One of the things that surprised me the most during our first year of homeschooling was the amount of stuff we accumulated, not that any of it is required. As I found myself tweaking our days and wanting to incorporate more fun, I was plundering around the house and cleaning out toy boxes, visiting yard sales and the Dollar Store and surfing the internet for ideas.
The only problem was… we have a small home. We have three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a living room, a small laundry room, a dining area which is attached to our kitchen and that. is. it. I don’t have a classroom set aside for school and try not to be jealous of those who do. We sit at the kitchen table or on the sofa or in the floor to have school. I needed somewhere to put all of this stuff that was piling up on my kitchen counter but I didn’t have the space to add any cabinets. So, I had to re-purpose what I had available. We use our dining area for the primary school “room” and can use the kitchen or outdoors for science. Lira sits at the dining table and the boys have a smaller child-size card table with matching chairs that I pull out for school time and then put away when we are done. For projects that require a lot of space, we have to move to the living room area.
To the extreme right of the picture is the china hutch and between the shelves and hutch is a three drawer Sterilite organizer on wheels, which is where I stash certain crafty things like glue and Do-A-Dots that I use throughout the week. Items that I want kept out of harms way or that we rarely use are kept in a kitchen cabinet on the other side of a baby gate.
There is not a lot of space available between the table and the shelves. But, this was the only wall available for some bookcases that we picked up at a thrift sale for $10 each. Insert the plastic bins from the Dollar Store and we are ready for workboxes!
A Make-Shift Filing Cabinet
Don’t laugh, but most of the furniture in our home we put together ourselves. The frugal side of me just didn’t want to invest in expensive furniture while our children were at such a destructive young age. So, the picture is a china hutch that came from Kmart. The top of the hutch is used for displaying the china we were given at our wedding and the bottom hides my make-shift filing cabinet.
When school gets ready to start in the fall, Walmart will put those plastic crates on sale for half price or at least they have for the past two years. They are only there for about a week so be ready! These crates are a perfect fit for hanging file folders. (I will give you more information on my filing system on another day.) The drawer you see in the middle (missing the drawer faceplate and decorated with a heart sticker by one of my children, much to my chagrin) is packed with rulers, calculators, binder clips, pencils, rubber stamps and more. Then, a little higher up you can see my plastic storage boxes for math manipulatives and language arts accessories. It really was a struggle for me to stack those plastic storage boxes and the globe where they would be seen by guests but I needed the space.
Storing the Bigger Stuff
In the boys’ bedroom, we had a wall unit constructed of these white shelves from the Walmart brand of Closetmaid stackables. I cleaned out the hall closet and moved the shelves in to give me a place to store the larger items we use during schooling, including board games, learning toys, puzzles and more. (Please ignore the vacuum cleaner.) So, the point of this Blueprints post is this:
- Don’t feel limited by the lack of space in your home.
- Be prepared for the stuff that goes along with homeschooling if you want to avoid your flat spaces being over-run by stacks of stuff.
- Re-purpose the space you have to make room for your school.
Where do you have homeschool and store your supplies?
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