I spent the last few days before our homeschooling back-to-school cleaning, dusting, washing, sanitizing, sorting and organizing. Every six months we turn the house inside out, get rid of clutter, clean corners where the sun doesn’t shine, and eliminate any sources of potential hazards (like mold). In the process, we find things we had been looking for or things we completely forgot about.
Since we teach September through July, the two semi-annual cleaning sessions happen in August, just before school starts, and in February, when everybody is burned out of learning and suffers from cabin fever. What a perfect way to spend a week, cleaning and organizing, feeling like you have something under control. It is also a semi-annual reminder that we don’t need all this “stuff.” So we scale down our inventory to the next new maximum.
Here are 5 steps to organizing for homeschooling back-to-school:
1. Clean the house thoroughly. Slide furniture out of its place, get under couches, look at corners you have not seen in months (or, – dare I say it? – years). Dust bunnies have killed many a homeschool.
2. Discard items you have not used in a year or so. When it comes to sorting possessions, most organizing gurus tell us to get three boxes: “Keep”, “Throw” and “Donate”. Of course, if the items to throw or donate are large, you leave them in their spot for the day you are ready to haul them off. If they are small, you will need to use some boxes until you finish the organizing process.
3. Organize books and school supplies. You have heard the saying, no doubt: a place for everything and everything in its place. Nothing discourages more than looking for something for ten minutes before using it. Get a grip (no pun intended) on school files and binders. If it stacks, it’s a pile. If it hangs, it’s a file. As for our daily school books, I put them in a medium size tote-like box with handles. If we have to move from one room to another, I just grab the tote.
4. Sort clothing according to the system under step #2. Be ruthless. Ask your spouse to help you make cutthroat decisions. The more you linger, the harder it is to get rid of stuff, especially if you have warm, fuzzy memories of your babies wearing a particular item. I am personally guilty of that.
5. Take a day off. Find a reliable babysitter, if at all possible, and take an overnight trip with your husband. After all, he is the principal of the school. You two need a retreat to focus on the upcoming school year, right? Or just to forget about homeschooling entirely and relax. This year, we took our first ever overnight trip without children since we became parents. We chose Hot Springs, NC and it was a good choice. I will tell you about it in a future blog post. Here I am in front of their library. I love their sign…
How do you prepare for homeschooling back-to-school? Leave me a comment below, please.