Organizing Homeschooling Supplies
Organizing homeschooling supplies can feel like an overwhelming task, especially if your teaching style is similar to mine. I’m wild about books; Playing educational games with my kids has proven to be the perfect way to tie our family game nights into our homeschooling lifestyle; Hands-on activities and sensory experiences have made all the difference for the students in my house; but these things do involve a good bit of stuff.
I’ve shared about our family’s journey to minimalism, while also explaining that you will find homeschooling resources all throughout our home.
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- book baskets in the living room – A great spot for library books!
- educational toys and activities in the playroom
- sensory supplies in one of the kitchen cabinets
You get the idea – our entire home is our classroom.
What was once considered a dining room is now what we call our school room, but if you peeked into our house on a weekday morning, you would most likely see my kids either gathered with me at the kitchen table doing morning time or scattered throughout the house doing their daily work.
This is what our homeschool days look like.
As our family has walked through different stages and seasons, we have adjusted our homeschool area to suit our needs at the time. There have been times when I’ve realized that a certain frustration we were facing was simply due to it being time to make a small change to our space or routine because, well, kids get older…the family grows…things are always changing…funny how that happens.
In this blog post, I want to share a few different ideas for organizing homeschool books and homeschooling supplies – homeschool organization tips that have been helpful to us over the years. My hope is that you will find something that catches your eye and helps make your homeschooling life flow more smoothly.
First things first!
Do you need to reduce the amount of homeschool supplies you have? This will look different for every family.
I’ve already explained that my teaching style involves having a lot of stuff on hand, but over the last few years, I have worked hard to consider keeping the very best things and reducing some of the fluff and extras that were simply taking up space, sitting unused.
How about you?
- Are there books you’re ready to share with another family? (I’ve recently sold several stacks of books.)
- When you consider what you have, do you notice you have a plethora of resources that all accomplish the same thing. (I quickly realized I had too many alphabet puzzles and multiple sets of states and capitals flashcards.)
- Are there items your children have outgrown and no one coming behind them to use them? Resources you’ve realized aren’t a good fit for their learning style? Games that don’t accomplish what you had hoped?
- Do you own anything you regret buying? Maybe it’s never been opened and it could be returned?
Before you get started with this task of organizing homeschooling supplies, I would encourage you to ask yourself some hard questions about the things you have.
Would it benefit you to declutter and/or downsize your resources?
As a former classroom teacher, I came into this homeschool mom life with a lot! Some of the resources from days gone by have proven to be valuable while other items have turned out to be a better fit for large classroom use. In recent years, I have taken steps to pass these excess items on to others, but I wish I had started that process earlier. Why? Because reducing the amount of homeschooling resources we have has given us space to appreciate the best of our things, instead of feeling suffocated by an overwhelming number of options that would be utterly impossible to ever fully enjoy.
You may have been thinking it’s time to buy new baskets or containers to organize your stuff, but I have to say, my recent experience with organizing homeschooling resources has involved SELLING baskets and containers because I have drastically reduced the amount of stuff in our spaces. Maybe my situation sounds familiar to you and you know you need to take this first step toward simplifying seriously before you can move on to getting organized.
Next Up, consider your unique space!
- Do you have a dedicated homeschool space? Is it a large room or a small area?
- How can you utilize your family room? The dining room table?
- Is there a nearby cabinet you can use for supplies? Maybe a kitchen cabinet? An extra storage closet in your laundry room?
- Do you have a closet you could use for resources?
- Would an easy access rolling cart be helpful?
- Do you already have a large basket that would suit your needs?
- What problem areas do you have?
Consider these things and then work toward solutions that would suit your family’s unique needs.
Our Homeschool Closet
When we built our home, I knew I was going to want what I’ve always called a Homeschool Closet – a place for my homeschool curriculum and teaching resources. (similar to the resource closets I always had access to in the schools where I once taught) So we closed off what was going to be an open space in our home to create a little walk-in closet that could be used for this very thing.
There is builder-grade wire shelving at the top of the closet (not my first pick, but what was affordable at the time), and then below that, we have put IKEA KALLAX shelves.
What’s on the wiring shelving?
The wire shelving holds these small plastic bins (I found these at Lowe’s years ago.) that each hold small items – resources and activities organized by big concepts.
For example, the math bins include the following types of math manipulatives:
- telling time
- counting money
- math facts
- shapes and patterns
- logic and probability games
With having multiple kiddos going through our homeschool (and the hopes of continuing to grow our family), having these bins organized by overall categories is very helpful – and depending on the way your curriculum is set up, your elementary-age children will be working on some version of each of these concepts year after year.
I have done the same thing with my language arts resources.
These bins have been organized this way for years, and I’ve never had a reason to make a change. It’s also good for me to be able to easily see into the bins and remember I don’t need to purchase any new items to accomplish the teaching and practice of these skills. We already have what we need!
Psst…if you know the same is true for you, stay out of the Target dollar spot! ha!
What is on each IKEA shelving unit?
Below the wire-shelving are the IKEA shelves, and this is where I store homeschool materials, teacher manuals, and our books by topic or season.
A couple of the shelves hold our special seasonal books. For our family, this includes:
- Browse Our Favorite Fall Books
- More Fall Books
- Browse Our Favorite Christmas Books
- More Christmas Books
- Browse our Favorite Easter Books
Another shelf holds the books we use to read along with the library lists in our Five Senses Letter-a-Week Activity Guide – which for as long as I’ve been homeschooling, I’ve always had at least one kiddo doing with me.
Then, in the space that’s left, these shelves hold books that are organized by a given topic/theme.
- human body
- United States History
– again, big topics/overall themes that will be studied year-after-year in our homeschooling.
Our chapter books as well as other everyday books can be found on the book shelves in our school room, in book baskets in our living room, and on small bookcases in our kids’ bedrooms. Our homeschool library can be found throughout our home, and for our family, that is very much on purpose.
The tops of these shelves have been great for holding educational games, puzzles, supplies for science experiments, etc. – most of which have been purchased over the years second-hand.
These are perfect to pull out for family game night!
Want to see the games and puzzles we have on those shelves?
I’ve saved our favorites here for you:
Homeschool Organization Ideas
Want to corral your supplies? These simple little metal plant pots from IKEA have been perfect for us! They can be spotted in a few different places around our house.
This kind of galvanized metal container has been a great way to provide easy access to crayons in our learning environment.
Need a place to put your art supplies (or craft supplies) but don’t have a nearby cabinet? How about a rolling cart?
*This rolling cart is also from IKEA – I promise this post is not sponsored by IKEA! ha!
Want to clear out the coat closet or an extra space and turn it into a homeschooling closet? Have an open space you could close in and use for an extra storage area? I say go for it!