What to do with those books you want to get rid of when you are spring cleaning your home?

Spring is a great time to reteach your children how to organize their own rooms and a play room (if you have one).  Children (and adults) need to periodically weed through items that have accumulated and recycle those no longer used.

I had a dear friend who did the weeding herself and put items in her car trunk. If her children did not ask for an item within a week, she would give it to Goodwill. I propose that instead of parents doing the work, they help the child learn to do it and to give items to others that they no longer use. This article tackles the problem of what to do with those used books.

When selecting books to give away, you and the child need to stack books in three piles. The first pile consists of those that definitely go because the child reads much more advanced books or is no longer interested in the topics of a book.  The second pile consists of those books that are the child’s favorites at the time. The third pile consists of the hard to decide books, such as those books that are favorites but are below the child’s current interests or reading level.

You personally might want to keep a few of those in the third pile and put them away for when your children have children.  I might have kept about 20 picture books from my children’s childhoods which were saved from my childhood.  Examples include:  "Winnie the Pooh" books, "Why the Chimes Rang" and "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes."

My first suggestion of where to recycle books is your local schools.

Richard Allington, a noted professor, has written many books for teachers on how to get children engaged in reading in the classroom. He states the obvious: Children should be reading text that is interesting to them and on the right reading level.

In order to have a multitude of choice books and many reading levels in the classroom, he recommends that teachers have 1,000 books on their classroom book shelves. Besides filling classroom teacher bookshelves, donated books can be given to students who do not have access to books at home.

Local public schools include: Destin Elementary, Destin Middle School, Butler Elementary and Bay Elementary.  Also, there are other schools such as Gateway Academy, Compass Rose, and Destin Christian Academy.  When donating the books, request that new teacher have first choice of your donated books.  You can also request a letter from the school acknowledging your donation and deduct the donation from your taxes.

My second suggestion would be to give the books to organizations that will get the books directly to local children who do not have many books in the home. Examples of those organizations are: Boys and Girls Clubs and Children in Crisis. Some churches also have projects that would help for example Christ the King Church is working to accumulate books to give to the America Indian children in Bruce.

There are many recycling commercial establishments, as well.  These businesses recycle books at a reduced cost which makes them more affordable to parents on a tight budget.

They include Harvest House and Goodwill. A quick search on the Internet under the topics of used book stores or thrift book stores turned up many stores in the surrounding areas.

Remember that children must have food for their bodies, and food for their minds. Books provide this food for the mind.  Please recycle your children’s books and even some of your own so that parents who are struggling financially can more easily get books for their children.

Tommy Fairweather is a retired Walton County teacher, who lives in Destin and works at Smarts & Arts on Airport Road in Destin.