Organization is really important for me. I have to be at least semi-organized in my home, or I get really stressed out. I’ve worked hard to temper this over the years (and having four kids helped), but I’ve also accepted it as part of me. Because of that and because our school room is the first room you see when you walk into the house (it’s the formal dining room which we can’t use since it’s carpeted), keeping that room clean and organized is a necessity. Someday, I will have a school room in the back of the house with a door that shuts. But not now.
When I married my husband, he owned the sweetest wooden cupboard (that comes with a very funny story) that I fell in love with. After we got married, within two weeks, we found out we were expecting and that cabinet moved into the nursery for our sweet baby’s stuff. It remained in the nursery for six years, until I found myself needing it for homeschooling. It’s perfect for this role. It has lots of shelves, four drawers, and all the shelves are adjustable.
Like I always do at some point every summer, I pulled everything out, culled through it all, and reorganized it for the school year.
And there it is, in all it’s glory. I have to admit, I’m quite attached to that cabinet. I look forward to seeing how it continues to grow with our family. But, I digress. In light of having reorganized it and getting lots of questions of how we organize our cabinet and schoolroom, I wanted to share.
So, keeping the kids books together in easy-to-pull-out bins/boxes is key for me. They pull out one thing, sit down, and do their work. This works better, for us, than them having to keep going to the cabinet to pull stuff out. They then can put all their stuff back in one bin and put it away at the end of the day. On the left are boxes that I LOVE that I got from Wal-Mart a few years ago. They are amazing, since they have lids that close and lock on them. For the first few years of school, books are few and so these work great. My oldest started out in this, but sadly she keeps growing and so has more books. This year, she moved into a bin. I was hoping her books would all fit in it and they do (except Science, which is fine since it’s large; it just sits next to the bin on the shelf). Both the older girls have a pencil box where their markers, pencils, erasers, and any other small stuff go. Everything is labeled so they know who’s is who’s. Again, everything fits in the boxes, locks closed, and goes on the shelf.
I keep pesky worksheets contained in here, which are divided by subject. So, when the math workbook starts inevitably falling apart and losing sheets, too, the pages get tucked in the math divider. It’s keeping the paper mess at a minimum this year. I’m hoping I can stay on top of keeping the papers organized.
I got these at Target last year, but you can find them really at any office supply store. They keep spare notebooks, books, stickers, anything all in one place. At Target this year and last year in the dollar section, they had packages of blank paperback books. I bought a lot of them because they are so good for supplemental things (I have each girl keeping a Saint Book, where they draw a picture and write a few facts about a saint and they’ve used them to make books on certain topics we are learning about). I have copious amount of dollar section Target stickers and they all are also kept there. I also go around the house to see what containers I have that aren’t being used. I pulled that basket out of the nursery to keep the alphabet blocks in. Reusing other containers saves money, which is always awesome.
I also bought a bunch of these shallow bins this summer to keep teacher’s manuals, spare books, and supplies in. I have one also to organize my drawer. It’s so perfect. I love how sturdy they are and have the curved sides that make them easy for little hands to pick up. They stack inside of each other, too, so they store well until we need them.
A note on budget: It’s important to me to shop smart regarding school organization and supplies. I never shop anywhere except Target’s dollar section and Wal-Mart’s super cheap school supply extravaganza (I acknowledge it’s not actually called that, but I love school supply shopping almost as much as I love Christmas. So that’s what I call it in my head.). Keeping the costs down is key for me. This year was the first year I went through the left over supplies before shopping and I saved so much money. I’m planning on doing that now every year. I can’t say enough how amazing Target’s dollar section is. They always have great supplemental materials for what we are learning. This year, I bought two large felt maps that we are putting together as my oldest works through Geography. I bought some illustrated books for supplemental reading when people are burnt out on readers and need a break. And they have great flash cards. Also, most of my organizational tools are from Target as well. As far as supplies, I never buy name brand (expect crayons because Crayola just wins in that department). I buy what’s cheapest.
I hope you enjoyed the verbal tour through our schoolroom. I always am curious what other people do, so definitely share with me. I’d love to hear how you keep your schoolroom. Every room is different just like every homeschool family and it’s always fun to hear how everyone does it.
Happy School Year!