99 Homeschool items to declutter

Homeschooling with less is about schooling with enjoyment and ease.  It’s not about racing through stacks of workbooks or hanging onto hundreds of projects to impress the anti-homeschooling folks.  The less clutter in the classroom, the more inspiration and depth you can go with the lesson in hand.

I grew up in a thrifty home of being really frugal and saving everything for reuse.  However, when you can’t find or don’t know what you have, the “savings” have become excess. Clutter is just energy-draining.

Here is my 2016 list of Things to Declutter.  Some items I have tackled this past year and encourage others to consider, and other items I am tackling for myself.  My “schoolroom” includes the art closet, the dining room buffet (a.k.a. central office supply storage), homeschool bags, and mudroom transition area.  Three Bin Declutter System


  •  Remember you can sell, donate, recycle or throw away.  Knowing that I’m blessing someone else makes it easier for me to let them go.
  • Keep things that make you feel good.  If it doesn’t make you feel happy when you look at it, get rid of it quickly.  Surround yourself with things you enjoy.  (see my entry on William Morris).
  1. Hole punch you never use (the kind that drops paper circles all over the floor)
  2. USB thumb drives
  3. Shoe boxes.  Keep one and know that kids’ feet will grow and you will have more again.
  4. Old calendars
  5. Completed workbooks (take a photo at the end of the year with kiddo to show how much they completed and toss the books.)
  6. Completed coloring books
  7. Old VHS movies.  We found our favorites were losing sound and picture.  Time to just use Youtube and Netflix.
  8. Old markers–half dried markers, squashed tips, and funky colors.
  9. Cheap crayons and colored pencils that repeatedly break
  10. Half-finished projects . . . if you didn’t finish it with the first kid, let your second child start their own.
  11. Magazines (hang on to three or four for collages, most kids are savvy with google images to print off exactly the right picture)
  12. Dried up art supplies — tempura paints, glue bottles, modgepodge
  13. Work gloves — especially ones with holes in the finger tips
  14. Books you’ve never read or will never read again.  They look great on the shelves, but other books could be sitting there that you would like to read, or just use the local library.
  15. Old technology (8 tracks, floppy discs, VHS tapes, cassettes)
  16. Old phone covers, styluses, screen protectors, etc.
  17. Reject curriculum given by well meaning homeschooling friends
  18. Curriculum you’ve bought and won’t use (Return, sell, exchange, or donate them)
  19. Sample curriculum that you already know you don’t like the style.
  20. Extra lunch bags and backpacks donated by “school” friends
  21. Games with missing pieces
  22. Games you haven’t played in the last year
  23. Educational games that only teach one skill/lesson . . . or that make no sense playing.
  24. Old cellphones
  25. Pens and pencils – Keep your favorites and let go of the rest.
  26. Assorted counting blocks/bears/beads.  In a pinch raisins, chocolate chips, and pasta work great . . . and most kitchen items will get consumed at the end of the lesson.
  27. CD roms for dictionaries, typing programs, encyclopedias . . . all of this is easily found on internet.  No reason to go searching for the disc.
  28. Old homeschool catalogs.  Everything is on line.  I even stopped getting the Rainbow Resources catalog because it was easier to search their online website.
  29. Duplicate power cords
  30. Extension cords
  31. Cords that don’t belong to anything you currently own
  32. Old greeting cards
  33. Old newspapers — keep a few or use paper grocery sacks for art projects, but information in the papers is readily available on-line.
  34. Projects that don’t make you smile every time you see them.  Take a photo of your favorites  to create photo books and remove the rest.  (Careful not to dispose in the garbage where young students may find and be emotionally crushed.)
  35. Loose screws, nuts, bolts, etc. Return to the tool box for work project days.
  36. Ugly colored highlighters.  Keep your favorite.
  37. White-out bottles — Get the whiteout markers in the future. Less mess.
  38. Lanyards, name tags, bags, etc. from previous homeschooling conferences
  39. Brochures from homeschooling conferences.  Research item and “pin-it” on pinterest for later recovery.
  40. College brochures and invitation letters . . . they just keep coming.
  41. Broken clocks — unless old wind-up clocks for examining the inside gears and springs.
  42. School lesson planners you bought to get organized that didn’t work
  43. Old prescription reading glasses – Great donation for the Lions ClubLions eye glasses donation box
  44. Expired coupons (for us it is to Joanne Fabric store)
  45. Posters you’ll never display again
  46. Hanging mobiles from old unit studies
  47. Business cards – Keep an electronic record
  48. Extra bubble wrap and packing supplies from all the homeschool arrivals
  49. Phone books — internet makes it easy to find the numbers.  Most phone books now days are too small to use as booster seats.  
  50. Multiple book marks . . . use them or lose them.
  51. Combination locks . . . most homeschoolers don’t have gym lockers 
  52. Excess math flashcards.  One set is enough.  Keep your favorite style.
  53. Old textbooks
  54. Multiple dictionaries
  55. Empty organizational bins
  56. Outgrown desk/tables/chairs
  57. Used ink cartridges
  58. Outdated computer software
  59. Dried up super glue
  60. Craft supplies for a project from last year
  61. Old sports equipment
  62. Uniforms from sport teams you no longer play for (or never liked!)
  63. Broken sports equipment
  64. Outgrown sports equipment (we kept the first pair of ice-skates because they were so small and cute).
  65. Outgrown violins or other “sized” musical instruments
  66. Outgrown music books
  67. Extra folders, binders, labels, address labels etc.
  68. Multiple pencil sharpeners, keep your favorite, (and keep one for the chunky pencils!)
  69. Piles of “scrap paper”
  70. Construction paper scraps
  71. Excessive broken crayons.  Keep enough for your use, melt the rest for new crayons or candles.
  72. Remotes that have no purpose
  73. Science kits with missing pieces or outdated chemicals
  74. Old technology — computers, printers, fax, copiers
  75. Paperweights (unless its a cherished and useful treasure given by your student)
  76. Used jigsaw puzzles of unknown condition
  77. Wooden puzzles missing pieces
  78. Half-used crossword or sudoku books
  79. Half-used spiral notebooks from old studies
  80. Stained dry erase boards
  81. Instruction manuals – Most are online now
  82. Old boom box — most everything can be stored on the computer or iPod for easy play
  83. Empty cd cases
  84. Educational cd’s from early school years
  85. Language cd’s for second language no longer being studied
  86. Unused plastic containers for craft projects.  (You can always eat up some yogurt or sour cream if you need a new container for painting.)
  87. Tape measurers.  Keep one with metrics for that once-a-year unit on the metric system
  88. Excessive headphones
  89. Broken headphones missing ear pieces or broken microphones
  90. Packing envelopes — keep a couple for returns or for programs to swap books and curriculum
  91. Dried up play dough
  92. Out grown sensory bean box
  93. Multiple pair of scissors, especially the dull ones or those old clunky silver ones
  94. Scattered piles of tongue depressors and popsicle sticks.  Hang on to a few if you really do use them in projects
  95. Empty package boxes for items beyond warranty
  96. Reading series below your youngest reader
  97. Science and history books with undesired bias or prejudice . . . no use rewriting their history, just go find a text with your perspective.
  98. Out-dated modern maps
  99. Window crayons (that were used twice and then hidden because it took an hour to clean the windows after used).


Phew!  This is just the beginning of physically decluttering the schoolroom.  Getting rid of the clutter is not a one time process, but each time, it opens up the ability to get back to the fun of homeschooling.









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