Well, this is embarrassing:
Our classroom – the space where my kids are supposed to actually learn – recently looked like the above photo. Clearly, we needed to do something about this before the upcoming school year.
So my kids and I purged. Normally, I like to rip the bandaid off and just get the job done, but we were so worn out from our gigantic office renovation that just thinking about spending full days decluttering made us want to cry. So we went up to the schoolroom for an hour or two several different times before moving on to something more enjoyable.
It took a few weeks, but slowly and surely, we chose things to get rid of. Anything they’ve grown out of – gone. Beginning reader phonics sets – gone! Fun science supplies that were given to us but we haven’t touched in two years? Also gone!
Within a few weeks, we had a very large pile of items we weren’t keeping. Things on the left are for donation, items on the right are trash:
Whether you’re homeschooling or just need a place for your kids to put their backpacks and do their homework, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Get rid of a ton of stuff.
If you’re constantly moving around junk and it takes your kids hours and hours to clean their bedroom or school area, then you probably have too much stuff. Purge, purge, purge!
2) Group like items.
I talk about grouping like items more in this article about conquering kids’ clutter, but basically, if you have crayons in 5 different places and Legos all over the house, it’s difficult for your kids to find what they need and to clean up their own things. Solve this problem by grouping like items, purging the excess, and storing supplies you use often in easily accessible containers.
3) Make sure your system is easy to maintain.
If your kids use something for 10 minutes but it takes 2 hours to clean up, the item probably isn’t worth the hassle. Toss it.
Likewise, a complicated system of color coded beads or craft supplies is likely just going to get mixed up and will take hours to clean. Have a bead box and let the colors be mixed together. If your child really wants an item to be color coded, they’re welcome to color code the items on their own free time 😉
4) Take a day off to declutter.
I know the idea of taking a day off just to declutter sounds scary, but hear me out on this one! Whatever time you lose by taking a day off of school, work, or other activities will quickly be gained back when you’re not searching for needed items.
When your kids are studying hard in their freshly organized space, you’ll know it was completely worth your effort.
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