Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Help-Yourself Book Boxes

For the longest time, the books in the children's room were held together by bookends. But I had to constantly put books back and rearrange them, forever tightening the bookends so that books stay upright. Because the kids could only see the spine of the book, sometimes they would pull down several books before getting to the one that they want. And then I'm left with books strewn all over the place. It's partly my fault, though. I have tried encouraging them to put the books back, but it's not easy for them to insert the books back upright; well, at least not as neatly upright as I'd want them to be and not without somehow mangling the pages (travesty!) when they try to force the books back into place.

When I saw the Help-Yourself Book Boxes in the Lakeshore Learning catalogue, I just had to get them. I'm a Lakeshore Learning fan, if you don't already know. But I'd be an even bigger fan if I can get their products here in Hong Kong without paying the additional shipping cost and having to wait almost two months before the orders arrive.

Back to the book bins...

I ordered a set of six and ordered an additional two. When they finally came, I was a bit surprised to see that they appeared smaller than what I thought they would be. I thought that I would have enough for all the books in the children's room, with a couple to spare for the additional books they have in our room and in the living room. I ended up using all eight bins just for the books in their room. Either I misjudged the number of books they have or I misjudged the size of the book boxes.

After I organized all the books in the book bins, I knew I had to get more. They were so neat, figuratively and literally. What I like about them is that it allows for the tikesters to very easily flip through the books and pick out the ones they want, without having to pull different ones out to get a good look and then discarding them by the side.

Each book box is 14" x 7" x 5" high and is the just right size allowing the kids to be able to put the books back properly and neatly without me worrying about damage to the books. (I'm a bit anal that way.) I say it is "just right" size because when I found out that I didn't order enough book boxes, I went to Ikea and got a few of the Trofast storage boxes in different sizes to see if they would work just as well. For sure, the Ikea storage boxes would be cheaper and I could easily run down and get more without having to wait for two months. They were either too wide, not deep enough, not big enough, too deep, etc. See, if the box is too shallow, the books will not stand up well (or at all); if it's too deep, I'd have the same problem as when I was using bookends where the kids would have to pull out books to find the ones they want. The book boxes from Lakeshore Learning were designed for books, for the little ones to easily "help themselves" to the books they want.

Each of the boxes comes with labels, so if you are so inclined, you can categorize and group books into different bins. It's a pity they only come in blue. It would be nice to have them in other colors, too. Regardless, I LOVE the Help-Yourself Book Boxes.

A set of six costs HK$419 and each extra book box is HK$70.

To place an order --
  • Go to the Lakeshore Learning website and look for the item that you want.
  • Note down the Item Number (usually 2 letters followed by 3 numbers).
  • Call or email ( the local distributor and let them know which items you want; you will have to give them the item number.
  • They will call you back with a quote and also let you know when you might expect your order.
  • Payment is : 30% deposit, 70% by cash before delivery.
Psst. If you know of where I can get something similar here in Hong Kong, please let me know. I could always use a few more and I'd rather not have to wait for two more months. You can contact me at Thanks!