Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not Just for Magazines Anymore

I dream of having a homeschool room someday.  Hell, I dream of having a house, but that's beside the point.  In said house, I would love to have a room devoted entirely to our homeschooling.  It gets a little depressing, trying to squeeze in all the books, the manipulatives, the books, and the books, and the books, knowing there will never really be enough space where you are but not sure when you'll ever be someplace else.  This doesn't even take into account the art supplies, the mounds of paper, and the many little things one needs to really do it up, homeschool style.  So, I figure I have two choices: give in to the depression or learn to work in the space I have.  I choose to make the space work for me, and this gives rise to most of my Works for Me Wednesdays posts.  Today's is no different.

Since the boys are in first grade and kindergarten, we have a lot of work books.  There's handwriting, spelling, phonics, and our math meeting books (for each boy).  Then there's the books that are like the work books.  You know the ones.  You don't write in them, but they're the same size and shape as your typical work book, and they're paperbacks to boot.  Large, non-hardcover books don't like to stand nicely on shelves.  They flop. They bend.  They droop.  They fall over and make the entire shelf look a hot mess.  We have, all told, about 12 - 15 work bookish books for the boys, and while this may not see like a lot, remember, we also don't have a lot of space in which to keep them.  After dealing with this issue during all of last school year, where the books were shuffled on and off the table, in a big messy pile of slippery, floppy books, I decided I needed something to keep them in.  This had to stop.

The solution it seems was easier than most of my space/mess problems.  As I was walking through the local Tarjay one day in September, it hit me.  Magazine files.  They're perfect for this.  Like so perfect this is basically exactly what they were made for: holding floppy books neatly.  I bought two of them, one for each boy, in a lovely shade of teal to go with some other baskets I have in my living room, stuck their books in them, slapped their names on them, and voila!  The end of the messy book problem.  We stick them on a shelf in the living room when they're not in use, and when we need them it's super easy to just grab the whole box of whichever boy is currently working.  Then, when we're done, the file gets put right back.  Done.  And done.

So nice and neat and not slippery
This may seem like an overly easy or simple solution, but c'mon, isn't that the kind of solution most of us like best?  Sometimes, the best answer to a problem is the one it's easiest to implement.  They're cheap (mine were $4.99 from Target) and come in many styles to fit in with one's decor (because no one wants their entire home to scream "homeschool"). These may not work for you.  They may not work for me next year or whenever the boys are older and their books are bigger.  But, for now, these are a life saver for my tiny homeschool table.

Any suggestions for keeping books neat and tidy in a small space?


  1. To answer the question at the bottom: Try stacking some flat in the middle of the 2 blue thingy's.

    I'm always trying to keep our books neat and tidy, but I suppose if they are always neat and tidy, then we aren't reading, right? :)

  2. Great idea for organizing your school space! I use those kinds of boxes a lot. In the past I have made them from empty cereal boxes -- once I cut the shape I covered them with contact paper or wrapping paper. Got the job done if you don't mind "that dorky homemade look." :)

    1. I actually made those in grammar and high school out of Cheerios boxes. Right now, we use giant, Costco sized cereal boxes, so I don't think it would work (they'd be huge!). And "dorky homemade" is one of my absolute favorite looks! :) Thanks for stopping by!