Project Simplify ~ Homeschool Storage Room

Recently I did some organizing and I thought I’d share the results with you!!!

Before I show you the recent BEFORE photos, I must share my dilemma with you and how it got this bad.  This room was intended to be homeschool storage only, managed by MOM.  As the warm weather hit last year, it was overcome with bikes, skateboards, rip sticks, roller blades, scooters, and MORE.  Since we live in the inner city and people will literally hop the fence to steal a scooter so they can scrap the metal for cash, we have to put every riding toy inside, every day.  Since this room has the door that leads out to the riding area, guess where the new toy garage was located?  Yup, the homeschool storage room; aka ~ garage, utility shed, mudroom and more.  I thought we would get a grip this winter when we stored the toys, but the weather stayed mild and we never stored them.  So, I knew I had to revamp the room.  It got SO out of control thanks to my little ones just throwing their toys everywhere.  I couldn’t get to my school stuff to put it away properly so the piles began, and continued, and grew.  It was horrible, really horrible.  I have proof…

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This wasn’t even on a really bad day, as some of the riding toys were outside when I snapped this.  As you can see, I literally could barely walk in there, let alone find what I was looking for.

Not anymore!!!!  We are in the process of building a small outside storage area for riding toys so they don’t get stolen, and in the meantime we have them all stuffed into an outside deck box thingy. I can walk!

Here is our learning toy shelf {the shelf is from Ikea}…

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My favorite thing about the new learning toy storage area is my new click boxes from Target {below on left with green top}.  I love that they are clear and that they can be unclicked and brought right into the schoolroom and put on a tray.  I emptied as many toys as I could out of their cardboard boxes and stored them all together in our basement {in case I give them away in the future and need the box}. I also got rid of at least 25-30% of our stuff.  I blessed another homeschooling friend who has 3 little ones younger than mine, giving her all sorts of good stuff!

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About a year ago I wrote a post about storing our sensory bin items.  In that post, you can see that we stored things in this area shown below.  We still have sensory bins now and then, but not nearly as much as we used to back then.  This is also the area that stores misc. Tot Tray supplies.  A year ago I sorted our small items by color, but it was time to change that since all 3 of my kids know their colors!  Our poor sensory bin area got pretty bad too, as you can see on the left, I cleaned it all up as you can see on the right!

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The drawers still store our small items, they are just not sorted by color groups now, but by like items.  Here are 2 drawers…

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This is the door that leads to the outside play area and it had gotten out of control too. I didn’t take any before shots.  These are the after, all set up for springtime weather.  I added a shoe organizer to the back door, I was sick of the big pile of nasty shoes in the basket.  On the left is an assortment of items my kids use regularly outside in the warmer weather.

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I did one more simplifying task, on the door that leads into the school storage room!  I bought a nice shoe organizer from Target and made a school/office supply zone.

I can’t share the cards I made since I grabbed most of my images straight from Google, but here are the categories I have in case you are curious:

  1. rulers
  2. watercolor paint
  3. scissors
  4. colored pencils
  5. paint brushes
  6. tape
  7. index cards
  8. notepads
  9. pencils
  10. pens
  11. highlighters
  12. Sharpies
  13. Dry Erase Markers
  14. Vis a Vis Markers
  15. Modeling Clay
  16. See the Light Art tools
  17. Chapstick {since we are all always losing it}
  18. glue
  19. gluesticks
  20. shaving cream {for fun like this!}
  21. craft cups {disposable}
  22. erasers
  23. sticky notes
  24. index cards

My thought process was categories that many family members are commonly looking for.  This door is in our dining room which connects to both our kitchen and schoolroom.  It is a very central location for all of us.

One last thing I did to help simplify homeschooling craft time was to clear off our hutch in the dining room and create an area to store paint supplies.IMG_1421

I got the silver tins from Target recently for $2.50/each.  In them: cloth napkins {for meals and art}, small paint trays & baby wipes, a few tempera paint bottles {our smaller ones}, paint shirts/smocks, paper towels.  It looks so much cleaner and more simple, and has already been a big help!

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Reasons Homeschooling IS Worth It

Top Ten Reasons Homeschooling is Worth it

Homeschooling is difficult, draining, and sometimes downright exhausting.  BUT, none of that matters at the end of the day when you look at the pictures and notice what really matters.  There are many perks to homeschooling, some are obvious and some are not so obvious.  Here are a few reasons I think homeschooling rocks, in no particular order…

1 ~ Grandparents can visit anytime, come to school, AND sit at your desk with you and nobody tells them “it’s time to go now.”



2 ~ You are free to wear your winter hat inside, all day long


3 ~ Pets ARE allowed…

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4 ~ You can shoot your words and nobody will take you to the principal’s office.

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5 ~ You can color with your sibling, even if she is 2 and you are 5.


6 ~ You can sit in a bean bag {}, all curled up with your siblings, and read, read, read…

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7 ~ You can wear your pajamas, and you don’t even have to do your hair!

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8 ~ When the grandparents call and say, “hey, we got a great deal, wanna go on a cruise in a few weeks?”  You can drop it all and say YES!!!!!!!


9 ~ If you are learning to read and you don’t know a word, you can just run across the room and ask your 4th grade brother…


10 ~ FAMILY.  FAMILY.  FAMILY.  It all comes down to bonding together and enjoying our time together while we have it!

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There.  Now I feel better.  Might have to come back and look at my own post on the hard days.  Or, maybe every day.

Happy Homeschooling!

10 Things My Relevant Roomie Should Know…

For those of you who don’t know, I will be attending a wonderful CHRISTIAN Blogging conference in October, Relevant!  I registered the day tickets went on sale, and knew this was the conference for me.  My blogging is a huge part of my life, but God is bigger—thus the lack of appeal the other blog conferences have for me. 

A tiny bit of convincing and I had my friend Jolanthe going  too…it didn’t take too much.  We just had to get the OK from our husbands who would need to care for the kids for the 4 days.  Once we had their blessing…we were sold!

So, although I know Jolanthe well {but we did meet through blogging}, and have even stayed at her house, this will be our first sleepover in the same room!  We decided to go with a room just for us-I could have never done it with 4 people in a room.  I am way to much of an introvert-I have to have quiet unwind time or I will go NUTS. 

When I saw Brooke’s linky, I thought it would be fun to share a few things that Jolanthe should know, or maybe even a few others who might meet me should know about me!  For those of you not going to Relevant, you might get a good laugh out of a few things you didn’t know about me! 😉

  1. I like to think I will be all neat and organized in a hotel room, but I end up making a big mess.  I get so overwhelmed being away from my own space that after about the first day, I give up.  Without my routine-I am all thrown off.
  2. I am a MAJOR introvert.  Jolanthe knows this about me, but she hasn’t seen me react to large crowds of strangers before.  I am likely to come back to the room after hours of being in these crowds and be very overwhelmed to the point that I seem a bit whacko.  I have to unwind from social events. I don’t necessarily act like an introvert and can confuse many people.  I am loud, and love to joke around…but I don’t usually open up much until I am out of the immediate stranger mode ;-).
  3. I will tell Jolanthe over and over again how I never could have gone to this thing without her by my side-see #2 to know why.
  4. I have blankees, and I sleep with them-all smooshed up by my face.  I have had them since I was a child-gave them up during the pivotal years {you know the years from about 10-17 when you care what others think} and then when I decided I didn’t care what anyone thought-I dug them out of hiding. 
  5. I am NOT a morning person and I don’t like to interact at all in the mornings.  I don’t even know if we have to get up for things-I am sure we do, but if it’s before 10am, I will need about an hour to come to life.
  6. I am from the northeast now, but am originally southern.  Although I have been in the NE for almost 7 years, I still sound like I live in the deep south.  Jolanthe knows this-but the rest of you-don’t be shocked by my big-time southern accent.
  7. I can’t crawl in bed and go straight to sleep.  I must unwind a bit.  For me that is either reading a few blogs I love, scrolling through Facebook friends on my iPod, or reading.  I am not much of a tv watcher anymore.
  8. I am horrible with names, so I will be drilling Jolanthe at night to remember who was who.  I am great with faces, and remember names in print-just can’t always put them together!!!
  9. I HATE driving, so if we go anywhere away from the conference, I won’t want to drive.  Driving to the conference itself is bad enough.
  10. I heard that I snore now.  I don’t know, but a certain someone tells me that I have acquired this wonderful trait in recent years.  Hopefully he is wrong.

I am so excited about this conference, and will be sharing all about it here on the blog, Twitter and Facebook while I am there and when I return.  If you think you might want to go, I heard there are still tickets, let me know if you are a reader of mine and you will be going!!!

Homeschool Village ~ Refreshing


How do I refresh for the upcoming school year? 

This is a tough one for me, because we don’t really stop schooling around here!  We are more of year-round homeschoolers, with a very go-with-the-flow attitude.  We are light for the month of June, which I mentioned last week, but will begin a summer schedule in July and then “start” with our full schedule in late August.

As for refreshing, we leave for the beach tomorrow…doesn’t get much more refreshing than that!  I have packed up a few things to do while we are away, but only things I truly enjoy!  After we return from the beach, I will be without the boys for almost 2 weeks, while they visit with grandparents.  Around here we will have a mission team, and I will be gearing up for out annual summer reading program that I lead, Reading Rocks.  By the time the boys return, I hope to have several more units of Raising Rock Stars Preschool complete, as well as Pac Man’s 1st 20 lessons of 3rd grade planned out for the summer {we always get 20 lessons ahead so we can be more relaxed throughout the school year"}.  Planning is refreshing for me, so this will be wonderful!!!  I will probably do a little bit of organizing, which is TOTALLY refreshing for me too!

Join in and share how you refresh for the upcoming homeschool year!

On another note, FYI…I do have posts scheduled for the blog while I am away!  I will have limited access to internet, but how much I am on next week will depend on my mood ;-).  I wrote posts and scheduled them just in case I don’t feel like opening the computer much!

Up for a Challenge? Boat Building


We are a bit behind on with the challenges, but we don’t mind a little delay, we are still having fun! Last week we got around to our Boat Race Challenge and had a blast! This challenge was totally up Pac Man’s alley, he’s a natural boat builder…constantly asking me for junk to make boats with.

He completed this task in under the time limit and had total success!




Of course, Krash was VERY interested when he woke up from his nap and came down to find this!


One proud boat builder!IMG_6299 Click here to see other solutions to this fun challenge! Thanks to Michelle for providing some much needed fun for Pac Man! I could never come up with this stuff on my own! Next we are going to give the Cup Holder a try!