One thing homeschoolers are never in short supply of is stuff. Aside from the normal every day pile-ups of life, we have the extra troubles of "evidence of schooling" spilling on to every surface in the house. Over the years, I've found some great solutions for taming the chaos. Here are my must haves:
1. Open Shelving:
In my opinion, you can not have too many bookshelves!! There were the days when Grace was little that she emptied the bookshelves almost every day. If you're in that stage and you think I'm crazy, know that little ones will grow out of shelf dumping. Grace is now my greatest little librarian. I organize my shelves by subject - science books on one shelf, history books on another. This makes finding books easier, but it also makes it easier for my kids to put them away!
2. Closed Storage
As wonderful as open shelving can be, sometimes there are things you just don't want to see all the time. I love my bookshelf with doors. I covered the doors with my USA map so that I could utilize the surface. Here's what it looks like on the inside:
I don't want to look at this every day! I also don't want everyone who walks through my school room to have access to the fun behind these doors. We have to clean this cabinet out regularly, however due to "sweep it under the rug" tendency of this location.
Oh baskets. I love baskets. They take many forms in my school room. Sometimes there are materials that get lost on shelves, but you still want to have them accessible. Baskets are also a great way to house all kinds of treasures...like school supplies you stocked up on when things were on sale.
4. Magazine Files
I have so many of these handy little magazine files. I love having little bins of storage for all of those thin books that get lost in a bookshelf. Sometimes when I spiral books, they slouch on the shelf, so having some of these bins keeps everything from falling off.
Some of our prized treasures get lost in the hustle and bustle if they do not have a sacred location in the school room. These hooks are not permanent, but they are strong! I also have lots of flash cards on rings that I don't want to loose. Hang one of those key ring holders to hold all of your cards in a safe and easy to reach place!
6. Pen Holders
We use cups to keep all of those writing utensils under control. Every once and a while we have a "great pen sort" to check for which ones work and which ones are duds. There is nothing worse than being ready to work without a writing utensil in sight.
7. Paper Solutions
My girls love to have colored paper for all of their creative inspirations. I was tired of it spreading all over the place, so I found this paper organizer at the Container Store. The girls love to keep it tidy because it means that they'll have access to multitudes of fun all year long.
What are some ways you've found helpful in keeping your home school materials under control?
UPDATE: Someone asked to see a full picture of our schoolroom, but since I wrote this post, the school room looks a bit different. I'm one of those kinds of people that likes to shift things around every now and then. Over Christmas, I rearranged so that I could reclaim our school room. We still use all of these great storage solutions, but the biggest change was that I moved the closed storage cabinet out to the garage, which made more room for us to live and breath in the school room. That's always a good thing! Here's what it looks like now....big picture:
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.