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the book experiment: results

September 20, 2011

fewer is better

Yesterday when I was witing about the book experiment (hiding all Lukie’s books except for five or six) I was thinking. “I know he’s going to ask for that spiders book, or that monkeys book, etc. This is not really going to work. He’ll see the empty shelf and wonder where everything went.”

I was totally wrong. In fact, the first thing he says when he wakes up and sees his new shelf is, “I have been looking for this book.” and he takes one off the shelf and begins reading it on the couch the entire time I make breakfast. Really? It is the same story, literally, all day. We read three different books, over and over again, the entire day. He doesn’t even look at the rest of the 7 or 8 others. I actually have left about 10 out since I was sure 5 or 6 was not enough. To be fair, three are more reference type book (like his favorite yoga pose book) and not stories and a couple are library books that are going back soon. Five or six would have been enough.

I realize I had been attributing my love of seeing all of my books all the time to him. For a three year old, it’s just too overwhelming. It may be for some adults too, I suppose. I don’t play blocks with my books when there are a lot of them, or read the same one over and over again (although I have been known to see a certain Woody Allen movie over and over again…) and he does do these things, so it makes sense that it is easier to focus when there is less to focus on. He is in a much calmer mood today. The home is calmer and more organized, he is playing with things he hasn’t touched in a while, maybe because he can see them more easily. It was a real success. I highly recommend, take away the books! (And don’t forget to rotate them out of the secret stash every week or so.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Deborah permalink
    September 20, 2011 9:55 pm

    Hey there! Back from a four-day camping trip to the East Side of the Sierra! Lovely! Simplicity!
    Absolutely inspired by your post which I read upon our return. I haven’t read it put so nicely; I guess for me, the idea of cycling books around rather than get rid of most of them altogether seems gentler (on me!). But come to think of it, we had three books along for each of the kids, and that was plenty.
    So I’ll be sorting books tomorrow, leaving just a few on the shelf! And trying to figure out where to store all the others!
    Thanks! Deb

  2. karen hess permalink*
    September 21, 2011 7:13 am

    Thank you Deb! What a camping trip that must have been! You make a good point; I hadn’t thought of how there is less when you travel and it’s fine or maybe I would have done this long ago. Have fun with the simplifying!

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