You know those graphic tees that have retro band logos, or hip animals wearing sunglasses, or something else like that on them? I saw someone at the grocery store wearing one the other day, and she looked great.
I was a little jealous because I don’t really wear them – with my baby face and lack of makeup skills, I end up looking like a high school student. But that’s not the point.
The point was the saying on the t-shirt. It said, “There’s no such thing as too many books.”
The font was that perfect mix of alternating between block text and calligraphy. It was so cute. She looked great.
Unfortunately, that statement, that “there’s no such thing as too many books,” is completely wrong.
I love books. Like, I LOVE books. But there is definitely a limit to the number of books you should have in your home.
If I’m not vigilant, the world is going to ingrain in my preschooler the lie that there is no such thing as “enough.” That’s just wrong, and if my son believes that it will lead to pain. If not pain in the near future, than in many years when his wife and children suffer because I didn’t train him to be satisfied with enough.
I love his future family too much to let that go unchecked. But teaching a young child that they truly have enough of anything is an uphill battle.
4 ways to teach your children about “enough” with your book collection:
1. Lead by example
Be honest. Are you really going to read that six years old beach-read again? Really? Like, really really?
Because, I think if you took a good hard look at your bookshelves you could find some that are ready for a new home. I recently donated a few that have been collecting dust since I first read them and they “like, totally changed my life” in my college days.
Or maybe you don’t have too many books, but you probably have too many of something. (I’m looking at you, massive stack of DVDs under our TV. I’m coming for you.) Mindfully getting rid of anything is the perfect opportunity to explain to your kids that you had more than enough.
2. Be vigilant about “1 in 1 out”
Once you have gotten your book collection down to a manageable level, implement the old tried-and-true plan of one-in-one-out. Every time a new book comes into the house, an old one needs to leave the house. Or, perhaps if it’s a special book, it doesn’t need to leave the house, but it needs to be put into storage in the book tote you are saving in the attic for your grandkids.
One-in-one-out is a great way to maintain a book level your home can handle. There’s a reason it’s the go-to way to keep stuff in check!
Also, this can help curb impulse buying. Do you want the book currently in your cart at Target SO MUCH that you would part with one of the ones already on your shelves? No? Then you should hand it to that nice person in red stocking the shelf.
Just look for a name tag first…apparently there are people who go to Target wearing red shirts and they don’t work there. I found that out the hard way, and no, I don’t want to talk about it.
3. Find a place to give your books
I have found it is a lot easier to get rid of my stuff when I know they are going to someone who would enjoy them. If it was one you enjoyed but know you’ll never reach for again, pass it on to someone in your life who could enjoy it.
If you don’t have anyone specific in mind, there are lots of organizations that would happily use your old books. Our library takes anything (and I mean ANYTHING) for their book sale every year. And the senior food pantry near us takes old and damaged books and recycles them for money to buy fresh produce.
It will be easier to watch the books leave your shelves if you know it is for a good cause. It once brought you joy, now send it on to bring someone else joy!
4. Read books about people who have less than you do
So, this tip isn’t about curbing your own book collection. But it’s still worth saying. One of the best ways I know of to curb my desire for more is to witness people being happy with so much less.
Your kids need to know how incredibly blessed they are. They need to know that some people have more than them, but some people have much less. A great way to do this is to read books to your children about people who make do with a different amount of stuff.
Y’all, I hear it now, the cries that some crazy blogger wants everyone to throw away their books and read nothing but the latest O Magazine that they pulled out of their neighbor’s recycling bin. I have been on the internet long enough to know that that comment is coming to my inbox.
Of course I don’t want you to get rid of all of your books. I want your children to grow up surrounded by books. I am here for giant book baskets, and excessive library hauls, and special holiday books. We have all of that, and I’m not giving any of that up.
I’m just saying that there is a limit to the number of anything you should have in your home, and that includes books. Lets love our kids so much that we teach them about “enough.”