Cleaning up the ‘homeschool house’

Cleaning up the 'homeschool house'

Cleaning out…



Ugh…are those the kind of words that just make you cringe? If you’ve been spending any amount of time homeschooling, you may find yourself up to your whiteboard in, well, stuff.

Papers, and projects, and supplies – oh my!

You may find yourself already wrapping up your homeschool year. (In the times we’re living in, lawd knows that we’ve had puh-LENTY of time to finish up academic assignments!) Or you may also find yourself wrapping up your homeschool years in toto, and facing “retirement.” But whatever the reason, if the kiddos are no longer sitting ’round the kitchen table hanging on to every word you say (ok, so maybe it wasn’t quite like that in your home, either…) the question begs to be presented:

How come I still have all this stuff around?

During these days of self-isolation and shelter-in-place living, we have nowhere to escape or distract us from taking care of it all. Which makes it an especially important monster to tame. However, dealing with it is somewhat of a two-parter. First, let’s consider a few reasons why there seems to be so much clutter around. Then, let’s look at what we can do about it.

Cleaning up the 'homeschool house'

Why is there still so much homeschool stuff around?

Well, there may be lots of reasons.

  • You may still have kids around to homeschool…and there may be lots of them around!
  • You may live in a small-ish residence, and not even have a special place to dedicate to homeschooling.
  • You may be working from home as well and by the end of the day… Well, by the end of the day, you are finished and have just enough energy to look past the clutter with blurry eyes.
  • In pre-COVID-19 days, you may have been plain too busy and out-and-about to do anything about it.
  • Or, you may just have a hard time with transitions, and wonderful memories of days gone by, and somehow getting rid of the clutter makes “the end” seem so…final.
  • Or, fill in the blank here: _______________________

But no matter the excuse, those are all-the-more reasons to take care of the mess and get a handle on things. Clutter is a distraction. It prevents us from doing and being our best and prevents us from putting our best face forward. Allowing ourselves to live in a mess is neither a good example for nor a good lesson to teach, our kids.

Now before you think I’m getting all “momma guilt” on you, hear me out. I’m not saying we should all live in pristine environments. Nor can we, for that matter. We all work and live differently; some of us can put up with a little more mess than others; some of us – especially with little ones around – might not have much of a choice!

But we all know when we’ve crossed the line, don’t we? And as we find ourselves roaming around the house these days, you (or I, for that matter!) may have discovered we’ve done exactly that…

So what do I do about all this stuff?

First of all, decide what is vital to save. And I mean “vital” because that will totally help you purge the unnecessaries! “Vital” means whatever they’ll need for college or career. (So, in other words, they won’t need the remains of that ah-MAzing science project they did…) Start a file folder for those things and stash it away in your filing cabinet (yes, if you don’t have one, I suggest you pick one up at a garage sale or office supply store, or wherever you’re able). Assign a bookshelf, or section of one, for those books you just can’t bear to part with. Let the kids do the same, only in their rooms… Then, sneak out and pick up a Rubbermaid container, one per child – not too big…not too small – and decide that that’s just how much you’re gonna save from their homeschool years. Period. Then start filling it up, a little more each year.

Do some research on Pinterest or Google about creative ways to store your supplies – ways you can live with and in a form or fashion you’ll keep up, and then get to it! (C’mon, you have the time right now…)

Then, my friend, the last step is this: grab a trash bag and start loading it up. Yes, I know that sounds harsh, dear one, but trust me. Before you know it, your heart and mind will be reveling in the peace and order all around you.

And there you have it: the one-two punch of handling clutter ’round the homeschool-house! But ya’ know, this same formula works great even if you’re an “all of a sudden” homeschooler, too. The important thing to remember is keeping everything in perspective. This, too, shall pass, friends. So let’s be ready, lean and limber, for that wonderful day!

Pat Fenner
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