105 Ways to Give a Book

Marginally Book-Related

Today I spent all afternoon packing up the winter clothes and bringing out the summer clothes for my two girls. Hours I spent on this simple sounding task. There are three reasons it took so long.
  1. My girls have a lot of clothes.

  2. I get very obsessive/compulsive about this chore, making sure everything fits, looks good, is folded nicely, put away in the right place, and is in good condition.

  3. My girls have a frickin' lot of clothes.
It was unbelievable how many clothes there were. Now, we do get clothes for my ten-year-old from an older neighbor, plus we buy some, plus she is reluctant to give up clothes unless they really, really don’t fit, so that will fill three drawers and a closet. My eight-year-old old gets all the hand-me-downs from her older sister, plus all the cute things I can’t resist at Target or Kohl’s, plus she is reluctant to give up clothes unless they really, really don’t fit, so that fills up her two drawers and a closet. Oh, and did I mention how one grandma likes to find them quality stuff at thrift stores? So many clothes.

I can only say in my defense that I don’t buy expensive stuff, and we hand down all of the eight-year-old’s clothes to the six-year-old neighbor. Actually, there is usually so much by that time, that I give about half to the neighbor, a quarter to a younger niece, and a quarter right to Goodwill. After the six-year-old neighbor is done with them, that family gives them to a friend.

I will say, with all these clothes, I only have to do laundry half as often as normal people. I mean, there’s always something to wear. But, man, so many clothes.

I am having a similar problem with books. There are books everywhere. Books for the tween. Books for the kid. Books for me. Books to review. And I can’t get rid of any of them. I keep bringing more in, but nothing is going out.

Like the clothes, the girls are reluctant to give up books unless they really, really don’t fit them anymore. For clothes, I can draw the line at shirts that show their belly buttons or shorts that they can’t button. But can I convince them — should I convince them — that these picture books don’t fit them anymore and can be given to someone else? I don’t know. It’s hard for me too, because I remember reading these books to them, snuggled together on the couch.

Does anyone have a solution for prying old books/clothes/toys out of their children’s shelves/drawers/closets and hands?

On a completely unrelated note, have I mentioned how much I enjoy 7 Imp’s 7 Kicks? On Sunday, the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast asks us bloggers to list seven kick-ass things that happened to us that week. You don’t have to list seven specifically, but I like making sure I come up with seven each week — even if I have to stretch it to include free pens from Staples or an extra hour of sleep. This week was an easy one, as I announced the 48 Hour Book Challenge, got a lot of participants (and taking more...), and some cool prizes (including one “stoked” from Roger Sutton). I also am gearing up for the 48 Hour Film Project, during which teams write, film, edit, and score an eight-minute (or less) film over one weekend. We’ve signed as our writer the wonderful author and blogger Robin Brande! I also had a great dinner with a friend, a toy that was sadly lost was found again, and my girls got great haircuts.

So many good things were happening, in fact, that I was beginning to get a bit worried. That’s not usually how things go for me. Imagine my relief when I found that I could have made an easy hundred bucks in a two-hour marketing research appointment, but it was the same time as my daughter’s drama club play. Turning down a hundred-dollar assignment to watch an elementary school play. Now that’s more like it. Equilibrium safely restored.


Little Willow said...

Aw, I hope her play went well!

Kori said...

We're up to our ears in girl clothes, and EJ isn't even 2 yet, so I have no solution for you there.

As for the books, my hubby is a book hoarder/keeper/saver, and it started to get out of control. The only thing that worked was this---he went through his books, trying to find ones that could be hard to find again/out-of-print/particularly loved/particularly useful. This took a long time and a bit of internet research. Once he had a large pile of books that he could part with, it still was hard. I just let him know that out there in the world were other people who loved books just like he loved books, and that if he could relinquish these books to them, more good books would be free to come his way. Ying and yang, ebb and flow, etc.

I know, silly.

But it worked. :)

Dawn said...

We've given some books to my 1st grader's teacher, since she was new and had very few early readers for the kids to choose from. Knowing she'd see them in her classroom helped my daughter part with some. We've also sold to Half Price Books, with the money going toward...more books. We also took a tip from some friends who have their kids clean out toy boxes and shelves every Christmas and donate to someplace like Goodwill. It makes room for the new things they'll be getting and it helps out kids who don't have as much as we do. There are still tears and some very reluctant partings, but they end up feeling good about helping out someone else. Then we have another friend who has been known to go into his kids' rooms when they're at school and load up garbage bags full of stuff they don't play with, then cart it off. They never miss it.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

One year my resolution was to give away something every single week. It was hard but it got us all in the habit. It became a game - looking for a can of soup or out-grown something to unload somewhere. You could even get competitive about it!

I joined Bookcrossing.com and that was fun. You leave FREE! books in likely spots for someone to find. You register the book on the site first and when it gets found the next person writes in the book's journal so you can track it. Your kids might get into that...

I love the thought of all those kid's clothes being passed on from siblings and neighbors and friends. My boys inherited most of their clothes and passed them on too - it makes me feel the universe is full of goodness. There is enough for everyone if we don't hold on to each little piece too long.

I found that if I was in the habit of constantly trying to lighten my load the kids picked it up and started being less obsessed with things too.

Anonymous said...

When our only child turned 6, hubby started bugging me about all the board books and baby books we still had. So I had another baby! Ha ha. Well, I did have another kid, but it wasn't so I/we could keep the books. ;)

Robin Brande said...

I know everyone else is talking about the clothes part of this post, but Mother Reader, I am really, really, REALLY excited about our film project.