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Tutorial Tuesday: Staying Organized Part Two

We are a family of 4 living in an 1100 square foot house. There is a kitchen, dining area, living room,  two bedrooms, one den, and one bathroom. We also have a garage. Our  house was built in 1964. Since then, average house size in America has more than doubled. Nevertheless, I don’t feel like we *have* to have more space. We just maximize the space we do have.

Our biggest “problem” is that we don’t have a designated homeschool room. However, as we have adopted the philosophy of “learning all the time” it makes more sense that we actually don’t have a classroom in the house. The girls learn at the dining table, in their rooms, in the kitchen, and best of all, outside.  I think I’ve found a system that works. This isn’t really advice, as much as it is just a little glimpse into our house and the way we do things. Maybe it will be useful for you too.

  1. You don’t need a lot of homeschool supplies

Besides the books that are stored on other bookshelves throughout the house, all of our homeschool supplies fit inside of a 2′ by 3′ storage unit, and in half of a very narrow closet.

Homeschool Shelves

The storage unit is where I keep books that are “school-y.” This is how I have the cubes organized:

  • Bible
  • Writing
  • History and Geography
  • Reference
  • Science and Nature
  • Library Books

The designated library book area has been essential. When the girls are done reading something for the day, they place it back in its spot. I am finally returning library books on time because I can see them and I know where they are at all times!

We have one hall closet. It is very narrow. We don’t really have bathroom storage, so the top half is where I store medicines and towels, etc. The bottom half is where I store art supplies, some homeschool games, project stuff, and anything else “school” related that doesn’t have a home.


Closet 2

I use shoebox sized Sterilite containers for EVERYTHING. Mine were $2 each. The girls have them in their rooms too. These house markers, paints, miscellaneous art supplies, “story” rocks, paint, glue, etc.


     2. Homeschool supplies don’t need to be all in one place

When I first homeschooled Sera (in Kindergarten), the den was the homeschool room. It looked like a classroom. The den has since become Sera’s bedroom, and is currently full of nature guides, stuffed animals, legos, and exorbitantly expensive American Girl dolls (ugh).

Although most of our homeschool stuff is in the hallway, there really are resources in every room. There are books on the living room shelves, cooking supplies in the kitchen, and books in each of the girls’ rooms.

I made one of the shelves in the living room accessible to the girls and filled it with good literature. The girls have good books in their rooms too, but this is their “shared” shelf.


Living room bookcases with a shelf for the girls

Homeschool Shelf

One literature shelf for the books the girls share

      3. Being organized comes at a price

The bookcases in our living room are from Ikea. My Christmas presents this year were two more bookcases for my bedroom. It costs money to create storage, but storage need not be expensive. As I said before, my Sterilite boxes were $2 each, and the hallway storage unit, originally $50 dollars, was repurposed from another room in the house.  Because staying organized means getting rid of stuff, I purged the hall closet of unnecessary lotions, ratty towels, and anything else I could to make room for our homeschool things.

What are your secrets for staying organized? Do you repurpose household items (jars, boxes, etc.) into useful storage?

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