After reading Project-Based Homeschooling, I got all fired up about making some changes in how we organize and work in our home. I decided to begin by organizing our workspace.
We generally live and work in the dining and living room area. We have kept art and writing supplies in three drawers near the kitchen table. I thought shelves would be a better option, but the drawers were empty and available, so therefore worth a try. I had a basket for paint supplies, a basket for clay and play-dough supplies, a basket for sewing supplies, and a basket for glue and craft sticks. We had baggies of jewelry supplies, stacks of different kinds of paper, boxes of colored pencils and crayons, and stacks of coloring books and drawing books. Even when the drawers were organized, some shifting had to be done in order to find things. The drawers never stayed organized long. I was frequently cleaning them and telling myself each time that something about this system was not working.
We also had a tall shelf in the dining area where we kept books for the kids on the lower shelves and homeschooling resources for me on the upper shelves.
What I decided to do was move all the picture books to a different, smaller book cabinet. This made room on the shelves for all the art and writing supplies. Although I do think it would be better to have lower, longer shelves, I think we can all agree that sometimes it is necessary to work with what we have. These shelves are what I have. So I kept my resources on the top shelf and filled in the lower shelves with the kids' supplies. I used some containers from our recycling bins to hold scissors, pencils, and craft sticks. I pulled baskets from around the house that weren't being used in order to group together origami supplies, paint supplies and jewelry making supplies. I got some dividers to hold up the different kinds of paper, notebooks and drawing books. It is now easier to see where things belong. I also left the two bottom shelves empty for projects in progress.
As we began to work with this new system, it became obvious quickly what little things I had forgotten to make accessible to the kids, so I made those corrections. So far it seems that it is easier for the kids to put their supplies away. The shelf has remained organized for three whole days now, which is truly some kind of miracle.