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?