Storage Strategies for Homeschool Families

Homeschooling families? It's time to get your stuff together!

Seasoned homeschoolers know that "school stuff" has an amazing bread dough tendency. Whether books and papers, manipulatives or models, it can be difficult to keep materials and supplies contained and in order for homeschool use.

Here are OrganizedHome.Com's best storage strategies for homeschool families:

Stowing Kid Stuff:

A place for everything . . . but not where you think! Use "school" as a model for homeschool storage, and you're apt to reach for "bookcase" and "file cabinets." For homeschoolers, storage outside the box may be more efficient:

  • Plastic dishpans are a homeschooler's best friend. Stand picture books on end in a dishpan for a flip-through library.
  • A set of dishpans holds a younger child's school materials subject-by-subject: math manipulatives and workbook, language arts flashcards and materials, art supplies store neatly in their own dishpan. Put-away is a breeze!
  • Plastic storage cubes and hanging file folders solve paperwork storage for an older child. Color-code hanging file folders by subject. Inside each folder, individual files hold work-in-progress, worksheets to be corrected, daily lessons.
  • Bookcases can be frustrating storage tools for smaller children. Use magazine storage boxes, clear shoebox-sized organizers, dishpans or shallow cardboard boxes to store homeschool materials on bookcase shelves.
  • Replace flimsy cardboard boxes with see-through plastic storage ontainers for easy-to-find storage of games, puzzles and toys.
  • Game pieces, manipulatives and puzzle pieces live happily in large zipper food storage bags. Heavy freezer bags can be hole-punched and inserted into notebooks to hold art supplies, cut-outs, and desk materials.

Color-code it! Creative use of color simplifies homeschool storage.

  • Color-coding simplifies life in multi-child families. Assign each child a color. Colored organizers, file folders, storage cubes and report colors sort Kid A from Kid B in bedroom, schoolroom and on the desk.
  • Color-code subjects and activities. Use colored pens to add entries to a parent's planner or child's study organizer: red for math, green for English, blue for science. Colored file folders hold papers and worksheets subject by subject. Use assigned colors to highlight daily assignment sheets or schedules.
  • Color-code labels. Using a computer, it's easy to add color-coding to computer-generated labels. Slap them on everything, from storage boxes to file folders to maps to art supplies.

On the desk:

Homeschooling parents know paperwork is a big part of the job.

From record-keeping to selecting curricula and materials, homeschool parents must sift and shuffle papers, catalogs, and documents.

Try these ideas for efficient paper-handling in your home school:

  • Use lightweight, sturdy records boxes to hold homeschool materials. Hanging file folders fit these boxes nicely. The boxes stack neatly and are easy to handle. Sort by child, curricula, subject or year. Labeling is easy with permanent markers.
  • Stackable letter trays serve many functions on the desk. Use them to sort papers to correct, correspondence, or lesson plans.
  • Color-code, color-code, color-code. Use color in hanging file folders, file folders, pens and labels. Whether it's child by child, subject by subject or unit by unit, color does the job!
  • Tab position is another tool to organize homeschool records. Bought a box of third-cut file folders? Don't just use them 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Instead, use all "first cut" folders for Child 1, "second cut" for Child 2, "third cut" for Child 3. Tab position can help you sort by child, by subject, by topic.