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Spring Homeschool Storage & Organization Gems

In a time of year where it seems like the whole world has caught the “Spring Cleaning” bug, I embraced today as the perfect opportunity to chat with you all about some of the ways we can keep all those books and supplies for our homeschool organized and easily accessible. In my home it seems like the further we get in the school year the more time my boys and I spend wrangling the books and supplies we need to get started every morning! I know I could use some fresh ideas!

Gem #1 comes from the lovely Jenae @ I Can Teach My Child. She received a simply brilliant comment on one of her posts that gave her the idea to store all her craft supplies in an over-the-door shoe organizer like this:

Clear, white, or even colored over-the-door shoe organizers can be purchased almost anywhere inexpensively (Lowe’s, Target, Amazon, Big Lots, etc.). Like Jenae, we tend acquire all kinds of great art supplies from various places and then don’t use them or forget we have them because they get lost in bins and boxes. What an amazing way to store a whole lot without taking up any space at all!

Gem #2, my hip friends, almost made me put on a pair of jeans, trade my slippers for a pair of real shoes, hop in my car on the 35 degree spring night I first read about it, and drive the almost hour and a half to the nearest big box office supply store to pick one up. I was that excited! I first saw the idea thanks to this Pinterest pin via Valerie @ The Crafty Classroom. Valerie had seen the idea in a few other places around homeschool blogs but I hadn’t, so I’m betting some of you haven’t either!

This amazing piece of organization fantasticness is called the “desk apprentice“. Even the name takes charge! It’s bigger than you might think measuring 16″ x 16″, and I know exactly how I will use this in our homeschool. All of our current notebooks and/or workbooks, my teacher’s manual, our morning devotional booklet, pencils, erasers, scissors, a stapler, index cards….almost everything we use on a daily basis, all in one place on the school table, right at our fingertips! If you do your seat work in a living or dining room, how great would it be to be able to pack everything in it and move it to the side when it’s dinner time, family game night, or when company is headed your way? I’m looking forward to picking one of these up!

Gem #3 showcases some of the ways I’ve seen and personally used those plastic file crates everyone seems to have laying around their houses. You know the ones……they show up at back-to-school time in trendy, brightly colored dorm collections and are good for almost anything. Most of them are stackable, have a groove for hanging file folders and are an absolute necessity in my homeschool!

  • Group together all the books and materials you use for any given subject or curriculum and keep them next to the space you do your work.
  • Move all your many jigsaw puzzles in individual Ziploc bags (don’t forget to cut out the picture guide for reference) and store your entire puzzle collection in one or two of these crates!
  • Hang file folders and label them to correspond with the number of weeks you schedule for your school year. Separate worksheets, workbooks, writing paper, coloring sheets, project instructions, field trip ideas etc. into the file folder of the week the work is scheduled. You can do a little at a time or knock out the whole year with relative ease depending on what kind of curriculum you use. After each week is finished this system makes for a perfect place to file completed work!
  • Use a crate to take school outside or on the road. Pile everything you need into one convenient, easy to carry crate and be on your way!

(Note to self: Buy more crates!!) :-)

Gem #4 deals with actual places to put things. I tend to fall down on the side of cheap but I can’t stand to buy things of poor quality. Mix that with a desire for things to look pretty & put-together….and I, personally, am left with only one option. Build something myself that’s nice-looking, good quality, and inexpensive…..ladies, I promise you, it can be done! My husband and I built two monster-size bookshelves for our old home.

Our new house doesn’t even come close to having the same space so we’re building another, much simpler set of shelves. There are places all over the internet (this is my favorite) that can help anyone with a DIY spirit have beautiful, functional, good-quality and inexpensive shelves (and so much more if you choose). We’re already homeschoolers, the ultimate in DIY, don’t you agree? I’d bet there’s quite a few of you reading this right now that would build amazing things and some of you already have. Check it out!

What about you all? What are some of the best storage and organization tips and systems you’ve seen or used for all the great stuff that comes with our schooling at home?

Danielle
Danielle is a big-city Southern California girl who, after a number of years spent enjoying the majesty of small-town Montana, moved back home to be near family and make a go of her backyard homesteading dreams. She’s married to her stud of a high school sweetheart and together they’re raising three handsome, rough-and-tumble young men. Their family loves the Lord and homeschooling is just one of the many ways they have endeavored to give their whole lives to Christ. Danielle and her family are having a blast working to turn their healthy DIY spirit into a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
Danielle
Danielle

Comments

  1. Although this is not a homeschooling organizational tip I thought I would share anyway. Years ago I started using empty diaper wipe containers in my medicine cabinet. I label them on the outside edge so that I can tell quickly what is inside. Examples of my labels are: Kids Medicine, pain/fever, sinus, stomach.

  2. The clear shoe holder idea – I saw this one time as an idea on where to keep your first aid suplies and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Trust me – when an emergency happens and you need bandaids, bandages, first aid creme or tweezers it’s amazing how you CAN NOT find them! I LOVE having our supplies in the see-through pockets – so you can find things QUICKLY! :)

    • ooooh, I love that! Maybe I will pick up another one just for first aid supplies. We have all of our stuff on the top shelf of our pantry and it’s not working out well. Thank you for leaving your tip!!

      • I thought I’d chime in too on the first aid. I use a Plano brand tackle box (for fishing) the kind with adjustable plastic tabs to separate and sort. There are band aids in two or three pockets, tweezers, peroxide, alcohol, bandages, medical tape, a stethoscope, wire splints, sterile needles thermometers, neosporin, the list goes on and on. And it’s all in a hard shell organizer, so when we hit the road, it goes under the seat. Even if the kids flip it over, it stays in place. And this is my first visit to your site… I like it. Thanks for sharing organizing tips with the world least organized… (ME!!)

  3. Kelly Rogers says:

    I LOVE GEM #2, is it bad to take off to the big city even though I just got back from there? Why am I always looking for bigger, better, newer… oh that’s right, cuz you are tempting me too!!!!

    Ooohhhhh, I wanna try it soooo bad!!
    Cant wait till we can meet for coffee in my favorite little town by you!

  4. I was lucky enough to have a big room with a line of cabinets in my house when we bought it. I am sure it was used for a “bonus” room., for gaming or something of that sort. Well, I love the cabinets, BUT I did not build them so there was no real way to change them to work for me in a nice organized way. So, I put index cards with what is in the cabinet on the outside. The cabinets are all different sizes, so I put what fits best in each one and worry less if all the art supplies are near each other, or if all the science books are next to the science project supplies. It is not the prettiest look but it has made my life much simpler.
    I also have a plastic file box for my kids completed work. I keep so that when the grandparents come over the kids can show of all they have completed, I will sort through it at the end of the year and see what is a keeper and not. I love your tips!

    • Mmmm, cabinet space, lol! I was just talking to my husband about this last night, and by the time we’re through with my house just about every wall is going to have some storage-type solution. :-) Thanks for your encouragement!

  5. My trick, I found an old over the door gift bag holder that I am now using for construction paper ;)
    http://www.chestnutgroveacademy.blogspot.com/2012/03/getting-organized-part-1.html and of course we have a few of the shoe holders too! Love them!!

  6. oh yeah we use the crates too, they also hold hanging files, so I have my curriculum planned out by weeks, then since we use real books, we have lots of them, so I have a bin for science and one for history! :D

  7. Crystal Oring says:

    Danielle, love the tips! We are at the beginning of our home school journey, and I’m realizing just how crucial it is to stay organized. I read that you are living in Montana. We are in Billings. Are we neighbors? :)

  8. Mary Smith says:

    ResizedImage_1334766530260.jpg, I’m trying to paste a picture of my newest attempt at organization. I bought an inexpensive bin at Target and filled it with all those things the kids yell for and I can’t find through the day (glue, Sharpies, compass, protractor, scissors, erasers, reward stickers, etc.) Now this can go with from room to room! :)

  9. Mary Smith says:

    file:///C:/Users/Owner/Pictures/ORGANIZE.png

  10. Those ideas are great. I actually use more of them myself already. The Desk Apprentice came from that show, The Apprentice, and I remember watching the episode where the team came up with it and thinking, “That’s amazing.” Sadly, we don’t have enough room for it on our kitchen table, but we use something similar and more portable (a Snap Ware lockable three-tier box). Great ideas!

    • I never knew that, huh! I have never been a fan of the show but the fact that it produced this thing makes me a little bit in love with it, lol!

  11. Bookshelves are important, but I must say that the desk apprentice is my all time favorite organizer! Mine even has a name–desk genie. Love it so much I blogged about it. http://missmoe-thesearethedaysofmylife.blogspot.com/search/label/Not%20back%20to%20school

  12. I’m currently using my shoe organizer on my bathroom door to hold hair supplies, makeup, brushes, etc… def helped make it a little less crazy!

  13. I love my desk apprentice!! It is the best purchase I made all year!!!

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