Whether you are brand new to homeschooling, downsizing your living space, or just need some fresh ideas, I hope you find some back-to-school 2020/2021 inspiration for your small space homeschool organization here!
As a family of 5 (soon-to-be 6) living in a 3-bedroom house, so much of our family life happens gathered around our dining room table, including much of our school work. And I kind of love it!
But with 3 daily meals, school work, arts and crafts, LEGO creations, and all the other happenings, this space can get out of hand in a hurry!
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Before we started our first year of homeschooling last year, I knew I wanted some kind of pretty storage solution and a large chalkboard.
Drew found plans for a beautiful buffet table with deep drawers on rogueengineer.com (free plans here) and got to work! And through a little trial and error, he designed and constructed a solid-wood chalkboard to hang above the buffet.
We finished off the space with some baskets for organization, a classic black-framed clock, and a small metal bulletin board to hang artwork.
This pretty and functional little space has been perfect for housing school supplies and acting as a launching point for our school day.
But let’s just say after a busy, mess-filled school year, our small homeschool space needed a little TLC.
This is What the Buffet Looked Like At the End of the School Year
That’s just the outside. The drawers were pretty scary.
When our school year was over, we just basically left everything as-is. We all were ready for a break, and this buffet table became a dump-and-go sort of space.
I ran out of excuses to avoid tackling the mess when my mom offered to keep the kids for an afternoon so I could plan for back-to-school 2020-2021 homeschool year. The house was empty and it was time to get to work.
And it worked out nicely that Drew got off work early that day and offered a hand!
Watch Me Organize Our Small Space Homeschool for Back-to-School 2020/2021
Small Space Homeschool Organization Supplies
Large storage solution, such as buffet with drawers or cabinets.
Trash bag for gathering trash that has accumulated in drawers.
Cleaning supplies to give the space a quick refresh between taking everything out and putting everything back.
Baskets and bins – I used a couple baskets from the thrift store, some wood boxes and cloth tote I found around the house, and a few plastic bins from Target.
Notebook and pen for jotting down a list of additional items needed for the year.
Steps For Homeschool Organization in a Small Space
Step One: Pull everything out.
When I organize a space, it typically has to get worse before it gets better. This space was no exception! I pulled everything out of the buffet table and put it on the dining room floor. Then I got busy.
Step Two: Give the space a good, thorough cleaning.
I wiped down all the surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner and swept under and around the buffet table. Drew oiled the butcher block buffet top.
Step Three: Sort everything into piles.
I sorted everything into 3 main piles: trash, out-of-place things to take to another room in the house, and things to keep in the buffet.
Step Four: Throw away trash and put away out-of-place items.
I threw away the trash and took all the things that didn’t belong and put them in their proper places. Removing everything that didn’t belong helped eliminate visual clutter so I could get down to business with what remained.
Step Five: Organize remaining items into bins and baskets.
This is the part that required a little more brain power. As I did this part, I kept a list of items I needed to add to the buffet table, like glue and pencils.
The fun part was unboxing our main homeschooling curriculum from A Gentle Feast and Singapore Math.
I had a total of 4 plastic bins that fit into the drawers, so I designated one bin for my school-aged daughter, one for my preschool-aged son, one for nature study supplies, and one for paper.
Washable paint and brushes were gathered into a small wood box.
I gathered pencils, markers, colored pencils, etc. into jars and placed them in a shallow basket.
I placed morning time materials, my planner, and a few heavily used books into a cloth tote.
Step Six: Put it all back together, and add some pretty things.
I placed bins and paint supplies in the drawers, and I put the morning time tote, basic supplies basket, and abacus on top of the buffet table. Then I picked some hydrangeas from the back yard and added them to the table top.
Tips for Homeschooling in Your Dining Room
Keep supplies to a minimum. We have the basics like pencils, markers, scissors and paper. But instead of loading the drawers down again with all kinds of extra crafty things, I have decided to pick one thing at a time and let the kids use it all up before buying something different. Right now they are wearing out the washable tempera paint. When it’s all gone, maybe we’ll move on to play-doh, water colors, or beads and string. We’ll see!
Don’t limit yourself to the dining room table. We often do read-alouds on the couch or outside under a tree. My daughter likes to do independent reading in her bed, in a quiet corner, or in a tent she and her brother have made.
Tidy up multiple times throughout the day. We try to make a point to quickly clear the table and wipe it down after each meal. Nobody likes a sticky pencil or crumbs in their math book.
Start school while everyone is eating their breakfast. I love completing the majority of our school work before lunch. Getting our morning time reading in while everyone’s hands and mouths are busy with breakfast gives us a little head-start.
How to Organize a Small Homeschool Space for Back-to-School 2020/2021
- Large storage solution, such as a buffet table with drawers
- Trash bag
- Cleaning supplies
- Baskets and bins
- Notebook and pen
- Pull everything out into the floor or onto a table so you can see it all.
- Give the space a good, thorough cleaning.
- Sort everything into piles: 1. trash, 2. out-of-place items to return to proper place, 3. items to keep
- Throw away trash and put away out-of-place items.
- Organize remaining items into bins and baskets.
- Put it all back together and add some pretty things.
Keep supplies to a minimum to avoid clutter and make it easier to clean.
Tidy up multiple times throughout the day.
What About All the Books?
We keep most of our homeschool books on a large bookshelf in our living room. It works right now, but it’s probably not a permanent solution.
We use lots of books with our homeschool, and we’d like to hang on to them to use again with each child. At this rate, we are probably going to outgrow our book storage in a year or two. But you know what? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!
I’d love to hear from you!
What are you doing to get ready for the new school year? Give me all your best tips for small space homeschool organization! Especially the books, what do you do about all the books as you go through the years?
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More Organization Inspiration from Feast and Fasten:
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