Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Cleaning for the Homeschool Family Day 1

 Day 1: Books

I have a love of books so to get rid of books is almost painful for me. But we all know that at the end of the school year you have to part with something to make room and money for the new stuff that will be coming soon.

I started with the curriculum books and purged the ones we don't need again.
If you have an Ikea close by, I highly recommend these magazine boxes. They're are cheap! Sure, they're not the sturdiest boxes, but they keep things organized, make your bookshelf look perfect and you spend less time trying to find a book.  I started off thinking I could organize by subject but quickly realized that even within those subjects, I had too many books and needed subcategories. For example, for history, there is Pilgrims, Native Americans, Maps, World History, etc.

Sounds great, but you're asking yourself, "Where do I begin?"

Step 1:
Collect all books that you use for school. I keep picture books and readers separate on a bookshelf that they kids can access easily. This is JUST teacher materials. Look everywhere. Make sure you are thorough and look in every closet, under every bed and even in your car.

Step 2:
Now that you are buried in a stack of books taller than your refrigerator, it's time to start the analyzing process.
If you've ever watched the organizing shows on TV, you will be somewhat familiar with this process.

Step 3:
Touch each book. Look at it. Ask yourself if you are keeping it, selling/donating it, or it needs to be returned to someone.
Make stacks according to each of these categories.

Step 4:
Set aside your sell/donate pile. Let's work with the KEEP pile first.
The biggest mistake people make when trying to organize is that they go out and buy a whole bunch of organizing bins and baskets and then try to make their stuff fit in those. What you should do is look at what you plan on keeping and then set up a system that works for YOU. If you choose to use the magazine boxes like I did, each box holds about 5" of books.
Sort your books according to what works for you. That could mean sorting by grade level, subject area, publisher, or child.
Whatever  you choose, make sure it is not too complicated or you will have wasted your time and money on a system that won't function.

Step 5:
Once you've assessed your needs, go shopping. Goodwill is a great place to buy used plastic organizers for very little money. They usually have binders for less than $2!
The Ikea Magazine holders were perfect for me and all the teaching materials I've accumulated from being a public school teacher.
Another great container are these boxes that have handles on the lid.

These boxes are perfect for books that have extra components to them, like Handwriting Without Tears.

You can dress up any kind of bin or container with some fun and cheap name tags. I bought these cute red polka dot name tags for $2.99 for 30 of them. Then I printed out Avery labels and stuck them on the name tag. 

Step 6:
Attack the RETURN pile. Chances are you've had those books long enough and their owner might want them back.

Step 7:
Once you've organized your KEEP pile and your RETURN pile, now comes the fun of the SELL/DONATE pile. I don't have any homeschool friends that have kids younger than mine so I usually go the route of selling. It cleans off my shelf and I use the money to buy what I will need for the next year.

And just in case you've already got your list for next year's needs, here is where I am selling my 3' stack.
First Grade

Third Grade


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