Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Organizing the Schoolroom

Since summer is off and running and we are taking it easy with schoolwork, I have decided to gut and organize our schoolroom in preparation for next year. In my post at the beginning of the last school year, I showed a picture of how wonderful the school room looked. Add in two kids full time, another 4 in and out for homework and preschool work, plus the many arts and crafts that have happened throughout the year, and the school room was totaled. Toward the end of the school year, it was virtually unusable and we moved our school work to the kitchen table and various other places throughout the house. Then, we had a couple of parties here (for birthdays and the 4th of July), so that room became the "I don't know where to put it, so just put it in here" room. Needless to say, the room is a disaster. Even worse is that I knew it was disorganized and needed a whole new system so that once I had it back to where it was it would stay that way (or at least have a better shot at it).

In that room are some really awesome, inexpensive, bookcases and shelving units from Target. They are the Closetmaid brand and have held up well through the entire year of torture. I know that a lot of people buy and use the Ikea ones, and I do think they are really neat, but the ones that I purchased are cheaper and serve their purpose well. They are modular, meaning that all of the pieces go together and I can add more as I need them. The school room is very small and the walls are fairly narrow. However, I have really high ceilings on my first floor. I love that I can stack these (they come with the anchors to allow for this) to allow for more storage room.

So, I pulled out all of our readers to see what I was dealing with. They were barely organized last year. I sort of put them on shelves based on the reading level of each boy and put all of the read-alouds up higher and all of the very beginning phonics readers for Kate in the preschool stuff. Well, very quickly, the books were ripped from their shelves and strewn about. My boys love to read, so I don't want to get angry with them when they are reading, but there needs to be some sort of system that they can follow to keep things organized. I started with this...

By the way, that is just a small sampling off all of the books that we have. I have at least double that in the school room alone, not including all of the magazines, chapter books, and read-alouds. I hate to get rid of books, especially classic collections like Clifford or Arthur or Frog and Toad. 

I contemplated lots of different ways of organizing them. Either the idea was too expensive, guaranteed not to work, or I would have had to buy more bookshelves to make it happen. My goal was to not have to purchase anymore bookshelves this year.

Then, it came to me.... I should use magazine files for the books. Almost all of the books that the kids get into would fit in them and Ikea sells them for really cheap (5 cardboard ones for $2). They are perfect for organizing! I can label the boxes and put them on the bookshelves. If the kids destroy them, they destroy them... they didn't cost much anyway. Plus, I can always replace their individual ones with more durable, plastic ones if I need to. When it is reading time, I can tell them to go pick a book out of their box instead of me having to go in and try to figure out which book would be good for which child's reading level and searching through bookshelves of unorganized readers.

After an entire evening of organizing, my book pile looked like this...

Ahhhh... so much better. They are grouped, labeled, and put in a spot. Plus, each kid has their own box (only one is pictured here... the others were already on their shelf). Hopefully, that will make reading time a lot less chaotic. 

And the final product of all of this organizing:

SOOOOOOOOO much better. I still have a lot more organizing to do in this room to make it perfect for the next school year. I will update with posts as I go along. The goal is to have easier access to all of the supplies and books and to keep it better organized as the school year progresses.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I see a trip to ikea in my future!