Before getting into all the homeschool storage solutions I have for you, let me first say this: Homeschool organization is about practicality and not merely about good looks. A Pinterest perfect homeschool room will do you no good unless it's functional for your family and your children love learning within those walls.
Also, with kids around all day every day, there is no way to keep your homeschool area in order unless your organization system is sustainable with everyone doing his part to keep it tidy. The burden can't fall solely on you, mom.
Benjamin Franklin said, "A place for everything, everything in its place." Wise words, but along the way, I've learned a few tricks to make things look organized even when they might not really be as neat as I would prefer.
When I think of practical, affordable, and sustainable storage solutions for my homeschool, I gravitate towards these eight solutions. You likely have many of these around the house already, so you can repurpose them to organize your homeschool.
Baskets are a versatile way to keep things looking organized. They are great to store read-aloud books, readers, CDs, DVDs, manipulatives, and even games.
Create inviting reading spaces around the house using baskets with favorite books for your children. For example, I keep baskets of books under our coffee table in the living room and other baskets of books beside sitting areas. I notice that the more I expose and make books available throughout the house, the more my kids read. Keeping them in a basket appears more tidy than in off kilter stacks.
2. Totes & Bins
I am obsessed with totes and bins. (Now you know one of my weaknesses.) I use large utility totes to organize homeschool books, board games, office supplies, craft supplies, etc.
Totes and bins are great ways to keep bookshelves looking organized no matter what state things are inside. They also add color and beauty to your area. I especially use them to store books of different sizes and odd shapes that don't look even on bookshelves.
3. Plastic Containers
Plastic containers come in every size and shape to help you store anything you need from paper clips to board games. I use plastic shoe boxes to organize my office supplies and large ones to organize what I call learning boxes. Inside my Geography Learning Box, I keep geography games, atlases, and map puzzles. Inside my Math Learning Box I keep math manipulatives, dice, flash cards, math games, etc. I also have a learning box for literacy.
One advantage of using plastic containers is I can see what is stored inside. You can label them and stack them together in a bookshelf or in a closet to maximize space. For example, I keep plastic containers with beads, crayons, and scraps of foam and paper underneath our coffee table for fun craft time.
What better way to organize our homeschool paper clutter than with binders? I have binders for everything and everyone in our homeschool.
My main binder is big and bold. It contains our Sonlight Instructor's Guide for Bible, Literature, and History. This big binder is divided into 36 weeks for the year with notes I need to teach my children. Sonlight Instructor's Guides are perfect for busy homeschool moms who need an open and teach curriculum. You can peek inside these awesome instructor guides here.
But instead of opening this big binder and teaching from it daily, I transfer four to six weeks of lessons at a time to a smaller binder. Smaller binders take less space and are much lighter to carry around. I use small binders for our Sonlight Language Arts curriculum and our Science curriculum.
Each of my children has their own binder as well, divided by days of the week from Monday to Friday for their worksheets. Binders are also great to keep samples of your children's work if your state requires a portfolio.
5. Magazine Holders
Magazine holders help me sort books and resources by subjects. It is one of the best ways to make your bookcase look very pretty and organized even for floppy things that don't stand up well on their own.
You can use magazine holders to store spiral notebooks, planners, printables, clipboards, binders and even DVDs. I love the floral magazine holders I bought recently at our local dollar store and a new set of yellow ones I bought at IKEA for only $7.
6. Over the Chair Storage Pockets
This homeschool organization solution of mine came from the dollar store. I can't stop telling my readers and homeschool friends about it. I spent only $1 on each and I love how practical it is.
These over the chair storage pockets hold so much:
- my kids' clipboards
- weekly checklists for chores and homeschool assignments
- file folders with projects underway
- workbooks like Explode the Code and Spelling You See
The pockets help my children to be more independent and prepared with exactly what they need. Thankfully, the pockets also help this mama to keep her table clean and her homeschool space organized. When we have guests over for dinner, I simply remove the over the chair storage pockets and put them away.
7. Mason Jars
Mason jars are a great way to store pens, pencils, markers, paper clips, scissors, and chore sticks. These jars can be inexpensive if you buy them in bulk at your local supermarket. And, of course, many grocery items come in glass jars that can be repurposed as storage solutions.
Another great way to use Mason jars is to store arts and crafts supplies. You can store cotton balls, buttons, popsicle sticks, craft stems, straws and so much more in jars. And why not ask your children to decorate the jars as well? My daughters love to decorate Mason jars with washi tapes and add chalkboard labels to them.
Organizing our homeschool books in workbox drawers has worked wonders for us. We only need one set of 10 workbox drawers for all three children, and we organize them by the daily order in which we use them.
From top to bottom, I use the first drawers for subjects we read together—the Couch Subjects™. The next drawers are for my two oldest children's Language Arts curriculum, and finally, the two bottom drawers are for my youngest.
This method works well for our family, but there are other ways to use workboxes to organize your homeschool. For instance, my friend has a set of workbox drawers for each student numbered from 1 to 10 following the sequence of her daily homeschool routine. This works well for them.
No matter what solutions you use, if you have too much stuff, your homeschool area will feel crowded. So continually simplify and get rid of (or pack away) unnecessary things. You only need what you are currently using at reach around your homeschool space. There is no point to keep or display what you are not needing at the moment.
Aim for homeschool spaces that are inviting, comfortable and engaging. You truly can organize your homeschool without spending a lot of money.
Do you have a favorite homeschool organization tip to share with us? I am always on the lookout for new ideas to help me best organize my homeschool.