So…here it is…my first ever Blog Post. I created my website www.GetBusyAndRead.com almost a year ago, with the intention of creating weekly (or maybe monthly, because, well, life happens!) blog posts. That clearly didn’t happen, but here we are today – my first blog post 🙂
How many of you have seen this graphic floating around Social Media recently? I told my husband about this quote (and the above graphic) the other morning while I was getting ready for work. He had not seen this yet, but he had heard of Marie Kondo and her “keep what sparks joy” philosophy. What I found ironic though, was less than 30 minutes after I left for work, my husband sent me a screenshot of his Facebook Newsfeed, showing the exact graphic we were just discussing earlier that morning. Coincidence, or was Facebook listening to our conversation???
Now, I follow several Usborne groups, so my Newsfeed probably looks a lot different than some of yours, but the day or two after that graphic first appeared, I saw several spin offs that looked something like this:
All joking aside, this quote about keeping fewer than 30 books did get me thinking. At the moment, we are living with my mom while we build our house. About 3 months ago, I was faced with the decision of what to pack for storage and what to move to my mom’s. I knew that everything I packed up I would get to unpack eventually, but in the meantime, it is buried in the back of a storage unit, not to be seen again until we move into our new house. So…what do I pack, and what do I move to my mom’s, where we will have VERY limited space?
I will be honest, and tell you that I did pack a LOT of books to put into storage. We only took about 20 books with us to my mom’s. Yikes! She has a ton of books already, a bunch from my childhood, as well as some new ones for her grandkids, so it’s not like we were deprived of books while living there, but goodness I really miss some of those books!! It’s amazing how emotionally attached I became to some of the books we had. They bring back so many memories of reading to my babies! And I have been surprised by how many times my 3-year-old has asked to read a particular book and I have to tell her, “sorry, it’s packed away right now.” That breaks my heart! And let me tell you, both of my girls got several books for Christmas this year!!! I’m regretting my decision to pack away so many books and I’m quickly adding to their libraries!
Looking back, it makes me wonder how I decided what books to pack and what books to move with us. I think I picked the ones my 3-year-old was most interested in at the time of our move. But mostly, I think I just blindly put a few in our suitcase and packed away the rest, because everything happened so fast, there wasn’t time to overthink too much! My biggest regret is packing away my favorite bedtime story – Too Many Tomatoes. I can’t believe I did that! I’m contemplating purchasing a second copy just so I can read it to my girls again. The thought of going a few more months without reading that makes me sad. At least this way, they could each have their own copy, right?!?!
Now, keeping fewer than 30 books is not going to happen in my house. Not even close! If you have kids in the house, especially, I don’t know how this is even remotely possible. Then, when you add in kids in different age ranges, the number of books just starts climbing!! When they are babies, like my 1-year-old, you need black and white books, board books, crunchy books (I’m not really sure what these are called –they are soft, fabric like, and make a crunchy sound when you squeeze them), touch-feely books, and first word books. Then once your babies turn into toddlers, you need lift-the flap books, more advanced word books, first things to spot type books, question/answer books, sticker books, and activity books (like Magic Painting – my 3-year-old LOVES these). Once toddlers turn into preschoolers, then you need all the beginning phonics books and wipe-clean books to practice their writing. And you have to have lots of these phonics books, because it doesn’t take them long to memorize one book, so there needs to be a variety, so they can actually learn to read, not just memorize a few stories. Once kids are in school, then the list just gets bigger and bigger. You need more advanced wipe-cleans (like learning cursive or times tables), activity books (like This is Not a Math Book), Encyclopedias (the fun ones, not the ones you remember seeing at your grandparents house), informative books that interest them (like mammals or space), and Fictional Chapter books. Plus, for all ages, you need good story books for bedtime. And this is just for the kids! Adults need books too!! Do you think Marie Knodo is including cookbooks in her count of 30 books or fewer? Because I have way more than 30 cookbooks 🙂 I hope no one ever asks me to count how many books are actually in my house!
Back to Marie Kondo’s quote, “Ideally, keep fewer than 30 books”. I wonder how she settled on the number 30? Why 30? And if I had to pick only the ones that sparked joy, as she suggests, how many would be on my list? I’m not sure. Definitely more than 30! With my kids’ books (back when we had our own house anyway), I did keep only a few books in their rooms and in their playroom. My thinking was, the more books there are, the more that will end up on the floor, and the more I have to pick up each night. So, I would only keep about 15 in each girls’ room, and about 20 in our playroom. The rest were hidden in a tote in the garage. Every week or two, I would rotate the books, so it was like Christmas morning all over again. This kept the books feeling like new to them. Plus, I had less to pick up off the floor each night. I could never get rid of them permanently though. After a week or two of reading the same 20 or so books, my girls (my 3-year-old anyway) were ready for a new batch of books. They got bored reading the same ones over and over. Unless it was the current favorite, then it had to stay in the rotation!
If you had to move, and could only take a small number of books with you, which ones would make the cut? How many would you take? Could you keep just 30 books, or fewer, in your house forever? Would knowing it was temporary make it easier? Share your thoughts in the comments below!