If you’re anything like me, accumulating homeschool supplies and books is so much fun. But organizing it all can be a headache!
Whether you are keeping up with the day-to-day supplies and resources or considering year-to-year storage, organizing can be a challenge for any homeschool family. Learning organization tricks can not only help the daily routine move more smoothly, it can also ensure that your reusable resources endure for many years.
Tips for Staying Organized
Here are a few tips for keeping all of your resources well organized!
Organizing with Crates
Purchase plastic crates and assign one to each child and one (or two, if needed) to yourself. Use hanging file folders to hold books, notebooks, and completed work. Only put in the crate the books that will be needed for the upcoming week, leaving the rest on bookshelves or in tubs.
Crayons, pens, pencils, scissors, glue sticks, calculators, rulers, protractors, and a variety of other little supplies need a place, too. To store these, use a crate cover with pockets, look for small baskets that can hook over the edges of the crate, make small bags with velcro loops that can attach through the holes of the crate, or line the bottom of a small crate with a piece of cardboard.
If bookshelves are more accessible than space for crates, there are several ways to maximize space. Plastic drawer sets often fit nicely on a bookshelf. Chalkboard, laminate, or other forms of erasable labels allow you to keep track of what’s in each drawer. Small supply crates can double as bookends. Turn these crates on their side so pencil boxes or pouches can slide right into place at the end of the day. Instead of taking up space with bookends to separate subjects or the books of various students, label file folders and slide them between books section, keeping the labels visible.
E-books can be a huge blessing for a book-loving family with limited shelf space. You can also often borrow digital versions of books, saving both space and money. Completed work can also be stored digitally! Scan or snap a picture of a project, a lesson plan tear-out sheet, or even that math lesson you are afraid of losing. Create folders on your computer or in the cloud to keep everything organized until you need it to grade a paper, create a portfolio, or build a transcript. You can also have your older students complete writing assignments on the computer to reduce the need for paper or notebooks.
Storing with Tubs
When it comes time to decide how to store non-consumables for future usage, easily stackable, small to medium plastic storage tubs are a space saving option. For additional space saving, consider storage options that can serve double-duty as furniture or easily slide under a bed or couch.
Before you pack everything away at the end of the year, evaluate it closely and be very critical about whether or not you will use it again. If you will reuse it, sort and store by grade, history cycle, or subject so you can easily find what you need when the time comes. If you won’t be using it again, either sell it or bless another family with it.
Regardless of your organizational system, the easiest way to stay on top of the chaos is to make it a daily process. At the end of each school day, recruit your children to help you put away all school books and supplies, go ahead and snap a picture of that completed lesson plan page, place work that needs to be graded in a predetermined location, and make sure all books are neat. Five minutes of daily clean-up goes a long way toward avoiding chaotic build-up.
How does organization fit into your planner personality? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to find out!