Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homeschool Stuff Reorg Before & After

Here is a home reorganization project I did in May 2009 related to homeschool supplies.

This is a hutch in my kitchen which is not being used as a decorative piece only (as is typical in most American homes). It was a center for kid's stuff like board games (on bottom shelf) and homeschool supply storage and our most-used cookbooks (on main shelf).

This I had originally set up with Montessori inspiration back when we moved here when the kids were aged one and three so the (safe, child-friendly) items would be at their level and available for them to help themselves to on their own.

Not visible is stored inside the drawers and cabinet are children's casual art supplies (cheap paper, markers, crayons), and fine art supplies (good paper, professional art markers, drawing pencils, charcoal), art and nature journals.

The hutch was so over-cluttered that it hurt my eyes to look at and gave me various negative emotions to just see in my visual field.

The impetus for finally doing this, and for doing it in May was that my kids were blaming me for lost homeschool student workbooks and misplaced books. In my defense I will share that after the reorganization, the kids were still losing stuff and I realized that 90% of the time indeed they were leaving it all around the house where it doesn't belong. They were just blaming me because the hutch looked too messy and they assumed the stuff was lost in the mess which was somehow "my mess".




About This Stuff

The homeschool stuff in this area is supposed to be only materials we are using this school year. I confess some of the folders, binders and papers were from the last three years due to not decluttering it on a regular basis.

One shelf with the clear glass containers is a nature shelf which I adapted from the Waldorf education "nature table" concept. Any natural thing brough into this house must go on that shelf. Period. I do not want rocks and feathers and driftwood laying all over the place. I do have some limits you know. Originally this was to change with each season but we just keep it all there as the kids don't want to part with the rocks, shells and all the other stuff. Going forward I will periodically get rid of some of it, especially the nuts that wind up opening, the seedpods that wind up spitting out seeds and the not-pristine things.

The main shelf is now the cookbooks and family recipes. It also holds homeschooling things that will be used this year but are not being used at this very moment. Random other homeschool related things that have no other home are there too like fancy math dice and the math drill Flashmaster gadget.

Now each child has a bin at the bottom (Target's Itso system, cloth container with vinyl bottom). In the bin is just their active homeschooling workbooks and books reading right at this very minute. It holds their assignment schedules and anything else. One bin is mine and holds our current logbook for homeschooling records as well as teacher's manuals and answer keys using right now and books I'm reading aloud to the kids right now.

A note on the American flag. We were given the big flag by veteran's at an event we went to. To keep it off the floor I store it there. We do not pledge allegiance to the flag while inside our home. I just don't know where else to store it that will not descricrate the flag by accident.

From the board games, I gathered three or four boxes to either resell or donate to charity. The keepers were placed in another room.

The art supplies were decluttered including letting go of things they'd outgrown such as preschool type coloring books.

The baskets on the floor were children's books (living books) that the kids will soon read or have finished reading. I do not have a perfect system for keeping up with all the books that are lined up to be read in the next year, the ones being read right at this second and the ones finished reading in the last week or month.

Not seen in the photo is a wooden box which we keep in the family library which is where all the library books are kept except those being read right at this moment which are either on our nightstands or in the new bins. I just don't have room to keep it right with the hutch.

This system is working wonderfully so far. It's been this way for a solid two months and no additional clutter has accummulated, even though we are actively still homeschooling and using these materials on a daily basis.

My husband is happier now as the too-cluttered appearance was bothering him as was the fact that before his cookbooks and recipes were hidden behind surface clutter.


Amy said...

This looks great, Christine! I love seeing how others organize their hs stuff. I'm "challenged" in this area, so every bit of inspiration helps!

christinethecurious said...

It looks great, congratulations!

-Christine in Massachusetts

e-Mom said...

That hutch is a beautiful piece of furniture. I'm sure you're pleased to have it organized again. (Antique or reproduction?) Pine?

I found you through the Carnival of Homeschooling. Following you on Twitter now.

Have a blessed weekend!


christinemm said...

e-mom thanks for stopping by and for leaving your thoughts!

I have some homeschool related blos posts in draft that I hope to finalize today to publish today and later this week.

Have a great day!

Brenda said...

Wow! Big difference!! I must say, if I had that cabinet, there would be no decorative plates or cookbooks! I would have it totally full of homeschool stuff. That's what I'm doing now---googling ideas for my cabinet. :)