Whether you live in a large or small home, you may be cramped for space as you accumulate more “stuff” to help you homeschool successfully. But, suddenly all those things that were supposed to be a big help are now a burden because, “where in the world do I put it?” runs through your mind. You CAN have a place for everything and everything in its place with a little creativity and a few tools.
Shelves– I would have to say the number one way we stay organized is with shelves. There are lots of ways to find small pieces of scrap wood cheap or free. If I have a pile somewhere, it tells me that I need a shelf there! Instead of everything falling down when I need to get to something at the bottom of the pile, everything is neatly stacked on different shelves. We build shelves into closets, under desks, on top of desks, and any other nook and cranny!
Shelves Instead of Dressers – Dressers are very wide and get messy very easily. We switched our clothing storage away from dressers to tall shelves instead. Since everything is out in the open, it stays much neater. Also, I can see the items that aren’t getting worn because they’ve been outgrown. It makes purging out the old stuff much simpler – it happens everyday instead of sitting down once or twice a year to look through all the drawers. We can make them as tall as we like, so more can fit on the shelves than what we could fit in the dresser. My husband just picked up the least expensive board he could find from our local hardware store and nailed them together in less than an hour. We have two boys and two girls and, therefore, a boy’s bedroom and a girl’s bedroom. Each room has one tall clothing shelf which fits clothing for two children.
Closets – I was able to make a “homeschool closet” for myself. We don’t have a linen closet or bathroom closets, so the linens are squished in bedroom closets with clothes and the towels are in the china hutch in the underneath storage. I moved these things around so that I would have room in the coat closet to put some shelves. All my craft supplies, flash cards, markers, crayons, you name it – I’ve been able to fit it all into my homeschool closet. Since we made the shelves ourselves out of some leftover wood from another project, we could do a custom installation according to the size of the bins I was already using for my homeschool supplies.
Bedroom Closet – Another thing we use closets for is as a study space. My husband built a desk for my son and installed it into the closet. He not only has privacy and quiet while he studies, he has a separate place to store all of his school things out of the way. It is very rare that any of the other little hands get into his school work.
Bins and Baskets – I have read stories of families schooling in their RV or trailer home that have had to line up piles in the hallway for lack of a place to put the daily schoolwork. Even if you have to resort to such a method, you can put each pile in a bin or basket so it stays neater and easier to carry. The stores sell bin and baskets in just about every size, shape, and color these days. Then, things are much easier to stack on top of each other, rather than having it lined up side by side.
Waste Basket (otherwise known as the Garbage Can!) – We have lots of little garbage cans throughout the house. If you have many of them, you’ll be more likely to toss things as they come into your possession. If they are small, you’re more likely to empty them often so there is always a fresh clean garbage can to fill up. Make sure to tackle any piles that develop right away. In a small space, any pile can make you feel cluttered and disorganized very quickly.
4 Ways to Get Started
Most often, a combination of several of these suggestions will fit perfectly. But, what if your house is in disorganized chaos now and you need to pull yourself out from underneath the mess? Where to begin?
Set up a regular daily schedule. You will be amazed at how quickly your life will settle into a nice neat pattern if you follow a schedule. In that schedule, set aside chore time and other “cleaning” blocks of time to keep the house maintained.
15 minutes in the morning. Get up 15 minutes before you usually do, preferrably when everyone else is asleep and begin to tackle one problem area in your house. Set a timer. Don’t do more than 15 minutes of work on that spot. Then, go on with the rest of your day. Just 15 minutes a day will work wonders in your home.
Three boxes. Get three boxes and set them in the middle of a room. Label them “Garbage”, “Keep”, and “Give Away”. Throughout the day, as you walk in and out of that particular room, grab one item that isn’t in a permanent or desirable spot and toss it into one of those boxes. At the end of the day, deal with the boxes appropriately.
Enlist help. Maybe your husband can take the kids to the park for a picnic lunch and some playtime over the weekend while you tackle some big area of the house. Maybe a trusted friend can come over and help you get that closet emptied and put back together in better shape. Give each child a game to look over – they have to make sure all the pieces are there and that they game is still playable. Toss the ones that aren’t. Have the boys clean out the girls room and the girls clean out the boys room. 🙂 It would be interesting if nothing else!!
Simple, yet so effective, these ideas should get you well on your way to a nicely organized home, no matter how big or small!
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