The Great Library Book Hunt of 2013


As if I needed any more motivation to get it together.

We got the notice from the school library that some books needed to be returned. This happens every year. Every. Year.

“Mom! If we don’t get those books back or pay the fine, I won’t be able to graduate 4th grade!”

We ransacked the house looking for those books. They weren’t where they should be. Actually, there is such an overabundance of stuff, a lot of things don’t have a dedicated home. And it drives me nuts.

The 4th grader found his books. The 2nd grader did not. Her solution? “It’s okay, just pay it out of my allowance.”

$20 means nothing to her. We’ve created a little monster who doesn’t understand the value of a dollar or how hard it takes to earn one. It’s disposable. She’ll just get another one.

Out of the mouths of babes, right?

And to make sure I didn’t get all self-righteous, when cleaning out my office I came across the Lowe’s Rebate Form for some paint we bought to use in one of the bathrooms. I submitted my rebate request online.

“That promotion ended 5/1.”

Translation: Congratulations, Disorganized Schmuck! You just lost $5! You’re the problem, too!


Today’s cost of our complete lack of organization: $25. And this isn’t an isolated event. It happens all the time. Lost rebates. Duplicate purchases because we can’t find things. Late fines.

There are so many issues here: too much stuff, disorganization, child and adult entitlement. It’s beyond time to get with the program. And show some respect to our money and the material goods that we have. We’re treating both like they are disposable. That ends now.

20 Responses to The Great Library Book Hunt of 2013

  1. Oh, library books are our big downfall, too. I do console myself when I’m paying a hefty fine that we’re donating to a worthy cause. Good luck as you get started with your year!

  2. Good for you! Last year I spent 3 weeks in Bolivia with my daughter(a missionary). I expected to have to share a room with people but ended up with my own room. I lived out of my suitcase with just a bed in the room. I got up at 6am, showered and we walked 1/2 mile to catch a bus. We rode the bus for about an hour, got off and walked about a mile to the orphanage. We worked all day with the kids doing chores, feeding them and teaching. Then took the bus home. Life was so simple that I came home determined to simplify here. Finding blogs like this keeps me encouraged and makes me laugh. Yes our children are grown and I encourage you to stick with the plan.

  3. One key to organization is that everything has a designated “home.” Car keys go in THIS bowl by the door, the blue scissors go in this plastic tray in this drawer, my library books go on THIS designated shelf….and the one I’m reading goes in THIS basket next to my bed.

    When I first started doing this, my house looked like an OCD lunatic lived in it, because I went through and labelled EVERYTHING. Like, you’d go in my bathroom and there’d be a glass jar on the counter that said “toothbrush goes here.” But now (label-free), I can find stuff because they’re all in their “home.”

    • That’s the goal – to have a home for everything. I do have a label maker that I intend to use, but I hadn’t thought about labeling everything. But it’s a really good idea.

      • When we moved to our new home, our food shelves did not resemble those in the old home and they became chaotic. I solved the problem by labeling all our shelves – looks very OCD crazy too, but it worked!

    • Oh that made me laugh! It must have looked like the home of an amnesiac – which is how I feel most of the time as I can never find anything amongst all the tut! All power to you. An example to follow, if only I can find the labels…

  4. be kind to yourself and family!
    you did not get there all at once, gradual changes are more lasting. altho a good purge now and then, helps it along.

  5. You are not alone but apparently we lose less expensive books in our neck of the woods as we ‘only’ owe $12. boo, I’m so annoyed by myself as well!!

  6. Ouch. Don’t beat yourself up for this too much. Or at least, don’t let this guilt drag on. You’re on your way! You’re making progress! You can do this! I agree with the previous responses that things need a home; perhaps you can have a basket of things you need to take action on like the rebate, and then a designated day and time to do that (while watching a particular TV show each week?).

    I just want to comment something positive and encouraging to you. You’ll see a huge change in the next few months, but the change will be gradual ad continuous. One decluttered space at a time. One pile of things at a time. You can do this!

    And I know I speak for all of us, when I say that we’re already proud of you for taking this on, and we’re cheering for you!

    • Thanks Laura. I really appreciate it. This really happens all the time. It’s just so incredibly wasteful. But, you’re right. One step at a time.

  7. Like Frances said I don’t add up the money lost either, I don’t think I want to know and I try to just move on and get better at this stuff. I just get depressed when I think of all the times I didn’t return things, library fines, issues not dealt with etc. However up and on I go. Thanks for the blog it is very inspiring!

  8. Too funny. I have such a love/hate relationship with our libraries (public and school). In theory they should be wonderful free resources, helping to cut costs and clutter. In reality, not so much. Each year we seem to get the lovely “grade cards will be withheld until either the book is returned or fines paid” letters. (Luckily my son found his just 2 days ago!) And I always joke that it is folks like me that keep the public library afloat. 🙂 One would think I would learn to just stay away, but I am ever optomistic that I will finally get my act together.

  9. Actually Connecting disorganization
    to a tangible and trackable dollar cost/price really helps to motivate
    one to be more motivated to get better organized!

  10. My son lost a book from the local library and they allowed the guilty party to bring in a new replacement book or pay the lost book fee The librarian told me she highly recommended the former as it would be much cheaper. We headed to Amazon and found the book for a fraction of what the library wanted to charge. It might be worth it to ask the librarian if this is possible. After all, the goal is not to replace the book and fund the new library annex. The goal is to simply replace the book.

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  12. On the one hand, ouch, that’s not a fun lesson. On the other hand, you’re clearly doing some good parenting, too – your 2nd grader took responsibility for it and was willing to pay rather than expecting you to do it.

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