Decluttering the Boys’ Bookshelf

Decluttering the Boys' Bookshelf at

We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this Decluttering Webisode with two special guest stars.

(Please be warned that if you only have girls, this may be disconcerting to watch. Video contains excessive loudness, goofiness, mild cartoonish violence and fake bodily function noises.)

(If you’re reading via email, click the title of the post to get to the blog so you can view the video.)

The kids were out of school on Friday.  Fun Mom took them to the park to enjoy a warm and sunny January day.  (Seriously.  We’re in Texas.)  But before she took over, Good Mom made them declutter their bookshelf.

Their insanely messy bookshelf.

And Slob Blogger Mom made a webisode of it.

We asked three questions:

#1:  Did you love this book?

The Ones We Kept

#2: Did you love it enough to read it again?

The books (and other random stuff) we donated.

#3: Would you recommend it to your brother or sister?

The ones we saved for our sister.

It was a wild and wacky morning. 

We decided to pitch things they didn’t even know they had (one of my decluttering questions!), they took random non-book things to their homes immediately (another one of my strategies), and in the end we got rid of a wholelotta books.

Now that the books we kept are visible and accessible, the faves are already being read again.

In case you’re a mom who is always looking for books for your boys, here are some of their favorites:

They both love the books in this series by Dan Gutman.  A boy goes back in history and meets baseball players.  They devoured every one they could find last summer.

They also love the Hardy Boys books, this one especially.

And . . . this is the one mentioned frequently in the webisode.  They love it.

And my 11yo LOVES this one:

Oh. And this one.

Which . . . I just now realized is written by the same author as the baseball card series . . .

I could keep going.  I’m thankful they both love to read.

Do you find it difficult to declutter books?

Oh, and all the books on Amazon? They’re my affiliate links.

Click Here to See More DeclutterTV at ASlobComesClean

Decluttering the Boys’ Bookshelf pin at



  1. 1

    Oh my! I could not stop giggling through this video!!!!

  2. 2

    Yay for keeping Calvin and Hobbes! Good boys. Wish I could sit and do this with my 5 y/o but she still loves reading even the board books and MIL gave us a bunch of books from her kids that are good books but too old for DD.

  3. 4

    I have two sons and this brought back so many memories. Hilarious! BTW, I’m a veterinarian, and even I didn’t know that cat pee glows in the dark! (Hee hee). I don’t think they taught us that in veterinary school! 🙂

    • 5

      I couldn’t stop laughing about the cats either. If you’d gotten rid of that book, I think your boys would have been upset. P.S. You totally made my day. I needed that — thanks!

      • 6
        unmowngrass says:

        I kept expecting Nony to say, “Well, you now know that cat’s pee glows in the dark, do you care about all the other facts in this book or not?” 😀

  4. 7
    Elizabeth Velderman says:

    This cracks me up!!! They are so proud of their results. 🙂
    Books are soooo hard for me to get rid of. SO HARD!!! Especially because we have little ones up to pre-teens and “need” board books up to chapter books. I regularly try to purge our books and donate them so other kids can learn to love them, too.
    Just noticed we had the same Spiderman tackle box! Too funny.
    Thanks for sharing! You have encouraged me to do another book purge…and closet purge.

  5. 8

    I’m a new reader to your blog and was wondering if you modified your 2 questions to help kids declutter? I really need to help my 9 year old girl part with some things. She’s willing to tackle the project but I think the 2 question thing would make it a less overwhelming process. In the video I see you asking the boys “do you love this book?” If I asked my girl that the answer would be yes every time. She even has found a way to keep the board books because she “reads them to the dogs since they are simple and easy for the dogs to understand”. I’m thinking maybe “do you still play with this?” might be a good alternative for most things in the room. followed by “where would you look for it if you wanted to play with it?” But, I’d love to hear what works for you since you’re ahead of me on teaching kids decluttering skills.

    Oh, and as an owner of cats, I can attest to the glow in the dark pee thing. Unfortunately, it only glows under a black light though, so it isn’t like a glow stick or anything.

    • 9

      I do think “When did you play with this last time?” would be good. It does help that we’ve developed a decluttering mindset over the past three years, so it has gotten easier for them. They’re VERY used to sticking things in the donate box.

      Oh, and that makes me giggle to think of her analyzing the understanding level of the dogs!!! So cute!

      Putting things in their home RIGHT NOW is key with the kids, as is the Container Concept. Letting them choose how to fill a limited space like a bucket or a shelf helps them sort according to their favorites. Does that make sense?

  6. 10

    But who are the pictures of at the end of the video?

  7. 11
    Aileen Pelkey says:

    Nony, I’m still laughing. How far apart are your boys? Mine are 2.5 years apart, and I am fairly certain my future holds a comparable amount of cat pee discussion. They’re hilarious. Well done! 🙂
    And the shelf looks 300% better.

  8. 13

    As a mom of 3 boys (11, 9, 6), I really enjoyed the video & laughed so hard. So nice to see other boys being goofy & LOUD. Also, thanks for some new book recommendations! I would love to see an encore performance by Phony & Rex

    • 14

      I’m so glad you liked it! I giggled so much while editing, seeing what they were doing while I was out of the room. (Though I wasn’t surprised at all!)

  9. 15

    I watched this with my 8 year old son and we both got a good laugh. He was happy to know that he is not the only one that has to declutter his things. In fact thanks to you and your boys my job will be easier today because I need him to go through his books. Thank your boys for us for sharing their experience decluttering and thank you so much for taking the time with them to do this.

  10. 17
    Kelley G. says:

    This one is even funnier than your Hubby and the Closet episode 🙂 Its so hard for me to get rid of books, but maybe today is the day! I guess if my kids are not reading them let someone else read them 🙂

  11. 18

    Please tell the boys I think they did a great job decluttering that shelf and putting those books back. I ove the tip about the shoes.

  12. 20

    My first two boys are 21 months apart. The third boy was born 23 months later. This is SO my future. 😛

  13. 21

    I have 2 boys and totally laughed at their antics when you left the room. And your one son saying “we aren’t supposed to fight” LOL! My oldest says that to my youngest. He thinks I don’t hear it but Mom always hears. They are both learning that lesson in life! Slowly we are all getting better at making decisions about when it is time to donate or throw out things. I did a huge book clean out in the Fall. But I did it mostly by myself. I did involve the boys in some of the “should we donate” decisions and was proud of them for realizing it was time to get rid of some younger books. But I also had to make some of the decisions because the books were taking over. They both still have TONS of books but it’s been much much better. I donated all the younger kids books to the preschool where I work. They were so happy to have some new books to offer the teachers and to have out on the bookcase for parents to use when they are waiting for the classrooms to open.

  14. 22

    I just recently found your website, through a good friend who recognized me as a ‘slob’ (correctly!) and thought it would help. Thanks for your blog and videos. This one is SO funny! I have 2 boys, 2.5 yrs apart…totally felt at home with this one!

  15. 24
    Stephanie Barnhart says:

    I’m a 10 year old boy at heart, so I thought your boys were HILARIOUS!! I need to do the three questions with my husband. Between the two of us, we have books coming out of our ears. Another good rule to follow is “if a new book comes in, get rid of one or two you already have.” Or so I’ve heard. We’ve never been able to do it.

  16. 25

    Loved watching this with my son. “See, I’m not the only mom who makes her kids clean!” Until today, he was certain that I was basically violating child labor laws by telling him to pick up his clothes or put away his toys.

  17. 26

    Loved this! So funny! Is it hard to declutter books? No, it’s impossible! I just kept building more shelves, then I ran out of wall space, then I figured out how to add one by two by shelf width pieces to the shelves which lets me double stack my paperbacks… Fortunatly my financial situation is pushing
    me more toward libraries than book stores these days.

    Most of them I reread, some of them have great senimental value, and even if they are in too bad shape to donate I can’t throw them out because it feels evil (like Hitler burning them)

  18. 27

    I only have one son but there have been many boys in this house over the last 16 years acting just like your two boys. I love it…..reminds me of all the fun (and not so fun) times. I’ll warn you though, even at 16, 17, and even 18, they are still “boys” somewhere deep inside…..bathroom humor is still funny to them and weird disgusting facts are still the rage in conversations, maybe not just as often.

  19. 28

    Your boys cracked me up!

    It is so hard to declutter books. I love my books. they’re wonderful friends to this introvert, but they’ve become more like my old roommates who do nothing but lay around the house, mess up the livingroom and and pay no rent. That is part of the reason why i love ebooks. I have quite the collection of decluttering and minimalism books. I try to pretend that i’m being purposefully ironic instead of accidentally, sadly ironic.

  20. 29

    HILARIOUS! What a couple of hams! The looks on their faces when you ssaid “You’re gonna do it” were priceless. Good job guys! The bookshelf looks great.

  21. 30

    So, maybe your boys should have their own blog! They’re too funny 🙂

  22. 32

    That’s about what it looks like to declutter around my house, but my son thinks he HAS to keep almost everything! He loves the fake body noises a bit too much, too! LOL

  23. 33

    Well, I guess I’m a little less frustrated now about my five year old being unable to part with board books. I “awwwwed” when they wanted to keep Where’s Spot? She loved that one, too 🙂

  24. 34

    I have purged today! 2 drawers full of stationery, 90% of which is being donated. The chest the drawers came out of has to be thrown away due to water damage. Then I purged 7 gallons of trash from a large moving box,(7 GALLONS!!!) and condensed down to a small diaper box! Feeling so good right now! Waiting for my husband to come back from the store, so he can bring me another box. Here’s hoping I can stay on this high for awhile!! Thank you, Nony!!

  25. 35

    I find it much easier to turn well-loved but outgrown books into paperback swap. That way someone new gets to read it (which they call “fulfilling a wish,” such an awesome name), and you get the hope of having a new book friend come to your house later. I really enjoy having extra credits more than I enjoy having extra clutter. Lastly, I love the excitement that the kids get when package comes for them in the mail.

    Look me up if you decide to check out paperbackswap or the sister sites at swap-a-cd and swap-a-dvd. I work under my husband’s profile at misterd8a.

  26. 36

    just watched this with my 13 yo son. He laughed several times. I was not laughing. I have lived this video. But seriously, cute kids and entertaining video.

  27. 37

    Hi, Noy,
    I wanted to recommend a series of books that my 10 and 13 year old have loved/are loving. We’ve been reading these aloud as our family book, and even my husband and I are loving them so much we will discuss “what do you think comes next” when we’re alone. It is the Wingfeather saga, by Andrew Peterson. It is goofy and nobel and exciting and about growing up all at the same time. Aout being a family, and about how to be an adult. The first book in the series in _On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness_. I hope you get a chance to look at these, as they are my favorite books since Narnia!

  28. 39

    Hey Nony – did you know cats’ pee glows in the dark? LOL

  29. 40
    Heather says:

    What cartoonish violence? Didn’t even notice it. Hah! I must have boys too!

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