There are two kinds of mothers, I've come to discover. One is on an endless decluttering mission, likely to end very soon with throwing her husband out as well amidst the mess. The other is a hoarder. Yes, I'm speaking to you in the back, the one with ten scraps of paper of your daughter's first scribbles.
I never appreciated how fast clutter multiplies until I got married. Packing my stuff from my childhood home was a month-long task. Add a child and this clutter quadruples. Add books and oh my, you've got your work cut out for you.
Now, if anyone suggests you throw your books out under the claim of cleaning up I would recommend you seriously consider that person's importance in your life. What I am suggesting though are some solutions that help both hoarders and declutter-ers alike!
- Book Rotation
Similar concept to toy rotation, I would recommend you keep only a small selection on display for your child and change this selection routinely. This keeps them interested in their books and keeps your mind at ease that some are stored out of sight.
Hoarder status: approved
Cleaning maniac status: approved
- Book Swap
I have come across an excellent initiative run by bookworm-mums that involves a monthly meet up during which each member brings books they no longer need or ones they are interested to exchange. These books count as "credit" with which they can borrow other books brought by another member - and so the cycle goes.
You can follow their Instagram page for details about the next book swap (@bookswap_newcairo)
Hoarder status: Approved (you can lend the book only)
Cleaning maniac status: Approved (you can donate the book)
Double the benefits of books by using them to teach your child about charity. Visit an orphanage and donate the books together, drop them off at a local nursery or pass them on to younger family members.
For an excellent nursery choice, I would recommend Massabih, an NGO in the underprivileged area of Kilo 4.5 that accepts all children including ones of different abilities or learning difficulties. Follow their Instagram page for more info (@massabih_ngo).
Hoarder status: erm, maybe just a visit or monetary donation will be fine
Cleaning maniac status: Approved
- Bring back the old pen pal
Let's think outside the box (or go back into it?) and bring back an old activity – pen pals! Create a group of interested children who can exchange books and letters together monthly. They can mail a book to each other along with a descriptive letter about the book, a book review, a painting inspired by the book – let their creative minds decide!
- Priority management
There comes a point in life when you must reassess your priorities and determine what you have the physical and mental capacity to handle. We should not judge each other and instead encourage each person to do what brings them peace. So if you decide you would rather store books in every nook and cranny you may find, I can recommend spaces usually missed; oven, fridge, washing machine, tub and under the dining room table.
Hoarder status: Approved
Cleaning maniac status: call 911
Whatever you choose to do with your books, the most important part is to just treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve :) And let us know if you have any other ideas in the comment section below!