Mar 042009
 
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Have you every looked at pictures of other people’s perfectly organized school rooms and had to wipe the drool off your keyboard?  There are some people who have amazing school rooms with custom designed desks for each student, wall-to-wall book shelves, special computer areas, and you name it, someone has probably built it.  I’ve even seen a neat little storage unit specifically for school supplies that has wheels and rotates.

If you have perfectionist tendencies like I do, sometimes it’s hard to look at all those “perfect” school rooms.  A perfectionist may struggle at times to do anything if she can’t do it perfectly. This is not meant to be a post about overcoming schoolroom envy, but I do hope to share some ideas to help you better organize your homeschool supplies.

Declutter!

The first step in organizing anything is to declutter. It’s silly to try to organize clutter.  If you don’t use it, get rid of it.

 Storage should be near where you use the item.

If you do most of your schooling in the kitchen, try to find storage space NEAR the kitchen. (That doesn’t mean the kitchen table!)

In our current home, we use the kitchen table, the dining room table, and the living room for our school rooms. All of those rooms serve other functions during the rest of the day, so I don’t want them set up as permanent school rooms.

This baker’s rack is in the corner of our dining room. If you look under the baker’s rack, there is a small box for my 2 older children’s school work. In the box is a notebook with their weekly assignment sheets and any worksheets for the week. The notebook has a zippered pouch to keep pencils, etc. In addition, their math workbooks, English texts and workbooks and Greek workbooks are in their boxes. Every morning, they each pull out their box, take it to their table and begin their work. I also have my teacher’s manuals on the bottom shelf. I used to keep them on the bookshelves in the basement, but I found that if they weren’t right there, then I put off grading their work and it began to pile up.

Be creative with storage containers.

It is not necessary to have perfectly matched beautiful baskets to store all your homeschool supplies. (Though I know if would be pretty.) Think of the items that need storing and try to think of low or no-cost storage solutions.

I have become quite nuts about reusing “trash” to store things. I remind myself of my grandmother. I store my teacher’s manuals in a display box from an office store. It was empty and I asked them if I could have it. They probably thought I was crazy, but it keeps my manuals together and keeps them from falling down.

I keep the rest of our supplies that are not used daily on the bookshelves downstairs. I have re-used a variety of containers to store supplies. The top of the book shelves have our art supplies. I used large strawberry baskets to store paint, glue, and clay. I have small coffee canisters to store scissors, markers, crayons, and other odds and ends. I also use a lot of plastic shoeboxes for storage. They are a good size and they stack well. They are not free, but are inexpensive. I use them for more art supplies and science supplies. I’ve also used them to organize many of the kids’ toys.

As you can tell, it’s not beautiful. But it is organized.

My last tip is:

Start small.

Don’t overwhelm yourself designing a perfectly organized homeschool area with all your books color-coded, and shelves labeled. Organize one area first and work to develop habits to keep it organized. When you’ve got everything organized, then maybe you’ll want to take the time to label it and buy matching baskets. At least then you’ll know what baskets you need, and where you want to put them.

I’ve got a lot more I could organize. I find that I am learning to evaluate how much I need something to be reorganized versus my desire to do something different. I am learning to be content without beautiful baskets and a label maker!

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  14 Responses to “Organizing Homeschool Supplies”

  1. It is that time of year isn't it? I am getting very close to starting the great sort. After all how will I know what to buy for next year. However, I am hoping to homeschool for less next year since I won't have anyone in high school courses. I think I have an awful lot already.

    Blessings,

    Dawn

  2. I've been working on organizing our school area too. You've done a great job. Great ideas!

  3. I try to stay organized, but my stuff always ends up looking so cluttered!

  4. Great post!

    ~Mrs.Cuddles

  5. I have some display boxes as well. They are very useful. I make mine more beautiful by decopaging them with scrapbook papers.

  6. I never thought to ask a store for the empty boxes, guess what I'll be doing this weekend?!?! Thanks!

    Tristan

    http://www.ourbusyhomeschool.blogspot.com

  7. I use those same strawberry baskets for "organizing" my upright freezer. By "organizing" I mean keeping the bags of bulk-purchased shredded cheese together in one place. I also have baggies of freezer jam in one. I often wish I'd had my husband buy 10 gallons instead of just 4, but then I would have had to process 2.5 times as many berries 🙂

  8. I was really identifying with all the great advice that you gave here. I've tried to articulate the exact same things to others, but I just haven't been able to. You did it so well.

    http://onemomsfunjourney.blogspot.com

  9. Small but yes, organized! Have a great year!

  10. I love how you used "trash" for organization, yet it still looks very, very nice. It has inspired me. Thank you for sharing on the Blog Hop.

  11. Loved this peek into your school room. Organization is key to getting through the day, isnt it.

    Come take a peek at my school room if you like:

    http://blueberryhomeschool.blogspot.com

  12. Looks great! I just decluttered all our art stuff and was able to free a WHOLE self!

  13. Happy Homeschooling!! I love this Blog Hop!! 🙂

  14. Great post! I tend to have perfectionist tendencies. Seems like I collect ideas about organizing home school supplies, but if I can’t do it all, I just don’t do anything! Home school supplies take up so much room!

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