A Quick Fix for Well-Loved and Well-Worn Books – 31 Days of Organizing Homeschool Stuff Finale – Simply Convivial

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Organizing Homeschool Stuff

This month I’m sharing ways I organize the stuff that tends to overflow the homeschooling household. It might not be as pretty as most of the “solutions” you’ll find on Pinterest, but it’s practical and real. Being organized means being prepared and giving your stuff a home; it doesn’t always have to be coordinated and labeled with chalkboard-styled printables.

A Quick & Easy Fix for Worn and Torn Books

containing homeschool clutter

We have a lot of books at our house. I did pass up the 1,000 mark last year. I love my books, and I’m not the only one in the house who does, much to my delight.

However, a lot of book love can leave the books looking rather sad and perhaps even render them useless. And, there is no myth for books about being so well loved that they become real, unfortunately. They simply end up as compostable waste.

I’ve spent time pondering and searching and talking about “book binder’s tape” or contact paper covering (my dad was religious in in application of contact paper to all paperbacks that entered the house). But I don’t have the eye or hand or stamina for non-bubbly, straight, crisp application of contact paper. Not to mention the fact that it simply wouldn’t happen in real life.

containing homeschool clutter

No, I needed something faster and simpler and more manageable. After all, my stack of books-needing-repairs was getting quite high, and there were more that really should have been in it.

I don’t remember for sure when or how I connected the dots, but it might have been in the tape aisle of WalMart. I was buying packing tape refills and I remembered to scour the display for a mythical product I had heard tell of called “book binder’s tape” that, supposedly, libraries use. There was no such thing there. However, as I frowned and just grabbed the packing tape refill, I realized, “Well, wouldn’t packing tape do?” Actually, I was sure it would definitely be good enough for me. It would get the job done, and that was better than my – and my books’ – current state.

So, I grabbed a small dispenser especially for the purpose. It now lives in my teacher bag.

organizing homeschool stufforganizing homeschool stuff

organizing homeschool stuff

So, I apply a length of heavy-duty packing tape around the binding edge of the children’s books to reinforce them and to fix any tears and wearing away. Most of the books I get them are used and start out already worn. This keeps them in action much longer and stronger. Doing the same thing with a little more care and a strip on the inside of the cover can also replace a torn or worn off cover.

organizing homeschool stuff

organizing homeschool stuff

My current simple book organizing method is to keep a basket for picture books, the books I have selected to be read for the school year (plus things like Childcraft, anthologies of fairy tales, our Eyewitness collection, and others) are on the lower shelves of the living room (where they are more likely to be seen and grabbed), and the boys’ free-reading, entertaining chapter books (sh, the biographies are included with those) are on the bookshelf in their room. To keep things manageable and some of the content fresh(er), I decided to split the history(ish) (excluding some of our biography collections) books into our three stages (Ancient, Medieval, Modern), and box up the year we’re not currently “in.”

organizing homeschool stuff

To help keep those books I had decided counted as books to rotate, I put a cheap Avery sticker on their spines: yellow for ancient, orange for medieval, and green for modern.


Except that they come off during the aforementioned well-loving.

However, a strip of packing tape over the edges reinforces the cover and spine and also keeps the label on.

So, I have to be careful to get the sticker at a consistent height, so my own bookshelf doesn’t drive me insane.

P.S. NO. I do not malign vintage hardbacks with fluorescent stickers. Set your mind at ease.

organizing homeschool stuff

Packing tape for book repair is my best homeschool fix-it solution I have to share! I hope it revolutionizes your book collection as it did mine.

And now I’m kinda hoping everyone else didn’t already know and do this, but I had to make it hard and reinvent common sense to get my answer. But, even so: packing tape. It is now my best friend.

Digital Home Organizer and Planner

Also, check out my eBook Paperless Home Organization, which lays out step-by-step instructions for creating a home management organizer & planner digitally. Make that smartphone, tablet, or iPod touch a useful tool of your trade!

During the month of October, you can use the discount code organizing for $1.50 off the $3.99 retail price (pdf only).

Moms have a lot of details to keep track of. Here’s how to make your technology work for you, using only your mail program and 2 free apps.

5 Responses

  1. Emily
    | Reply

    We ordered some bookbinding tape from Amazon. It’s very similar to packing tape – perhaps slightly thicker and a little easier to reposition if you put it in the wrong place. But, its pricier, too, so I only use it on hardcovers that I really care about. Packing tape is great the rest of the time! :). (I’ve enjoyed your 31 days seriesm BTW)

  2. Beth@Weavings
    | Reply

    Love it! This is exactly what I do to our books. I have a packing tape gun that I absolutely could not live without!!

  3. Lisa
    | Reply

    We do this too. I also do it right away to new paperbacks that I know we will love and they really last well.

  4. Brandy @ Afterthoughts
    | Reply

    I was worried about your hardcovers for a moment there. Thanks for easing my mind. ;)

    I’ve been using packing tape, too! Great minds, you know…

    I think I need to break down and actually buy some book binders tape. I have a 100+ year old copy of David Livingstone’s Missionary Travels that we are using for school and there are a couple places that need some help, and packing tape on an antique makes me cringe…

  5. Sheila
    | Reply

    I’m a former librarian, and I used to work in an archives. Guess what? I use packing tape on my own books, at home. Real book binding tape is essential if it’s an item that you want to last for decades without yellowing or ruining the book. My own books are not heirloom-quality and packing tape is quicker, easier, and significantly less expensive.

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