Organizing is essential to ensure your school day runs smoothly, but that is closely followed by a system that makes it quick and easy to use in the midst of a school day. If you need to take the time to gather and organize books or supplies at the time for several students, you can see how this will add several minutes onto your day. The work you put into organizing and arranging everything proactively will pay off exponentially with an efficiently run school day.
In a future post on organization I will be sharing how we store extra school supplies and things like that, so that is where you will find storage ideas for more basic things. We stock up on school supplies every year when everything goes on sale during the summer, so we usually have more than enough of these things to go around during the year with plenty of leftovers, too. Last year I didn’t even have to buy anything because we had such a surplus from the prior year.
We are blessed to have a school closet, but I know of people who have done this same sort of thing with an armoire for instance. It really is easiest to keep everything book wise in a contained place. At times my oldest has kept books and things up in her room, much to my dislike, but eventually they migrate back into the school closet.
I have tried numerous ways of storing everything in the closet through the years including everyone having their own bins, which I think was great in theory, but just too hard to maneuver with taking the bins in and out, or leaving them in the closet and then digging through them to find what they needed. Neither ended up working well, so we did away with that. The kids’ things are on the two bottom shelves in this picture. So, this means that everything my five kids use on a daily basis fits on these two shelves.
What I have decided I like best is containers like these, Snap-N-Store Jumbo Magazine File Box, Black Fiberboard with Content Label Holder, 4.50 Inches Width x 11.25 Inches Depth (SNS01637), I keep them labeled so as long as the supplies are put away properly the kids will be able to easily find what they are looking for. I really like these because they are not plastic and therefore seem to be more durable. They are also collapsible, which makes it so nice to store extras. We have had to tape a few that have been looking a bit ragged, but we have had these for about three years, which is about 10 times as long as any of the plastic ones seem to last. What you also see pictured on their shelf is our bin full of math manipulatives. On the shelf that is second from the top are all of my things. My books on character training and school planning and such, and then in the same file bins as the kids use is where I keep all of my quiz and test books and keys.
I am blessed to live in a state that requires no documentation whatsoever. However, I do keep most everything just in case. So on the top shelf are three inch binders in which I keep all the kids’ papers that are completed. These are well organized by student, and then by year and subject. I am not aware of the things that some states require, but I do keep essentially everything so I would think you won’t be storing much more than I do, if anything more at all.
Thus far in this closet I can store things for five students. The very bottom of the closet is filled with some things we use occasionally and books that we will be using in the near future, so I didn’t even show it in the picture since it’s basically extra stuff.
The things that take up the most room to store, however, are the school games, cards, busy bags, CDs, and other things I spoke of here and here. These things I store in a different place, and in my home I wanted these things up high where the littles can’t get to them. I wanted their “school” things to be used during school time only, that way they are special and don’t get boring due to overuse. One bin is our CD and book bin that includes the CDs I made that I spoke of here. Each CD is numbered right on it, and I made a list with each CD listed and what books go along with that CD. If I read a Thomas book on CD#3, that book will be listed under CD#3 on my list, and so on.
In the grey bins are all of the busy bags and craft supplies, then you can also see things such as leap pads, our felt boards, various large floor puzzles, and a big bin of wooden puzzles. Inside these bins everything is all organized very well. I will go into detail in a later post on the busy bags we love, so you can look forward to that. I am hoping to get some new ones made soon, too, we need some new things to keep the littles motivated to play on their own. In the craft bin I have each craft in its own manila envelope with everything needed for that particular craft such as paper, glue stick and scissors. That way, someone only needs to grab the envelope and go.
I hope I have given you some ideas on how to keep everything organized that you can apply to the space and layout that you have in your home. The key is just to put the time in now to help things along during the day. If you are having older kids help with the younger kids as I do, everything needs to be even more user friendly for them, too, as there is nothing more difficult than trying to find things and explain things to one person while you are trying to teach someone else. Just as mine has, I’m sure your system will grow and change as your needs grow and change.
You can find the first post in the homeschooling series here
The second post in the series here
The third post in the series is here
The fourth post in the series is here