Making Room for a Media Basket

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"What specials do you have today?" I asked my fourth grader, Jackson.

"Um, library?" he said uncertainly.

"Check the calendar, buddy," I said.

In our school district, "specials" include physical education, art, music, and library time. The times are changing, however; our early learning center (preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten) no longer has a library, but a "Media Center."

A quick glance at the family calendar verified that it was indeed library day, which meant time to exchange last week's book for a new one.

"Where's your library book, Jackson?" I asked.

"Um," he said hesitantly.

Thus began our ritual of frantically tearing the house apart looking for the book, all while trying to get shoes, jackets, and backpacks on the younger boys. After about the tenth repeat of this routine, I finally caught on and decided we needed a central location for library books. I found an empty wicker basket (how do those things manage to accumulate -- do they multiply in homes when we're not looking?) and set it in an alcove near the front door.

"This is our new media basket," I announced to little fanfare (okay, no fanfare; I'm not quite sure they were even listening).

I'd intended to call it the "library basket," but found it would be a handy place to keep all items we might need to grab before leaving the house quickly:

  • School and public library books
  • DVDs rented from the library or video stores
  • Handheld video games and headphones, to avoid tearful searches before embarking on long car rides to visit the grandparents.
  • Drum sticks and sheet music for Nolan's drum lessons

I realize it seems like a mish-mash of things to keep in one place, but so far, it's worked surprisingly well. The purpose is narrow enough (things we need to return or regularly carry out the door) that the boys intuitively knew how to use it. Best of all: no more last-minute searches for library books or drum sticks. Too bad there's no room for shoes, though I'm sure I've got another wicker basket around here somewhere.

Looking for more creative solutions? Click here to see our best Dream Team stories.

How do you avoid the last-minute scavenger hunt for books and other items? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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