each pile. And then I got these really big Ziploc bags on Amazon. I think they're like five-gallon Ziploc bags. And I put the books in there and I would just label them group one, group two, group three, and so forth. And that way I would put them into a bin. So there's a plastic bin and they're I'm I keep using my, I always forget you guys with the podcast. I forget that you can't see me. I'm so used to Instagram where you can see me talking.

Um, so I keep using my hands and then I'm like, Oh, Diana, they can't see you. So they, I group them in these Ziploc bags and then I sit them upright into the bin, so that they're all like next to each other, not on top of each other, if that makes sense.

And I put them in order and that way, um, I do it weekly. So when I pull out group one, then group two is in the front of the bin. When I'm done with group one and I put it back, I put it in the very end of the bin. So say that there's 12 groups, then it will say, then it will be like group two through 12. And then group one is at the very end. That way it just kind of cycles through. And by the time 12 weeks have rolled around, then that group one is back into the beginning.

Anytime we get a new book, then I will just figure out where it fits the best as far as categories and stuff like that. Honestly, most of the time, I will just find the envelope or the, um, baggy that has the least amount of books, and I will put it in there and just make sure that it doesn't have, like, it's not too similar to any of the other books in there.

Most of the times, it's not an issue. And then that way, I can just keep building it out if I get too many books. And maybe it doesn't fit in the bin, then I'm going to go through and I'm going to let go of the books that she never reaches for, or she never really reads, or that she just doesn't like. Um I'll take those out. Or I will create another grouping if there is room in the bin.

When you are setting up a new system like this, it's really important that you, again, set yourself up for success. So try a time period that you think you can, you can do a good job with. Um, for me it was weekly. It's always been weekly. And at first, when I started this, then I would, set a reminder in my phone. So every Sunday, I would get this reminder and I would switch out her books. It takes like maybe 10 minutes. Like if that, um, probably closer to five minutes. But I keep mine in a bin in the basement, uh, just because I wanted it kind of out of the way where they weren't getting into it outside of the book rotation.

So set a reminder, it can be in your phone, it can be in your planner just to, for the first few weeks. So that it like is like, oh yeah, today's the day that I'm supposed to do that. And then you can kinda get into a groove with it and you get used to it. And then you just kind of remember on your own.

So the other quick organizational tip comes with board games. And I don't know about you, but board game boxes drive me crazy for a couple of reasons. Number one, they just are so big and they're always like not consistent sizes. And so it's really hard to like stack them in a way that makes sense, where things aren't falling down and hitting you in the head in the closet.

And like they break all the time, which also really drives me crazy. It's like, they're not. They look like they're made really well, but they always somehow have issues where they're breaking apart. And I just, I don't like board game boxes. And I know that some people feel very strongly that they love board game boxes, and that's okay.

If that is you, then then keep your board game boxes. I will not be upset. But this was always something that drove me crazy because it took up so much room. Um, we used to keep them in our like front hall closet up, uh, up in the shelves, and it took, they took up the entire thing because we really like board games.

And that's something that we've gotten into in the last couple of years because it's something that both of my kids are old enough to play. And it's like, it's something that I really enjoy. Um, I don't like pretend play, which is another thing for another day, but I really do enjoy playing board games with my kids.

So we have a decent amount of them and it drove me nuts how much space they took up when they didn't need to take up that much space. And they also just would always fall out and it drove me nuts. So I came up with a new solution in putting them into Ziploc baggies. It doesn't have to be Ziploc brand or even that style of bag. Container store has like plastic mesh bags that you can use. There are so many different options that you can use to organize these. But I have just Ziploc baggies. Again, those five-gallon size. And each game and the board and all of its pieces go into the baggy. There are very rare circumstances where it doesn't, where a board game doesn't fit into these.

I at least have not found a board game that doesn't fit in the five-gallon bag so far. I have found some issues with this, just the, like the one-gallon bags, but the five-gallon bags. I have never had a game that didn't fit in it. So I just put all of the pieces, the board, the cards, the dice, whatever comes with the game into its own five-gallon bag.

And I label it with the name. We always include the rules. That way, we always know where the rules are if anyone needs a refresher or there's like a heated argument on a rule, which happens often in our house. And then it goes into a bin that goes underneath one of the beds, um, in my girl's room. So, and it changes all the time, but so right now it's under miss five's bed, and it just, the games go into this bin. There's a lid for the bin. And then it just slides right under her bed, which is really nice because it doesn't take up a lot of space. It takes up so much less space than if everything was in the boxes, and because we are able to fit it all into the bin that goes under the bed, it's just really, really easy. It's also really easy for them to get games out if they wanna play on their own or with each other or whatever. Because they can just easily pull it out from under the bed, open it up and grab the game that they wanna play, play it. They're not having to like climb chairs to get up into our closet, to get hit in the head with a box that falls.

So it just has worked really well for our family. This is a system that I have shared on Instagram before, and people again have very strong feelings, both ways about it. But, those who have tried it have always told me that they're really thankful because they had similar issues with board game boxes.

And this just kind of takes that away. And honestly like frees up a lot of space in your home, wherever you were storing them because, uh, again, it's just, it doesn't take up nearly the amount of space as keeping them in their original boxes.

All right, you guys let me know on Instagram stories if you were going to do one of these quick organizational tips. And if so, which one you're gonna start with? I would love to see that. And I would also love to hear why, um, you're gonna start with that one because my, it always interests me to see, you know, when I do these podcast episodes, what resonates with you and what you're, what are the things that you're like, Ooh, I'm gonna try that. So I would love to hear what you think, be sure to tag me so I can check it out. But as always you can DM me if you ever have any questions. I hope these tips were super helpful for you and that they are super helpful for your home and the systems in your home.

Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories, and if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the dot decluttered dot mom and send me a DM to say hi.

I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.