Over the years as we’ve added to our book collection, we’ve also acquired new bookcases for the storage of said books. These bookcases have just been squeezed in wherever I could find space, the result being that we ended up with bookcases everywhere. Well, not exactly everywhere. Books shouldn’t go in the bathroom because the humidity would damage the books – but everywhere else. There are bookcases in the family room, and the music room, and the dining room and even a bookcase full of cookbooks in the pantry. There are bookcases in every bedroom, in the entryway, in the den, in the oversized hallway, and in the laundry room. People step into my house and remark, “Wow! Someone likes books!”
Well, recently we decided to turn the den into a guest bedroom so that when our oldest child and his new bride come to visit (yes, homeschoolers grow up, go to college, get jobs, and get married), they won’t have to sleep on the couch. Our enormous executive desk went off to college with our daughter, but if we’re going to put a bed in that room, the bookcases had to move. I wandered about the house, staring at things, pondering how I could possibly make this work.
I thought and planned. I measured bookcases and I measured walls. Since moving bookcases means that those bookcases must first be emptied, I had to find a temporary place for all those books. I made stacks. Books everywhere: on the tables, under the tables, on the floor beneath the windows… . I couldn’t just empty one bookcase, relocate it, then fill it back up, because my goal was a better organization of our entire library. I didn’t just move the books out of the den; I rearranged every book in the house.
First I gathered the books for younger kids and arranged them all together in the upstairs hallway. These are favorites everyone loves, and we enjoy reading them again and again. They’re now centrally located for easy access. Our third-grade curriculum is out on loan, so by June I’ll have to find space for another 100 books here. I think there’s space for 20, so that’s a bit of a problem. My plan is to move the baby & toddler books to our new guest room, leaving space for the others.
Next I moved the theology and Bible study books into the entryway. These used to be in our bedroom, which was highly inconvenient when someone would want to browse through them and borrow a couple. That leaves two tall and four short bookcases in our bedroom for books we’re unlikely to loan out, such as old college textbooks, high school yearbooks, books we inherited from grandparents, etc.
Next, I moved the china hutch out of the dining room into the music room to make space so that the den’s bookcases could move into the dining room (that also resulted in moving the piano that was supposed to go to college with my daughter but is somehow still here). This works so much better! The grammar and writing and spelling and learning-to-read books are all together. The foreign language books are all together. The art curricula are no longer scattered about the house based on which year it was purchased. Likewise with the science books. History is a little harder; the curricula guides are all together (except for one publisher, which is grouped together on its own shelf), while the historical literature is elsewhere. Since the bookcases aren’t as deep as the china hutch that used to be in that spot, as a bonus we have more space around the table. I am very happy with the result!
The opposite wall of the dining room has shelves for secondary-level literature and history: U.S. history with American historical literature, church history with classical literature, civics with American lit, 20th century history and lit, as well as British lit.
Books that guests might like to read while they’re visiting are now in the guest room. That just leaves the Great Books, one set of encyclopedias, and a few other books in the family room.
No longer will I have to hunt for books each summer in preparation for a new school year, and no longer will I need to rearrange shelves to make “this year’s” books accessible. And if we really do move after hubby retires, I think I want our house to have an entire room set aside as a library. It’s really nice having the books organized!