Top Ten Places to Store Your Homeschool Stuff

Top Ten {Tuesday}

We used to have a homeschool room.  It served us well for many years.  We were ready for the move when it came time to more fully integrate our homeschool day into our plain, ordinary, living life day.  The biggest challenge?  Where to stuff store all our homeschool stuff.  In this week’s Top Ten, I’ll share some tips that have worked great for our homeschool storage needs.

1.  Workboxes.  We’ve gotten farther and farther away from how you’re really supposed to do workboxes.  There for awhile, we at least maintained the spirit.  Now, they’re pretty much just storage boxes, but I love them!

These great little boxes keep everyone’s school stuff organized.  There are file folders for workbooks, papers and folders, and the binders and thicker books just stand up neatly in the back.  Everyone can take their boxes and go work wherever they’re comfortable, then, put everything back inside and return the box to the dining room for me to check work at the end of the day.

2.  Pencil pouches.  You know the nice, heavy-duty pencil pouches with the three holes for placing them in binders?  I attached one to each of the kids workboxes with binder rings.  Now the kids can store their pens, pencils, scissors, glue sticks — basically whatever will fit into the pouch — and have it handy while they’re doing their work.

3.  Our China hutch.  Hey, whoever said China hutches were just for china?  Ours has a large storage area underneath that works great for storing things that we use regularly, but keeping them out-of-sight since my husband isn’t a huge fan of having our dining room look like a schoolroom.  (He’s coming around.)

4.  Potato bin.  My grandfather made this awesome potato bin that I wound up with after he passed away.  I tried actually storing potatoes in it for awhile, but I’m more of a “bottom drawer in the fridge” potato-storin’ kinda gal.  So, I repurposed it as a homeschool storage bin.  The top is mostly for craft supplies, while the bottom is the perfect size for storing CDs and DVDs.

5.  Bookshelf.  Okay, so maybe most families don’t have bookshelves in their dining rooms, but I bet it’s not terribly unusual for homeschooling families.  Not only does ours hold books, but it also houses our electric pencil sharpener (love that thing!), stapler, tape, supply boxes and more.  The bookshelf is the spot where we keep those things that we use every day.

6.  Mini file box.  I have this great mini file box that holds hanging file folders.  I keep it under my China hutch filled with all kinds of paper — lined school paper, construction paper, cardstock.  It’s just the right size to keep papers handy and easily accessible.

7.  Presentation board.  Okay, so maybe this doesn’t seem, at first, to meet a storage need, but wait…when I was homeschooling my niece, I used a presentation board to make a great, portable learning center for her.  I didn’t have anywhere to keep something out on a more permanent basis, like I did when Josh and Megan were younger, so I improvised.  The presentation board made a great preschool learning center that could be folded and stored behind — where else? — my China hutch at the end of each day.

8.  Storage boxes.  I got some great stacking storage boxes at Lowe’s once upon a time.  They’re the perfect size for stacking in — yeah, okay, you probably know where.  They house our reading and math manipulatives.  I also have another storage container for our art supplies.  I won’t tell you what it sits on top of.  It may or may not rhyme with mina touch.

9.  Backpacks.  Backpacks make great portable storage.  The most-used one that we have stays in the back of our van with all of our nature study supplies in it — sketch pads, colored pencils, field guides, binoculars, and magnifying glass.  It’s always ready for a nature study trip and I never have to worry about packing up all the supplies and potentially forgetting something at home.

10.  Supply caddy. The school supply caddy idea that I got from Jamie has been wonderful!  I like it even better than the individual supply boxes that we used for years.  Everything is right at our fingertips and, when all the crayons or colored-pencils get spread out all over the table, it doensn’t matter whose are whose since they’re now community property.

What are your favorite homeschool storage tricks?

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Comments

  1. LEENA7 says

    Hi, I came across your blog and I love it. I have been going through many of your entries. Anyhow, I noticed that you love to draw and are learning. I have several sites for you that have many lessons on them. They are free. yippeee!!!!
    Also, I love your lazy susan idea. If you ever tire of the cute cans..use coffee cups. WE love them because they are easy to take from place to place with the handles, and they dont tip over. There are so many col designs on them too.Here are the links

    I hope these help..
    This first link shows many things to draw..click on the red to be taken to that area..also at the bottom is more…it says cactus but there is many things there
    http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/how-to-draw.htm
    more for kids..cartoon type tings
    http://www.billybear4kids.com/Learn2Draw/Learn2Draw.html
    awesome site, tons of lessons
    http://www.drawspace.com/
    this is from an older book,,but still great
    http://ia350617.us.archive.org/1/items/whattodrawhowtod00lutz/whattodrawhowtod00lutz.pdf
    hundreds of lessons using different things
    http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/lessons/lessons.html
    Jan Brett page lots of lessons
    http://www.janbrett.com/index.html

  2. Rock it like this says

    I try so very hard to organize and keep it all together, but it's everywhere! Books in the kitchen, art supplies in the master bedroom, science stuff in the garage!

  3. Ticia says

    pencil boxes. Lots and lots of pencil boxes. And I'll agree with the bottom of my china hutch being used for school storage, so far it's only one cabinet, but I could see me going past that.

    I love the back to school sales on supplies. At some point I"m going to take a picture of my school areas, this will happen at the imaginary time when they are clean.

  4. MommaMindy says

    I found a small oak hutch that perfectly fit in an empty nook in the living room. It is only school stuff. My best find was a shorter black cabinet with 16 drawers. I have one for scissors, one for colored pencils, one for markers, etc. When we need supplies, we can even just pull the drawer out and bring it to the table. It keeps our small home with no school room still looking like a home.

    Looking forward to your insights to encourage my new school year!

  5. Joyful Learner says

    We're one of the homeschooling families with bookcases in the dining room, not one but three! I'm hoping that there will be enough demand from homeschoolers that having bookcases in the dining room will become fashionable…and even be built in! I love all your ideas especially the backpack for nature study!

  6. Deb says

    I swear, everytime I go to Target, I look for some cute little buckets for our pencils. So far, no luck. I LOVE your caddy and want to make one! Darn it.

    I store a lot of stuff in those little plastic three-drawer-bin-thingamabobs. The drawers are just the right size to hold 9×11 sheets of paper. And since we have to have every kind of paper known to man Just In Case…

  7. Gwen Toliver says

    You mean not everyone has bookshelves in their dining room?? :)

    You have some great ideas – right now, we're in a big house and have a large schoolroom. BUT we're in the middle of moving to TX and it's likely we'll be short on space. So some of these ideas will definitely be implemented. Thanks!!!

  8. LEENA7 says

    HI..ME AGAIN..I HAVE WAY TOO MANY BOOKS.STILL NOT SURE WHAT IS CONSIDERED A REASONABLE AMOUNT. LOL..
    ANYHOW, I USE THE BOTTTOM OF MY HUTCH TOO, PLUS WE HAVE A DOWNSTAIRS RESTROOM THAT I PUT A SKINNY BUT TALL CUPBOARD IN AND IT HAS PAINTS AND THINGS IN IT.
    ALSO, ONE OF MY BET IDEAS HAS BEEN ONE OF THOSE PLASTIC THINGS WITH DRAWERS IN IT. I GOT THE 6 DRAWR ONE AND ITS SO GREAT FOR ALL OF OUR CRAFT SUPLIES. PLUS, THE TOP DRAWER IS JUST THE RIGHT SIZE FOR OUR PAQGE PROTECTERS. SINCE THEY NOW COME IM DIFFERENT COLORS, THEY FIT IN BETTER.
    I ALSO GOT A FEW OF THOSE PLASTIC SHOE BOXES FROM THE DOLAR STORE. I PUT ALL THE THINGS I BOUGHT IN BULK AND POT OUR EXTRAS IN THEM. LIKE GLUE STICKS, ROLS OF TAPE, ETC.THEY FIT RIGHT UNDER THE BED. HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE.

  9. alecat says

    One thing teachers in schools have going for them are all those little cupboards and drawers around the room, and all the wall space. As homeschoolers, we have to be creative and make all that fit into our living spaces, and I think you've done a fabulous job!!! :)

    And … may I say … that a friend and I were discussing the best way to use workboxes with 5 children. I think your modification is perfect! I'll let her know the link to this article so she can peruse, too. :)

    Catherine (aka alecat)

  10. Crow Family of 5 says

    I can totally relate to bookshelves in the dining room too. We had 2 though, and we when starting doing workboxes, it just got to be too much. Our house is very open and it just took over the upstairs. So…we moved everything downstairs last year and changed our playroom into our school room. Now I have 3 bookcases, 2 small ones and one large one. We still move upstairs to the dining room table and living room sofas some days, but at least it stays in one room downstairs for the most part.

  11. Kendra says

    Our dining room doubles as our school room as well. We started our first year on the lowest level of our split-level, but the room was just too cold, so we moved to the dining room rather reluctantly, and it's been that way ever since. We're in year 5, and now I love schooling them at the table where we're all on the same level. We do half our school at the table and half on the couch. What I DON'T love is that school is always present in the dining area. School things have to be cleared for lunch if we're not quite done. We don't have a china hutch, but I love the idea of getting something like that eventually, a cabinet maybe. Right now, we have two sets of bookshelves on which everything is organized but still doesn't look very nice for a dining room. It works. :) This year, I managed to get all of the stuff I wanted to keep posted on the wall which can't be seen as well from the living room couches, so I'm happy with that. It gives me a little bit of respite from my school day. ;)

  12. Kendra says

    Also….I organize supplies in what is meant to be a scrapbooking/craft caddy that I found at Wal-mart. It has four main compartments and lots of pockets. Everything fits neatly into a pocket or pouch including markers, pencils, pens, stapler, single hole punch, scissors, flash cards, glue sticks, Elmer's glue, colored pencils and the center is even the perfect size for my daughter's 1st grade writing paper so that it's easily accessible (it doesn't fit into a notebook very well).

  13. Toni says

    Definitely the china cabinet. I bought one on Craigslist this summer and painted it spiced tea. Now it's my teacher's cabinet and I LOVE it. The kids store daily work in cubicles on a shelf I bought at Big Lots. And we have a window seat in the room. I store infrequent items in there (ie. computer paper supplies).
    Blessings,
    Toni

  14. Homeschooling Peeps says

    I smiled as I read your list. We have used most of your storage ideas including our china hutch.The problem at our house is that nothing stays where it belongs. Most of the time you will find books, papers, folders and other supplies scattered on tables, couches, beds and floors throughout the house. Amazingly, everyone seems to be able to find their work and get it done. I guess they have created their own special organized chaos :)

  15. Sandy says

    My very favorite thing for organizing school is magazine holders. These are usually plastic but you can get them made of metal, wood or covered with fabric. They are great for holding all those workbooks. No more books falling over, bent, with their covers coming off after only a few months!

  16. Amber says

    The dining room! I am just starting homeschooling and am blessed with a small linen closet that I can dedicate several shelves of, but I need a bookcase somewhere. Now I know where to put it!

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