Day 4: Books & Media

The 7-Day Toy Cure

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• Books • Media (CDs, DVDs, etc.)

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First, a quick check in: a few more readers uploaded a photo of their Outbox to the 7-Day Toy Cure Flickr page - thanks! Kmber (left) has an impressive toy-filled Outbox area (I hope that's not your front door; email if you need rescuing!) and, likewise, Dalila797 has filled four bags plus a little overflow. Great work!

Assignment #4

Today we're moving on to books and media. For good reason, we have positive associations with books and especially children's books. This can make it hard to think about paring down your child's book collection. I used to work in a public library and deaccessioned (a fancy word for "weeded") books constantly. The goal was to keep the collection fresh and current and also to leave enough room on the shelves to make it easy for patrons to browse and put books back easily. Our mandate was to keep 25% of each shelf empty. This is a worthy goal for the home, too.

Maxwell wrote about book clutter in Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure and he suggests leaving 10% of your shelves empty. See what works for you.

Books should not fill the shelves to bursting; a good rule of thumb is to leave at least 10 percent as open space. Books should sit neatly upright on the shelf, positioned about one inch back from the front of the shelf. Many people try to maximize shelf space by storing books behind books. This never looks good, and you'll never find what you are looking for. It is better to keep everything in sight and organized.

Remember, just because a book is going in the Outbox doesn't necessarily mean it's going out the door. What you're looking for:

• Needs cleaning or repair
• Multiples
• Too young (your child has outgrown it)
• Too old (it's good to have books that are a little bit too difficult for your child but if it's going to be years before they're ready, put it in the Outbox)
• Not favorites
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How did I end up with three copies of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel??

Books are probably the biggest type of kids media in your home, but now is the time to also look at cds, dvds or discs that belong to players like Xbox or Playstation. I could find almost none of these items in my house (belonging to my child - my husband's collection is another story), not due to any clutter diligence on my part, but because the vast majority of our electronic media is digitized. The few dvds and cds I did find I put in the Outbox and will decide what to do with later. Use the same criteria above for books as for other media.

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Use the comments to chat with each other and ask questions! Good luck and see you tomorrow!

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As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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