Back-to-Homeschool: Five Tips for Organizing the Schoolroom

(This post was updated 8-22-19)

It’s finally here! We’re starting back to our regular school schedule. I love to be back into a routine. While I’m not sure that the kids are as excited as I am, I do believe they have a little happy anticipation of a new year as well. Summer break, although nice and- sometimes- relaxing, gets old after a while, and we all look forward to schoolwork to help give our days a little more structure and routine.

When the kids were younger, we schooled year round. but August was still the time of year when we moved to the new year’s curriculum. Now that kids are older and schedules are different, we keep a more traditional schedule, which means that back-to-school really does mean back to routines and structure and school work.

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom
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We have a pretty small house for six people. And we have lots of “stuff.” Over the years I’ve become pretty heartless at throwing away “stuff”, but I’ve also become pretty creative in storing it. Our schoolroom is an excellent example.

Our schoolroom- like that of many homeschool families- has several other functions. It isn’t just a schoolroom. Our schoolroom is our dining room. It also holds our pantry shelves and second refrigerator. And it serves as a play space for my younger girls because the room that they share with their older sister doesn’t have much room for playing. We do lots of hands on school activities, so we always have all kinds of craft supplies on hand. I also have school books and materials for four children- and myself. And, because I love to read living books to the kids and these books have a prominent place in our curriculum, we have a large home library (over 1500 books last time I cataloged them!).

Finding a place for all the “stuff” in the schoolroom while trying to keep things organized can sometimes prove challenging. But there are a few key things I do to organize our schoolroom. And I’d recommend these if you’re trying to make a small space work and do double (or triple) duty for your schoolroom.

Repurpose old furniture.

I have an old (possibly antique) wardrobe, given to us by friends when they couldn’t find a place for it. Inside this beautiful old wardrobe are little cubby holes. They were there when we inherited the wardrobe. This setup is perfect for all of our odds and ends craft supplies. I take all kinds of cast off pieces of tissue paper, cardboard, ribbon, yarn, foam. One never knows what extremely creative ideas a kid may have for these items. All of these things find their way into our wardrobe, waiting to be used.

Sometimes you can find cast off furniture at Goodwill or Salvation Army stores for a steal. Think about how you can repurpose furniture pieces as great storage places.

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom

Use plenty of plastic bins and boxes.

Plastic bins are some of my favorite accessories for the schoolroom. When the kids store their books in plastic bins, they can carry them to different rooms as needed. I use a plastic bin to organize my books that are currently in use in the classes I’m still doing together with the younger girls.

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom

Besides being convenient for carrying supplies from place to place, plastic bins and boxes are also great for organizing supplies. These plastic drawers are labeled and hold supplies like markers, glue, pens and pencils.

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom

Do periodic schoolroom clean-outs.

It’s easier to keep things organized if you have fewer things to keep organized. Makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s also easier to keep things organized if you keep a handle on it and don’t let things get crazily out of order. 
I clean out the bins, boxes, and other storage places every time we take a school break. I throw away mercilessly. And I put things back where they belong when they’ve wandered away. This practice keeps the schoolroom at least mostly organized…most of the time.

Have lots and lots of shelves.

I love my bookshelves. In our schoolroom, though, shelves don’t just store books. We also have shelves for our board games as well as shelves for our hands on manipulatives, puzzles, and toys. My strategy is to squeeze shelves in every available space. They make more room which means we can store more things. These terrific, huge, floor to ceiling shelves were also hand me downs that were being tossed. In our schoolroom, they go a long way towards storing all our books. A few years ago I cataloged them using Library Thing, and we had over 1500 at that time!
Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom

Use labels.

I label everything. Our supply drawers are labeled. Our book shelves are organized by genre and labeled. Kids supplies are labeled. Labels help you find things at a glance. My strategy is to label, label, label.

If you have little people, labels can serve a dual purpose. As well as helping you- and the kids- to know where things go, they’ll help kids begin to recognize letters and words.

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom
Where do you homeschool? Have any favorite tips for organizing?

Back-to-homeschool Organizing your schoolroom

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