Articles for November 2013

Minimalist Homeschooler: Decluttering the school room.

Decluttering the school room without creating more chaos has been my goal.

I should have been in this frame of mind a month ago, but I was still at the stage of pushing boxes from one side of the room to the other, and considering this “back-to-school” cleaning.  Yes, I organized the books on the shelves to be more organized and the boxes were better labeled, but I still had a ton of stuff I was not using.

Recently I posted my 80/20 observation.  It was one of those “ah-hah” moments.  I have read the Project 333 blog a few times, and wondered how the author can live with only 33 items of clothing for three months.  Twenty percent of the clothes are worn eighty percent of the time.  Twenty percent of my school stuff is getting used all the time.  There is stuff in these boxes that is not even getting touched.

First step:  Get out the “Three Box System.”

One child's completed homeschool math and language arts workbooks.  Photographed for memory's sake.
One child’s completed homeschool math and language arts workbooks. Photographed for memory’s sake.

Box one – Stuff to be recycled or donated.  (You can always take a photo of items rather than holding onto the “stuff.”)

Box two – Stuff that is so unusable it just needs to be trashed

Box three – Stuff that needs to be returned to its real location in the house

Second step:  Sort

I set the timer.  Fifteen minutes of concentrated focus on sorting one area of the room.  I don’t get to leave, I am not stopping to fix the problem.  Just sort.

Third step:  Leave

I can’t tackle this in one day.  It is also helping to take time to ponder the sentimental reasons I keep some of the school “stuff.”   Part of the procrastination has been not wanting to throw away memories or the past.  I loved teaching at the State School for the Deaf.  Some of these projects are reminders of lessons with special students.  One idea that comes to mind is take a photo of these projects and save them on the computer in a special folder to reminisce when I am feeling nostalgic.

Fourth Step: Empty

Each box will need to be emptied.

Box one will go to the garage and be transferred to the Salvation Army donation bag, the paper recycling box, the Clothing Closet donation bag, etc.

Box two will head straight to the garbage can.

Box three will take the most time as I set the timer for 15 minute sprints to run items around the house to their real locations.

I am not to Step four.  I’ve finished two Sorting Sprees and slowly am making decisions about my school stuff.

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