Encouraging a love of reading in your child is one of the most valuable things you can do as a parent. Not all children will love reading, however many beautiful books you expose to them or however often you read to them at bedtime, but making books a natural part of your home and reading to your children
will put them streets ahead of children who don’t have that same advantage.
Whilst having lots of children’s books in your home is wonderfully important, they can be very difficult to keep tidy! When considering children’s book organisation ideas, keep in mind that any kind of children’s book storage should be:
- easy to keep tidy, and
- easy for your child to access.
Bearing in mind the advice that books should be seen in your home as very much a normal part of daily life, we’ve found these children’s book storage ideas that will keep your children’s books tidy whilst keeping them enticingly displayed.
Children’s book storage ideas for young children
Books aimed at young children are usually large, brightly coloured picture books. They tend to be fairly thin and very few are hardbacks, so they’re prone to slipping off shelves or ‘disappearing’ when they fall flat. Young children need to be able to see them so that they can reach for them or ask for them - the covers need to be facing forwards, rather than stacked against each other vertically and sideways.
Book storage for young children needs to be at a level where they can access them - wall shelving above a height they can reach isn’t much use, so aim for storage options that will fit on or close to floor level.
Here are some great ways to store young children’s books so that they’re tidy yet visible and accessible.
1. Children’s book baskets or crates
You can spend as much or as little as you like on this option. There are several crates/boxes on short legs, specifically designed to keep children’s books tidy, but you could also buy simple crates and either store them on the floor or attach them to your walls (keeping them low enough for your children to see inside). The benefit to this type of storage is that it’s very easy for your children to learn how to put their books away after use.
Whichever option you choose, store the books facing forwards and teach your child to pull them forwards at the tops to look through them all.
2. Slim bookcases
Standard bookcases aren’t ideal for storing children’s picturebooks, because if stored facing outwards they’ll slip off, and if stored facing sideways your child won’t be able to differentiate between them.
Slim bookcases can be used to keep children’s books tidy yet visible. Some come with ‘lips’ or bars on the shelves to stop books from slipping off - or you could attach a length of elastic along the front of each shelf (using a staple gun or hooks and eye fastenings) to keep the books in place. Choosing the latter option would allow you to adapt the bookcase to one suitable for an older child if you decide to do so later, simply by removing the elastic.
3. Repurpose a storage trolley
Storage trolleys are usually used in bathrooms or kitchens, but they’re great for children’s book storage, too. They’re best for smaller books - A5 or smaller - or they might topple out over the top of each basket. They ought to be kept in the living room rather than anywhere your child might be unsupervised, because these are fairly tall and on wheels so could fall, but they will remain useful even after your child no longer needs them for their picture books.
Children’s book storage ideas for older children
Older children’s books are usually still illustrated, but older children are better at identifying books from their spines and are more willing to hunt through books to find one they like. The books are less flimsy so will stay in position more easily, and can be stored sideways and take up less room.
4. Repurpose spice racks
Unlike floating shelves, which are open at both ends (making books falling off the edges highly likely!), spice racks are an ideal option for storing children’s books on walls. These can be placed close to the ground so that your young child can see them easily - and moved up the wall as your child grows.
5. Cube book storage
This option is another one that can grow with your child. The IKEA Kallax range, for example, offers cube book storage that you can lay horizontally on the floor (good for younger children) or vertically against a wall. Each cube will hold books up to the size of annuals, and you can buy boxes, shelves or drawer inserts if you want to use them for more than book storage.
They come in a range of sizes, from 2 cubes to 25 cubes, so they’ll fit pretty much any size of bedroom.
6. Underbed storage
If your child has a divan bed base with drawers, make use of the drawer space by storing books with their spines facing upwards. Your child can easily pull open their drawers and choose what they want to read next.
7. Magazine storage boxes for comics or annuals
Magazine holders are a great way of helping your child keep their books, comics and annuals tidy. They can store them on their desks for ease of access, or on top of their chest of drawers or main bookcase.
8. Headboard children’s book storage
This is a great children’s book organization idea, because it takes up very little room and looks fantastic. Instead of buying a normal, padded headboard for your child’s bed, find a headboard with book storage instead. Your child will be able to easily reach their favourite books at bedtime and put them away without getting out of bed.
We hope you’ve been inspired by these ideas to get creative with your children’s book storage. As your children grow out of their favourite books, you might want to keep them - either for future or younger children to use, or simply because they remind you of your child’s early months and years. Your child might enjoy looking at their old books when they’re older, and may remember reading them with you. If you decide to keep them, you could rent a small locker at a self storage facility
so that they don’t take up valuable space at home.
In terms of general tips, some children quickly grasp that books can be a source of entertainment, comfort, or information - if your child doesn’t seem interested in reading stories, introduce them to nonfiction books instead. Store books in groups according to subject or series (the Horrible Histories series together, for instance, or the Harry Potter books together) so that your child can see at a glance what they’re looking for. Above all, let your child see you reading or being interested in books so that hopefully they’ll be encouraged to imitate you!