Decluttering the schoolroom is making a difference

One week of decluttering the schoolroom and I am starting to see a wee bit of success.

In the past, I would open a schoolroom box like, “Math Manipulatives,” check the contents and move it from the north end of the room to the south end, or vice a versa in the spring.  After going through all the boxes, I might read titles on the bookshelves and make sure the books were all in the right category.   Lastly, I would empty the trash and recycling.

Thinking I was finished, I would I stand in the door frame and stare at the room.  It is still visually unorganized.  The boxes and shelves are organized, but the room remains cluttered.  BECAUSE IT HAS TOO MUCH STUFF!  One answer would be to take the boxes and “neatly” store them in the basement.  Then the issue would be tracking up and down two flights of stairs for items that I need to teach a lesson.  I know that the minute I leave the room, the lessons stop, so I need to stay on the same level during lessons.

This week, I started sorting out the items I love to use.  Items that are beautiful.  Things that I just couldn’t imagine homeschooling without.  The rest are quickly filling a Rubbermaid bin.  I can’t quite let go of them, but the plan is to box them up, label these items and set them aside for three months.  Then I will return to the box and see what I still want to keep and what items are really ready to go on and bless another homeschooling family.

An example of first box contents:  wax crayons for window painting (so messy to clean up!), half my set of rulers-we just don’t need that many, backup printer (why two!), penmanship workbooks, workbooks for literature, second sets of flash cards (keeping the ones with answers on back), white counting tiles, set of French VHS tapes, two French cartoon DVD‘s, the Rose Art markers, recipe box holders from old flash card sets, clip board, small 3-ring binders.

I also have a second Rubbermaid bin.  Items I KNOW I don’t want to keep.  These might be school or curriculum books that I never use, even as a resource for tutoring other children.  I was keeping some poorly created curriculum to use as examples for other homeschooling families when I gave workshops, but looking at the stack, I would much rather take a huge stack of the quality resources, than a stack of bad options.

My last bin is for dumping.  It is not very full, as I usually recycle or purge trash items throughout the year.  There are a few missed items that escaped my notice.

This is a different kind of overhaul.  It’s not organizing, but minimizing the contents.  If after six  to ten weeks, I have not noticed the missing items, I want to just pass them on.  I am not sure if I can pass the box on, or whether I will reopen and examine the contents, I fear I would see something and start questioning the rehoming process.

I am really hoping that by seeing the room with less, I will really enjoy the new freedom and keep the ball rolling.




  • ilovethemso

    April 19, 2015 at 12:32 pm Reply

    I’m enjoying your blog so much-I just found you via Becoming Minimalist. Our family has been on a minimizing journey, but our school supplies and books and toys are still in need of major decluttering. Homeschooling 3 boys ages 2-12, we have such a range of books and toys. You remind me what I know deep down, that we only really need a few of the very best of what we have. And that is plenty! I need to go donate some pencils and supplies I have stocked too… 😉

    • Anne

      July 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm Reply

      It’s been a busy year for us too. One homeschooling child has been wrapping up his transcript and applying for college. It’s a celebration moment, and a grieving moment. I’m glad to have started minimizing a few years back, focusing on the relationship of homeschooling and not just the checklist. Good luck! (I’m back to another round of decluttering!)

    • Anne

      July 18, 2015 at 8:56 pm Reply

      I never see these comments coming through. Thanks for the encouragement. This past year has been a whirlwind with getting our oldest though the college application process. Without a college school counselor, we did it ourselves. In the next couple weeks we will be “decluttering” into boxes to send with him to his college room. I miss the days when fall meant new school books, new courses, and snuggling on the couch to read our texts together. I’m glad we started minimizing a many years ago. Homeschooling became about the relationships and the learning, and not about the “stuff” and manipulative we could bring home from the “education resource store.” Have a good summer decluttering and preparing for fall!

Please take a moment to share your minimalist homeschooling ventures.

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