One of the biggest challenges to homeschooling – based on what I hear at homeschool support meetings and read on homeschooling forums – is clutter!! I think we all have times when we wonder if there is really a floor under all that stuff in the living room. We have been known to search for days for a book. Let’s talk a little about clutter in a homeschooling house!
Causes of clutter
- Kids who are educated at home spend most of the day at home, giving them lots of opportunity to make clutter – there’s also lots of opportunity to clean it up, but somehow THAT seems to happen far more rarely!!
- Homeschooling families generally have lots of educational supplies and books (even when we use the library regularly – how does that happen?).
- Homeschooling parents are so busy educating the kids and making sure that the family is fed that housework often gets pushed aside.
Aggravating factors for our family (I’m sure you have your own list)
- It’s hard for me to keep up with household clutter with my frequent headaches.
- Our current house is too small for our stuff. Of course, Mr. Math Tutor would say that we have too much stuff for our house. Whatever.
- Living in The Great White North, we have snow for 3-4 months which means that we have lots of added coats, gloves, hats, scarves, etc. to add to our mix of stuff.
How to deal with the clutter (Please note that I’m not remotely an expert here – I’m just giving you ideas that work for me and I’ll be asking you to comment and tell us what has worked in your home.)
- Daily chores – My kids have chores to do every day that include keeping the living room vacuumed (requiring that it is at least straightened first). We’re not perfect about getting them done all the time, but it’s a start.
- Bookcases – We have bookcases filled with books in the living room, dining room , schoolroom (Rosie Girl’s and Mr. Math Tutor’s office), sunroom (my and Wild Man’s office), the landing of the stairway, the upstairs hallway, the master bedroom, and Rosie Girl’s bedroom. In fact, every room except the bathroom and Wild Man’s room has at least one bookcase. (The bathroom is too small and humid, and Wild Man just keeps a pile of books near his desk in his room.)
- Boxes – I keep the rest of our supplies in plastic boxes (Rubbermaid or Sterilite). So, there is a box with microscope slides, another with dissection supplies, another with various art supplies, etc. These boxes are kept in closets in the schoolroom and in the basement. (By the way, I just adore these sliding trays in the schoolroom!! We keep games on the top three shelves and plastic boxes on the bottom two.)
- Each child has their own desk. Rosie Girl and Mr. Math Tutor share an office (in what we call the schoolroom) in which they both have desks. Rosie Girl works at her desk some of the time, but it is a good place for her to store her things. Wild Man’s desk is in the sunroom with my desk. Every few months, I have the kids clean up their desks.
- School throughout the house. We didn’t have any room for a world map in our schoolroom, so we put it in the dining room. Now, we have a world and US map in our dining room. It’s actually rather convenient because we refer to it during dinner time discussions more often than we expected! We use whatever space is available!
- Library basket – I keep a large basket in the living room for library books. Of course, the kids end up taking the books to their rooms, but before they start reading a book or after they are done with it, the books (or CDs) go into the library basket. This shortens the book search right before our library trips.
- Phone baskets – We have an antique radio (a large piece of furniture) in our dining room that mostly just looks nice. I put four baskets on the radio along with a power strip so that we can all keep our phones in the baskets when they’re not in use and they can be charged using the power strip. The kids can also use the power strip to charge their video games. Our family whiteboard is right above this.
So, what about you? How do you manage clutter in your home? Enquiring minds want to know!! I want to know!!
Check out Thirsty Thursday for more great homeschooling posts!