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Tidy Books US

Putting books at the heart of your child’s world

  • The joy of being clutter-free

    Two years ago I walked into my teenage daughter’s bedroom. For a minute I thought I’d stepped into a parallel universe. Her room, normally a disaster zone of clutter and mess, was a vision of tidy calm. I couldn’t believe it. What on earth had happened?

    Well it seems my daughter had discovered decluttering expert Marie Kondo and had decided to give her KonMari method a go. I was so impressed I borrowed the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying – and, honestly, it really did change my life.

    Three weekends of decluttering later – including five trips to the tip and 10 trips to the charity shop – I was like a different person. My head was clearer and I felt like I had so much more time and space. Best of all, since trying the KonMari way of decluttering I haven’t gone back. And neither has my daughter.

    KonMari for kids

    With such amazing results, you can imagine how excited I was when Marie Kondo published a KonMari for kids book, Kiki & Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendship The story follows two friends – Kiki, who’s messy, and Jax, who likes everything tidied away. When Kiki can’t find her favourite toy and there’s not enough space in her room for the two of them to play, Jax shows his friend how to tidy up. So then they can enjoy their friendship without clutter getting in the way.

    I really love the book. It helps children understand that being tidy is a nice thing – not just something they have to do because their parents tell them to do it.  And I think it helps kids to appreciate and enjoy what they have.

    konmari for kids, tidying up with kids, declutter kids toys, tidying up with marie kondo, tidying with children

    Top tips for tidying with children

    Kondo was inspired to write the book when she became a mum. Amazingly, by the age of two her eldest daughter was picking up and folding her own clothes. Kondo believes it’s never too early for kids to learn how to be tidy – getting them to match up their socks is a good way to start, she says.

    She also encouraged her daughters to put away their toys after playing – so it became a natural part of their routine. Chatting with your kids while you do it helps to show tidying as a positive action.

    Tidying up the clutter with the Sorting Box

    My favourite KonMari for kids tip is to give everything a home so they know where to put their toys. It’s a great idea for giving kids ownership of their things and is exactly what our Sorting Box was designed for. The box has three separate compartments so kids can store different bits and pieces all in one place. Once they know that it’s their box, they’re much more likely to enjoy tidying their stuff away.

    I’m making our storage box even more appealing to kids with the option to have their name on it – look out for the personalised Sorting Box coming soon. 

    konmari for kids, tidying up with kids, declutter kids toys, tidying up with marie kondo, tidying with children The magic of giving every toy a home with the Tidy Books Sorting Box. Image credit @bezhwena

    In the meantime, the boxes have come in very handy for my own decluttering missions. It’s given me a real sense of achievement seeing my things neatly tidied away in them. Bring on the spring – when I’ll be up in my loft for more decluttering. 

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world. 

     

  • Why it’s smart to keep your kids off the phone

    It’s not easy being a parent. A couple of weeks ago a friend admitted the only way she can have an uninterrupted conversation with her mum when they’re out having a coffee is to give her two-year-old her mobile phone to play with. 

    She’s not alone. The phone has become the first response for harassed parents when they need to keep their kids occupied. These days it’s not that unusual to see toddlers playing with a phone – my friend’s brother reckons smartphones are like ‘baby crack’.

    Toddlers and mobile phone addiction 

    It’s true that mobile phones have become addictive. Look online and you’ll find lots of articles on the problem – with even two-year-olds getting hooked on mobile phones.

    My friend has already noticed that when she doesn’t give her toddler the phone, he starts screaming. And when she asks him to do a drawing, he’s finished in seconds rather than spending time being creative. Her observations are backed up by research that suggests too much screen time can affect children’s concentration Mobile phone addiction in kids has also been linked to higher incidence of anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder and behavioural problems. 

    phone addiction, mobile phones, toddler phone, kids phone use Keeping kids off phones, with a Tidy Books bookcase full of books. Photo credit @natalievijfhuizen

    Make reading a habit for your kids

    I’m lucky that when my children were growing up smartphones weren’t around so they never got hooked (though they still spend too much time attached to their phones for my liking!)  And I think having a book-obsessed mum helped. From an early age, their eyes were opened to the joy of reading to feed their imagination rather than staring at a screen.

    Reading with your child, or to them, is one of the activities that psychologists recommend to help prevent mobile phone addiction . Of course that’s easy when you’re at home and have access to books – but what happens when, like my friend, you’re out in a cafe?

    Some GPs and dentists offer a small selection of books for kids to read – but I’d like to see lots more places getting book-friendly. Shops, restaurants and hospitals could all provide a mini-library filled with books. The books could even be themed according to where they are – like travel books for an airport. How cool would that be for kids to read about faraway places just before they get on the plane? 

    Books to keep kids occupied

    Here at Tidy Books our bookcase and book box have already started to appear in some shops. Even the smallest places can accommodate our mini-library because the slimline bookcase  holds 85 books and there’s enough room for 40 books in the portable book box

    We love that it gives kids plenty of choice. They’re not faced with a sad little pile of books – instead they have a nice big selection and the front-facing design of the products means they can easily pick out the book that grabs their attention.

    Unlike smartphones, children won’t get addicted to books. But reading will definitely keep them occupied. And while your kids are happily engrossed in a good book, you can enjoy a guilt-free coffee with your friends.

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Give your kids a green Christmas

    I’m loving the fact that there are so many eco-friendly Christmas options this year. From handmade cards to plastic-free crackers and green gifts, it seems there’s a real focus on enjoying the festive season while looking after our planet. Just Google ‘green Christmas’ and you’ll find lots of eco-friendly ideas and inspiration. 

    It’s definitely a step in the right direction – but my biggest bugbear at this time of year is the sheer volume of Christmas presents people buy for their children. I was astounded to read that the  average kid gets 16 presents.  Sixteen!  In France, where I grew up, it’s the custom for children to receive one main present and maybe a couple of small ones as gifts from Santa Claus – and that’s it. 

    green christmas, eco friendly christmas, sustainable gift, eco friendly gift, green gift Time for a greener Christmas? Unwrap a Tidy Books Box that'll last for years.

    As for the seasonal frenzy of buying 3 for 2 offers – well, it just didn’t happen in France. There was no temptation or pressure to buy stuff I didn’t want or need, so when I moved to England I was shocked to see the amount of stuff people bought. And knowing that so much of it ends up in landfill – 10% of unwanted Christmas presents, according to a 2017 report really upsets me.

    I’ve always been a ‘less is more’ kind of person. It’s the way I shop and it’s what drives Tidy Books. From the very start, I wanted sustainability to be at the heart of the business so all our products are made with sustainable, durable wood and coated with eco-friendly water lacquer. We’re not a mass produced, cheap ’n’ cheerful kind of company and I’m proud of that.

    And yes, it does mean our products cost a little bit more. But that’s the beauty of our children’s book cases and storage solutions – you won’t have to pay out for new ones any time soon because a decade later they’ll still be going strong (and the simple, chic design means they won’t look dated in the home, either!). 

    I love it that customers buy into our ‘less is more’ ethos. They get how meaningful it is to buy their child one main gift – and for that gift to last long enough to be passed down to younger siblings and to stay in their family for years. When it comes to buying Christmas presents for their kids, they’re not looking for 3-for 2 offers or BOGOF deals to stuff into Christmas stockings... then take to the tip when the novelty has worn off. They’re in it for the long haul!

    * Want to order for Christmas? Our bookcase and book box can be ordered up to 13th December.

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