I’ve been blogging in this space — first Organizing Your Way and then Life Your Way — for over three years now, and there are some great posts in the archives that don’t get much attention anymore. This week, I’ll be sharing some of my favorites. Whether you’ve been around since the beginning or are a new reader, I think you’ll enjoy them!
I received an email from Karina yesterday with this question:
Have you done anything about how to organize library books and due dates to avoid late fees? I thought I had a system… was late on 2 videos last week (I knew that) and then discovered that I was ALSO late on about 12 books! I thought it was 2 videos and I was busy, plus kids were sick, so I just figured I’d shell out the fees. However, fees on 12 books and 2 videos 5 days late… well, let’s just say it’s not very frugal! Any suggestions?
Since I’m up to my eyeballs with the upcoming move to Life Your Way, I hadn’t started a post for today yet, and I thought this would make a great topic.
The only problem is that I rarely borrow books from the library because I’m so bad about returning them on time. Sad, but true.
That said, I’ve been brainstorming ways to get better at it myself because we have the cutest little small-town library with a great selection of kids books, and I’d like to take advantage of it more often. I have lots of fond memories of spending Saturday afternoons at the library with my dad, and I’d like to pass that on to my girls as well.
Here are 5 tips to help you avoid overdue library fines:
1.Keep a detailed list of the books you borrow.
One of the hardest part about borrowing from the library for us is that the books get scattered around the house. They’re taken to various bedrooms at naptime, brought along for a car ride, accidentally shelved with our personal collection, etc. If your library has an online system, it may keep track of the books you’ve borrowed automatically. If not, ask your librarian to print you a list when you check out or make a quick list yourself before the books get scattered.
2. Create a home for your library books.
A list helps, but ideally, you should create a dedicated place for library books to live when they’re not being read. This might be a dedicated shelf, a basket in the family room or a tote bag by the front door. The key is to put the books back each and every time they’re read so that the pile is always ready to be returned. This will make it much easier to gather up the books to be returned so that it’s not such a hassle.
3. Go to the library regularly.
Another trick for returning library books on time and avoiding late fees is to simply go to the library regularly and commit to returning the previously borrowed books each time you go. Having a variety of books with different due dates just increases your chances of being late on some of them, and like anything else, creating a routine will make it easier on everyone.
4. Return books early.
Rather than holding books until the last day, get into the habit of returning them well before their due dates. When you set reminders or mark the date on your calendar, set it a week before the books are due. It’s kind of like setting your clock ahead by 5 minutes — even though you know you’ve done it, it offers a cushion so that you can avoid being late.
5. Get techy with it.
It’s one thing to be able to find the books you’re looking for, but you may still need to be reminded of the due dates. Set up reminders on your online or desktop calendar to send you alerts by email as the due date approaches. Or subscribe to a service such as Library Elf (or Library Books if you have a Mac) for reminders and other tracking.
Do you visit the library regularly? What do you do to avoid fines and lost books?
|Mandi Ehman is the founder and publisher behind Life Your Way and the co-author of All in Good Time, as well as a wife and the homeschooling mom to four beautiful girls. She lives with her family on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia and loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.|