This guest post is by Jennifer Renee of Organized Home Organized School.
It’s almost the end of the school year! That’s exciting, right?
Yes. But–if you’re anything like our family–maybe the clutter and chaos resulting from a busy homeschool year has left your homeschool area less than Pinterest-worthy.
Today I want to share how I’m taming the end-of-the-year chaos, and I’d like to give you some homeschool organization tips along the way.
A Little Space, A Lot of Homeschooling
For a bit of back story, my five member family lives in a 1000 square foot house. We don’t have much storage space, so I have to be very creative with how and where I store our homeschool material. My boys share a bedroom and their daily school material is kept in their room on their school table. Likewise, my daughter’s material is kept in her room. Everything else is stored in the hallway linen closet. Last year I was able to organize everything at the beginning of the school year and make it all nice and neat and pretty!
Here’s a picture of how we started the school year.
Our homeschool closet looks nothing like this now.
Yes, that’s real life. As the year progresses, we collect a lot of material and supplies, and I’m not able to keep up with the organization of the closet like I want to.
Now that it’s the end of the year, it’s time to go through the closet and decide:
- What material/curruculum to keep
- How to store what I keep
I invite you to also go through your school material from this past school year so you’ll have an idea of what you can keep. This will help serve two purposes; give closure to the current year, and help you decide what, if anything needs to be purchased for next year.
I use a simple process for closing out the year – pull everything out of the school closet, separate like things into piles, go through each pile, put things back that I will keep and get rid of things I don’t need.
Step 1: Pull Everything Out
This is one of those “it gets worse before it gets better” scenarios. I say that because I have a small house, so the tiniest bit of clutter makes a huge difference for me. It may not be that way for you. Either way, everything needs to be laid out so that I can see exactly what I have. Even things I don’t use except maybe once or twice per year gets pulled out and dusted off. I have the tendency to forget about those items and I’ll buy them again.
The school material that’s kept in the kids rooms is done separately, but I use the same process.
Step 2: Make Piles
Once everything has been pulled out, I like to put all like items together. Although the year starts off with a nice neat closet where all pens and pencils are neatly tucked in cute containers, and all construction paper is color-coded, life happens. Things get shoved in the closet to get the out of the way and by the end of the school year it’s a disaster. I’m totally ok with it (give yourself grace, you’re a busy momma), but that means all the supplies need to be re-sorted.
This is a great time to do things like test your pens to make sure they still write. If not, toss them. As you corral like things into piles, it only takes a second to toss stray paper and items that you don’t need. This will keep you from having to do it in a later step.
Go ahead and put all subjects together. Math books with math books, science with science, history with history, etc.
Now you’ll have several piles laid out and you will have a place to begin sorting through curriculum.
Step 3: Sort Through the Piles
Now the fun part! I go through each pile one-by-one. At this point, there are several things that can be done with used curriculum. I have the choice to keep half used material for the next year or for a younger child, in which case it goes in the keep pile. I have the choice to throw away anything that has been used up or was perishable. I can also choose to save anything as a keepsake or to put in a yearly portfolio. Maybe a completed workbook could go in the yearly portfolio instead of being thrown away, or instead of keeping all the worksheets from a particular unit, I’ll keep a sampling of them and throw the rest of them away. This is especially helpful to keep paper clutter down.
As I sort through the piles I make sure to also see how many pens, pencils, crayons, paper clips, markers, etc. I have. If I still have a large stock of them, I know I won’t need to buy more the for the next school year. Things like crayons get broken, lost and used up throughout the year, so I know they will probably need to be replaced. I usually have a surplus of pens and pencils so they don’t need to be bought again.
Step 4: Put Everything Away
After all the piles have been sorted through, it’s time to put everything away for the next year. We homeschool through the summer, but very lightly. So most material can be put away and stored until next school year begins.
At this point, my closet is clean and has more empty space that can be filled in when I do my back-to-school shopping in the fall.
I’ll be ready to start another year fresh!
How do you tackle homeschool organization at the end of the year? What tips do you have for closing out the school year and getting ready for the next one? Share your ideas in the comments below!