Practical & Pretty: {Small Space} Homeschool Organization

6.19.2013



It's summer and I'm going through the house, room by room, cleaning and organizing now that we've taken a deep breath and a couple months off school.
It feels good to get everything tidied back up again, and also to make some adjustments to our current homeschool set up.
{In case you missed my first post on homeschool organization, here it is (warning: super long post!)}.

Around here, we do most of our formal homeschooling at either our breakfast table, or our dining room table, which is adjacent to the breakfast nook.  I do not have a separate "homeschool room" here in our home (for now, that is something that just does not work for us).  Where we do school is also where our family of 6 eats 3 meals a day.  And as you homeschoolin'-around-the--table mamas know, things can get hairy really quickly when a space is doing double-duty like that.

At a glance, here is what our primary homeschool space looked like for the past school year...


This power-packed organizational system served us well last year.  The baskets were great for storing curriculum and craft supplies, and the hanging shoe organizer kept all the small items up and away from little hands, and gave every loose item a home.  I will never not have one of these hanging on my wall or on a door for as long as I homeschool, it was THAT important to us.  I didn't even mind looking at it, mostly because it's sort of tucked away in that little spot just off the kitchen in our breakfast nook.  It was just so amazingly practical and functional.

But I have to be honest, I needed more surface space! I had no place to set things when I wanted to clean up real quick for a meal or another activity--everything would have to stay on the table, or go into a pile on the floor, and this problem often made the whole area feel cluttered.
So once school was out, I turned my attention to improving this area.  I decided to bring the larger 8-cubby bookshelf up from the basement to use here, and move the 4-cubby shelf into my girl's room.  I not only doubled my space, but by turning it on it's side, I gained the additional surface space I wanted.



Another change I made was to add a couple of IKEA shelves for displaying pretty things like fresh-cut flowers and bowls of pencils, but mostly, for artwork and books.


Above: the shelves serve as a useful space for putting our unit books on display and Below: the provide a nifty way to display artwork for each of our artist/picture studies this coming year.
  If you click over here, you can see I also used one of these little white shelves on the gallery wall in our entry way.  I just love them, and have a feeling I'll be adding more as time goes on.

With the DIY Chalkboard hanging over to the left of the shelves, I decided to re-hang my DIY fabric-covered magnet board in the space on the right (pictured above)...not totally sure I love it there, but I'm going to give it a try for a few months.

 Here's where the magnet board has been for the past 6 months in the kitchen...this was a quickie project that began as a solution for covering up an old phone jack on our kitchen wall, as well as providing a useful space for hanging recipes, photos and notes (our stainless finish fridge is not magnetized).


A fabric-covered magnet board is cool because a) it's covered in fabric, which automatically softens any space, b) for a couple bucks and a few more dabs of hot glue,  you can remove & change out the fabric on it any ol' time you want and c) It's practical AND pretty...It can hold notecards and pencils for quick lists, but also display a couple pretty embellishments, like my favorite flower pin {tutorial here}.


 Isn't it cute? Holler at me if you reeeeally want to see a full tutorial for this project, because I probably have some pics in the archives from when I made it.
Anyway, for now, I moved it to the homeschool area...

...and now I have to find a new solution for the ugly phone jack in the kitchen.  Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul! Ha! =]


Oh, I almost forgot.  As I was sitting and staring at my shelf today (as I sometimes do, mid-project, to brainstorm) I couldn't help but feel annoyed at some of the random stuff I had on top of the shelf...file trays and electric pencil sharpeners and staplers.  All I could see was CLUTTER. I started thinking, do I really NEED to have an electric stapler (left over from my teaching days) on the bookshelf?  I mean, it's nice, but how much do I really use that thing?  It's not like I have a whole classroom of kids to staple for anymore! So--I unplugged it and put it away for now--the regular ol' stapler will do, and it's stashed in my pocket organizer already.  Still, there was my electric pencil sharpener, taking up a corner of my clean white space.  It was then that I had the genius idea to put that thing into its own pocket in the organizer.  It couldn't fit more perfectly, and it slips in and out easily enough when the shavings need emptied.  Major victories, people.


I also moved the stacking file trays back downstairs.

And now I have about half the shelf-top space clear and clean, which makes this mama VERY happy.

The contents of the baskets themselves have not changed all that much from my first Homeschool Organization Post, but I did bring up the 6 white magazine files shown.  Two of them have construction papers/cardstock/file folders in them, one is empty (for now), one has all our Dover history coloring books and history printables, one holds primer and K-level practice booklets for my boys, and the last one houses all our drawing and watercolor tablets.

I'll have to come back around and update this post once everything is totally in its place on & in my bookshelf, and my hanging organizer, but for now, I just wanted to share the direction we're headed.

Everything is starting to look so gosh-darn neat and tidy, and I'm tickled pink that it can stay like this for a whole 6 weeks!!  =]  Once we start up school again, this pretty little organizational system will really be put to the test.  We'll see very soon how it holds up to our abuse!

What about you?  Are you taking back your house and getting organized for another school year or just soaking up the summer sunshine and not thinking about it yet?

9 comments:

  1. I'm kind of an organization junkie! So, I love seeing what you've done. It's beautiful & functional! Great job, mama! : )

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    1. thanks, Beth! I do so love an organized space :)

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  2. Love how you've woven your homeschool life into your everyday life.It looks wonderful and I like how everything is at your fingertips. Going to pin and tweet this one!

    I'm in the process of doing the big homeschool reorganization for our school year.

    jeannine: waddleeahchaa.com

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    1. Thank you, Jeannine, it' true--I have to weave it into everyday life or it just does not seem to work! I've tried to compartmentalize everything into a "school room" before, but now I know better--with all my children being so young, and my space being fairly small, it just works better doing it this way. Since it all HAS to be out in the open, it's great if it actually looks pretty too :)

      blessings as you begin your new school year,
      Joanna

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  3. This is so lovely! I was looking for some pretty ideas for a post on organizing for homeschool and ran across this post. You've done such a great job of fixing up a small space. I love it all! Lisa~

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  4. I love what you've done! This is exactly what I've been looking for! Where did you find your 8 cube shelf?

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  5. I'm in the process of replicating this. How do you like having your camera and note cards up so high? I have a hard time reaching the top pockets -- wondering if you stand on something, or maybe yours is lower. Do you still love this set up? Have you changed any of the labels? I have a very similar set up so I'm thinking this will work for me too. Thanks for posting --this is beautiful!

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  6. Yes, we still use this system, and I honestly don't know what we did without it. Over the past 2 years, I've moved things in the pockets more to my liking...I now have a lower pocket for camera and chargers for easier access. The notecards as well as stickers and stationary are still up high, which is a bit of a reach, but I'm tall and I can get to it w/out a stool or anything. This year I want to add another tall Ikea cube shelf on the right side.
    In all, I am very, very pleased with it. Good luck getting organized! :) ~Joanna

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  7. Can you give a tutorial on the fabric magnetic board?

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