Every year, we start out with a wonderfully organized system of file folders, binders, whiteboards, and more. It goes well for about a month, perhaps, but then…well, the clutter sets in.
Pretty soon, your dining room table is used for everything but dining and your 6th grader hasn’t seen his math book in at least a week.
We figure we’ll get to it after the holidays. All we need is a break, right? We’ll get back on track.
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That’s partly true. It is incredibly important to take breaks in order to rest and refresh, but breaks alone won’t solve the problem.
So how do you handle the clutter without losing your mind (or your temper)?
Clutter Buster #1: Purge Gently!
This may go against a lot of other advice you’ve heard, but when it comes to homeschool supplies, a light hand is often best. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to repurchase something (often at full price) because I got rid of it too soon!
If there are books, supplies, or resources that you may need in the future but you’re not using right now, it’s ok to get them out of the way. Just keep them where you can find them again. You’ve already paid for them once, there’s no reason to do so again!
Here are some easy ways to do this:
- If you have multiple bookcases, set one aside for these books and resources. Chances are, you’ll study Human Body or American History more than once. When that study comes around again, you’ll be able to go right to the shelf to grab your books!
- Go to a local bookstore on truck day and ask them to save you some boxes. These boxes are the perfect size and strength for storing books, and they’re often similar sizes. This makes them really easy to store! Just be sure to label the box and store them somewhere dry.
Clutter Buster #2: Set up a Swap!
If you’re looking to swap some items, chances are some other homeschool moms in your area are too! A swap can be super easy to set up, and it can save quite a bit of money.
Just be sure to keep track of what goes where – that way, you can give back what you’ve borrowed and get back what you’ve lent!
If you need a way to easily do that, I’ve created a free curriculum swap tracker. Just download it and you’re ready to go!
Clutter Buster #3: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Sometimes, in the midst of making sure we’re keeping good records, we tend to keep a bit more than we should. (Who here has ever come across a box full of worksheets from three years ago?)
If you live in a state that doesn’t require evaluations, there really isn’t a reason to keep those worksheets after you’ve graded them.
Projects and papers that your child is proud of can easily be kept. I still have several, and my son (who’s now 20) still likes to see them every once in a while! For the daily worksheets, though…it really is ok to get rid of them.
Feel free to throw them away, but if you’d rather not, here are some creative ideas to reuse and recycle:
- Use them as scratch pads or practice paper, especially if the worksheets are one-sided! Why use up your perfectly good copy or notebook paper when you can reuse the blank side of a worksheet?
- Use them for project supplies. With a coat of paint or as a base for a collage, no one will ever know that your child’s latest masterpiece was once a spelling test. And I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t get a kick out of turning their homework into a fleet of paper airplanes!
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter and Organize your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets (Plus Free Full Downloads)Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with StuffUnstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good
Clutter Buster #4: Plan Ahead
Now, we all plan ahead, but when convention season comes, we often forget what we already have. Keep track of your texts, books, and supplies to make it easy on yourself!
To help with this, Techie Homeschool Mom has created a free resource to help you keep track of all of your downloadable items. While this is amazing in and of itself (because let’s face it, out of sight, out of mind), you can also use it to keep track of your physical books and kits!
When you have everything logged in one place, you won’t have to worry about cluttering up your homeschool with duplicates. And you’ll be able to effectively use everything you have!
Clutter Buster #5: Get Your Family Involved!
Now, this one might seem a bit counterintuitive…especially when your family is probably contributing to the clutter! However, there are some really effective ways to teach your kids to keep it under control.
And once everyone is working together to that end, the clutter is much easier to deal with!