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Friday, March 4, 2011

More Proof that I? Am Anal

With all of these children's books floating around my house, you'd think we have to wade through them to walk from room to room. Alas, that is not the case. Until very recently, I stored almost all of the picture books in my teaching bins out in our garage. And by teaching bins, I mean the 20 gallon Sterilite bins y'all constantly walk past in Target. But it was getting kinda annoying to dig them out constantly, especially since The Infamous Mouse decided to take up residence in one of said bins this past fall.

Yeah.

Those books went to the landfill.

So, in my infinite wisdom and with all analness, I devised a new system, sure to make even the most laid-back of individuals roll their eyes. I still keep my holiday books in labeled bins, but they are now resting inside the tiny storage containers most people keep in their closets. All of the other children's books, both picture and non-fiction, I now keep on a bookshelf in the basement. My husband about died of a heart attack when I finally completed my project.

I swear I didn't know how many books hid in the corners of our house and the depths of my storage bins until two weeks ago.

(It's so embarrassing.)

Hello. My name is Tonggu Momma and I am addicted to purchasing children's books.


I counted one shelf and then basically multiplied by four. Because that gap you see on the bottom shelf? Disappeared. My addiction swallowed it up. In all fairness, my momma Tonggu Grammy, a teacher for 30 years herself, also gifted me with a large portion of her collection. (Believe me, I come by this addiction honestly.) But I multiplied by four and came up with over 600 books.

Six Hundred Books, y'all.

(This doesn't include the baby board and chapter book collections.)

My anal self started having heart palpitations at the thought. Because how was I ever gonna find the book I was looking for among that Vast Blob Of Literary Goodness? And with mei mei coming home soon, would I even be able to take the time to wade through my teaching bins to find a book the Tongginator needed for school? My sensory self couldn't take it. I had to ORGANIZE. So instead of working on some much-needed child-proofing projects, I created the Tonggu House Dewey Decimal System.

Yes, you read correctly.

I am hanging my head in shame.

But it WORKS. I can find a book in seconds. And every Sunday night, I take the Tongginator downstairs to the bookshelf so that, with a bit of help, she can collect 20 or so books for the week. We bring them upstairs and place them on the bookshelf in her room or in the book basket in the family room. The Tongginator can peruse throughout the week, as well as her beginning chapter books. And if she wants to find a different book Monday through Saturday, she is more than welcome to head downstairs to her playroom to search through The Shelf. I hung a chart on the side of the bookshelf sharing the numbers and topics.


See? I told you. ANAL.

(click to see a larger image, and yes, I know I took liberties
with the Dewey Decimal System in spots ... somehow I think Mr.
Dewey will forgive me, although a few librarians might not)


Really, REALLY anal.

Please tell me one of your Most Anal and Shocking home organization secrets. It will probably help me feel better. Or at least not all alone.

47 comments:

Aunt LoLo said...

BAHAHAHAHA. Oh. My. Goodness. I don't think you're Anal...I think you're ORGANIZED. And, quite possibly, nesting. ;-)

Good on you, though!

Cedar said...

I'm not sure I understand. What part of this is anal? It seems completely logical to me. I don't label my books, but only because I'm too lazy, but all of our books are organized by subject, author, and title. Having a "library shelf" where the kids go check out books for the week--well, that is just brilliant! I don't think we have 600 children's books, but the kids two books shelves do take up a lot of space in their rooms and never remain in the order I put them. That doesn't include the chapter books we are now starting to collect. Seriously, I am truly envious.

3cmum said...

I think Aunt LoLo has it..Nesting.

I have several hundred children's books. Hmm..kind of like your system. But mine now go from baby to almost adult (with a voracious nearly 10 year with a reading level of a teen...

Yours hopefully thriving said...

Am very jealous of your organising skills (def nesting) and not at all concerned about the number you have - since my personal (no kids yet) library from baby books to adult is probably somewhere in the region of eight THOUSAND! and about three quarters of that is children's literature!

I had mine beautifully organised alphabetically by author/title with groupings for the different age ranges but then fell down on my maintaining and then got married and well he had a good library too and now they are chaos!

This wonderful system is officially on my to do list now!

Grainne

Myrnie said...

I think I love this...and Ernie just possibly could find a muse in you :)

After seeing too many people organize their books by color because it "looks cool" this is wonderful!

Jenny said...

You put my paltry 2 shelf kids book shelf to shame. TO. SHAME.

Joan said...

I love this! Both of my girls have book shelves in their rooms but they are always questioning who's is who's. I see us using your system in the near future and love the idea of "checking" out books for the week.

As far as my anal tendancies - At one time I had a computer list of books I had read so that when I went to the library or store I didn't get the same one again.

Sharie said...

Oh my goodness! We have a lot of books and at the school book fair on Monday I joked with the librarian that I need to have someone come build built in bookshelves. Our collection is paltry compared to this. I do have to say that we have been donating books as Amelia outgrows them. You might be anal - but I am a chronic purger. It kills me when I try to shed our home of outgrown toys and the child doesn't agree with my decisions. I used to be anal - then I became a mom - now I just can't stand how unorganized we are.

Elouise82 said...

I am so, so jealous. 600 children's books? That sounds like heaven.

I think my husband's dream is to someday have a 10,000 book library in our house. We're doing our best to reach that goal already. Occasionally I offer a feeble remonstrance, such as, "This all is going to be so difficult to move next year" ... but then I find a book that I really, really want, and my protests go out the window.

Organizing our books is the best part about every move we've ever made - we make ourselves get at least the beds made and the kitchen usable, and then we dive into our books. Once our littles proceed beyond board books, I definitely think I'll have to use some for of the Dewey Decimal System - we're already stockpiling for them!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh my....could you haul your anal sensory cute self over to my house!!!!!

I am so jealous of all of your books. I miss books for my girls the most. There is no library here, well....there might be but not an English library:) And we can't buy English books here. When we go home for Elisabeth's wedding in December I am taking extra suitcases....for books:)

Great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Source said...

Ha ha ha ha! I get requests to please donate all our children's books to the school since we don't have anymore small ones around here. But I can't bring myself to part with any because what if I have grandbabies one day?? What will I read to them if all my books are at the school?? So, currently our bookshelves are mostly stacked double-depth and double-height with everything from toddler books to textbooks to the Eragon series to Emma.

autumnesf said...

Well. I'm just confused as to why you would see this as unusual or anal.

Shonda said...

I am at work right now, but all I can think is "I want to go home right now and oranize my kid's books." But I know it would lead to nothing but frustration because my husband would ridicule me and conspire with all the kids to bring my system to ruins.

So I will stay at work and dream ...

Jealously yours, Shonda

jennifer said...

OMword!! I don't even have a story to share after that one!! I'm insanely jealous of your organized books though! I'm the most unorganized person in the world!!

Football and Fried Rice said...

wow, i do not even think i have a secret to share that could compare to this this :) wink!

i am sure that i have over 600 childrens books as well - most bought/accrued when i only had one kiddo (= more bucks for books) but now, BOOK FAIR gets me :) Maybe if I organized them, my kids would read them??

I do have a pretty awesome storage room - complete with shelves and labeled bins. But alas, I could not show it to anyone right now. embarrassing!

lmgnyc said...

I must be the only person who reads your blog who is completely and totally unorganized because that project totally looks like something that would never--ever--in a billion kajillion years ever happen in my house.

And even if I paid someone to do it, Sonia would destroy it within... hmmm, I wanna say... three seconds? Possibly two.

TM, we obviously live in parallel universes. Obviously. ;-)

sara said...

I have such a cruch on not only the library itself, but the system as well. I love it. My mom is a teacher and my grammy was a children's literary critic so books are huge in our house. I may have to steal this idea once Pie gets a little older.

And my secret...I'm shaking my head...my cleaning supplies are organized by category, then brand, then type (spray, wipes, etc) and then alphabetically. I need help.

snekcip said...

Love it! My measly two shelves of books pales in comparison. I love your organizing skills!

I'm anal when it comes to hair accessories. I have ziplock bags of "like colors" together! No more digging thru hundreds of hair barrettes/accessories every morning!

Beach Mama said...

I think it is a grand idea! I have been collecting children's books for 20 years (4 kids). You could do some of those "go to meeting" computer seminars to help us learn how to manage our children's books!

3D said...

Love it! Love the organization!

Keep smilin!

prechrswife said...

Love it!

Wanda said...

Yeah....lets go with "nesting"!
=)

Impressive.

Andrea said...

You seriously missed your calling as a librarian!

I just used Delicious Library 2 software to scan all our books (by ISBN) and create an accurate inventory. It still doesn't help me find them IN the house though.

Laurie said...

Are you for hire? We SO need this program at our house! We've got things separated by hard/soft, rectangle, golden, Bernstein Bears (yep, they get a whole book holder!), chapter books, etc. STILL, hard to find what you're looking for each time. And i have a feeling it's only going to get worse. Although I'll NEVER complain about having too many books in the house! :)

semiferalmama said...

Looked at the first picture, thought, that is nice, not anal. Looked at the second picture thought, well, I would freak out that my books had stickers on them, but it isn't that anal. Looked at the third picture and thought - wow, that IS anal. Maybe Leigh and I should actually hang out together - but we are both so unorganized we would keep losing each other's phone numbers. And, hey, if you being anal means you will keep posting fantastic book lists like the one for St. Patrick's Day then I say, keep up the good work.

Kim K. said...

As a former librarian, I'm really impressed. Honestly, I didn't know anyone else could have so many books. I don't even have a filing system at our house and I have the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems memorized.

Shonda said...

It just occured to me that I may, in fact, be more anal. Because, all I could think about since seeing your awesome system was "why in the world did she hand write the numbers on a sticker? Why in the world didn't she use a label maker?" WOW, that feels good to get that off my chest. Maybe I will take some pics and write a post to prove my place as the most anal.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was that anal.... I definitely have over 600 children's/teaching books combined and I don't have any kids yet!!!!

I've tried to roughly group them on the shelves by subject/usage/age but..... you could get paid to do this!

Kay said...

I think you are brilliant! As a former teacher myself, I can understand the totes of books. At least you are willing to share your's with your child! My kids know the totes as my "garage books". They have their own collection, too. Books are addicting! One can never have too many books...so many books, so little time! :)

Wendy said...

I am really jealous of your 600 books! I am working my way up there and when I do, I will copy your organization ideas! :o)

M3 said...

Love it, seriously LOVE! And I'm so anal that I quickly wondered if we could implement your system here. Hmmm......

Amy said...

My very big nerdy side is feuding with my very small "cool" side about the awesome factor of this. The nerd in me is totally winning, cause I love it! Awesome it is!

Beth said...

I am a school librarian and haven't done this in our house! I think you ROCK!
Beth

Heather said...

You should seriously consider being a professional home organizer and start at my house! ;-)

Mahmee said...

I believe that I may bookmark this post. The next time anyone tags me as anal (probably within the next 10 minutes or so), I can provide proof to them that you, Tonngumomma, are the Queen. There is absolutely no way that I could possibly top the anal book story. You have humbled me. Wear your tiara proudly.
M.

Elaine said...

Yeah, no. Nothing even remotely close to that in our house. Though I am wondering if you are available for house calls? We'll be moving and have to do something with the hundreds of boxes of books - kids and grown ups - in storage. I'll watch the kids, you organize my library?

Sarah said...

OH. MY. (JAW DROP.)

planetnomad said...

In my house? Nothing. NOthing even close. Girl, you are so anal! ;)

Brooke-Randolph, LMHC said...

I love it. I worked in a library in high school and have no problem with your update on Dewey. Now you just need to create a database or spreadsheet with every author, title, and call number. My only question is are you classifying fiction books based on theme also or storing them by author? I really want to do this now even tough its not yet necessary.

Wendy said...

Twenty years as a teacher and 18 years as a mom (plus the books passed down from when I was a kid). Do you know how many books I have??? I could open my own bookstore easily. However, mine are not organized nearly as thoroughly as yours. I've got some by theme, some by author, some by genre. So...if you're ever up in Connecticut, have nothing to do, and want to, I don't know...organize 1500 books, I'll send you my address.

Nice work.

The Gang's Momma! said...

That is not evidence of anal-ity... (and yes, I did just make that up.)

That is evidence of A Beautiful Mind. A tidy, organizied, logical, systematic mind. A thing of beauty, creating beauty out of its processes.

Sigh. You really do deserve that bloggy crush pedestal.

Claudia said...

yeah, I bought a labelmaker so that I could have professionally labelled frozen homemade dinners.... at all times. But that's as bad as it gets around here... mostly I have to fight going too far the OTHER way!

(Not sure if you realise, but the post that you linked to from my blog has comments disabled. So, I'm going to say here - great post! Thanks so much for linking. I find it so helpful to read about the fact that not everyone has a six week adjustment period and then perfect attachment! I know that a lot of other people are finding it helpful too - makes those of us dealing with all of this feel a lot more normal to know that we aren't the only ones!)

anymommy said...

You WIN! That is amazing and I am so jealous. From one anal crazy lady to another - awesome.

(I'm so happy for you - NEXT!! And happy birthday to the little girl that we all already love.)

aust2china said...

LOL!!! Sorry to say, I'm at the other end of the spectrum! My Tupperware cupboard is the thorn in my side - I just open the door and throw it in, then shut the door as quick as possible before it all falls out!

Mer (Lulu's Mommy) said...

ENVY

kitchu said...

so what you are telling me is i need a library card to read a book at your house :) oh i like you. cuz you crazy in a good way.

thegypsymama said...

I....have...no....words.

Literally.