Simple Systems: Library Routine

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I’ve had times with a library system and times without. Guess what? The times I don’t follow my library routine are the times I rack up the fines. A system can prevent accumulating small debts in library fines – if you follow them.

October is the month for Nester’s 31 Days series! I always love participating. It’s a lot of fun to write an extended series like this with lots of small pieces all strung together in a short amount of time. This year’s series is Simple Systems: 31 Small Ways to Reduce Decision Fatigue.

Finding many small changes you can make to simplify average days at home will add up to significantly more calmness and drastically less stress. I think you’ll be surprised if you also try making similar little tweaks that reduce the load of decision making in the day to day.

Simple Home System: Creating a Library Routine


Are you losing library books or forgetting due dates? Creating a simply library routine can keep this aspect of life in line. No more fees!


A library routine ensures you borrow and return books on time.

It’s strange, but true: The year I had the fewest fines – I think I even managed to keep it right about a dollar for the whole year – was the time I lived 20 minutes away from the library. When I moved to only half a mile from the library, my fines soared.

You know why? It was no longer in the routine of our weeks. It felt like something that didn’t have to be a priority of the errand-planning, because I could easily return books “any time.” When the library was a twenty-minute drive, I made sure to work it into the weekly routine at the time we would be nearby, because I didn’t want to make an extra emergency trip.

How to Make a Library Routine

A library day every week

You might go more than once per week, but you need to make going a regular event in the weekly routine if you want to avoid fines. It needs to be something you don’t debate or decide about, but simply do.

A library book place in your home

Create one home for library books to go.

A library-book check at least once a week

Every Monday, “Check library account” pops up on my Remember the Milk task list. This is my reminder to log into my account, see what we have out, see when things are due, and make sure the books listed under my account are actually on the library shelf in our house. If I can notice several days before the planned library trip that a book is missing, then I can calmly tell whoever was reading that book that they have to find it and return it to the shelf before they can play with friends or on the computer instead of going crazy half an hour before needing to leave the house.

After all, really, organization is just about being prepared.

How do you keep track of your library books?

Simple Systems

Index: “Simple Home Systems
First: “What Is a System?” & “What Is Simple?
Previous: “Organizing reusable grocery bags
Next: A system for dinner vegetables


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