Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our School Room . . . closet

Do you ever feel like you're taking one step forward and two steps back? That's kind of a recurring theme for me this week. School starts for the girls and Ryne next Monday, so I'm busy trying to get ready. The girls are having great success in their preparations -- they baked about a hundred pumpkin muffins yesterday to freeze for quickie breakfasts or to go in lunch boxes.

Me? One of the things I've been trying to do is finish up the remaining little projects in the school room. It's school room week at iHomeschool Network and I was hoping to participate.

My one step forward was getting Grace's workspace cleaned up. Remember how bad it was? Thank you to those of you who gave me suggestions and sympathy concerning the mess that once lived there! She now has an additional space in her bedroom to be creative, so this area will be mostly just for school work.

 photo SchoolRoom1-1.jpg

But something is missing. That would be the tall file cabinet that usually stands in the corner. For at least five years I've been wanting to paint it, but just never got around to it. So yesterday I decided it was finally time. Normally when painting furniture I paint with a brush, but I had just read a blog post where someone used spray paint for a piece of furniture and it just sounded easier and I liked the idea of a smooth finish. Fast forward 12 hours and 5 cans of spray paint, I was starting to doubt how great an idea it was. The paint was splotchy no matter how many coats I applied. So this morning I chatted with the paint dude at Lowe's and found out I was going to have to strip all the paint.

 photo SchoolRoom13.jpg

The worst part is that this wasn't a high priority project. It would have been fine if I left it the way it was. I guess I was just in love with the idea of this room being completely done -- nothing left on my wish list. I'm so close and this would be the only room in the entire house I could say is completely done. But now I have a mess to fix and file folders stacked all over the place. Plus, it's taken up the time I would have spent on the other little things that need to get done.

So instead of showing you the school room, I'm going to reveal the next best thing: the hardest working homeschool closet in the midwest. Or at least that's what she thinks, so let's don't burst her bubble. Here she is!

{the view from Grace's desk}
 photo SchoolRoom2.jpg

{the other side}
 photo SchoolRoom17.jpg

 photo SchoolRoom18-2.jpg

In our old school room we had a fairly large closet, but by the end of the school year it was always a disaster and would take two days to reorganize. At the end of this last school year the new homeschool closet was still a disaster, but it only took 20 minutes to reorganize. Now, that's what I call progress!

I decided to make use of the empty wall by hanging all our educational posters. It's super easy to get them on and off and since I see them every time I walk in the closet I'm more likely to use them than when they were hiding under a bed or behind a bookshelf (neither this room nor my previous school room have enough wall space to actually display them on the wall).

 photo SchoolRoom5.jpg

The shoe organizer once lived in my son's closet, but now that he has size 12 feet his shoes don't fit in it anymore. So now it holds flashcards, small games, and other items.

 photo SchoolRoom6.jpg

Our Math U See manipulatives have their own home. We are huge MUS fans here, but I will admit the wooden boxes to hold the blocks were not worth the investment. Within the first year they were falling apart. Lots of people buy organizers like this to store their blocks, so that's another option. I do like, however, that the wood boxes are flat. They fit perfectly here.

 photo SchoolRoom7.jpg

I've had most of the plastic drawers for 15 years and they've held up very well. Several years ago I printed up color-coded labels. Green labels meant the kids were free to use the drawer's contents; red meant they couldn't open the drawer unless I gave the okay. The labels unfortunately started getting all crinkly and it bugs me. Just not enough to actually do something about it.

 photo SchoolRoom8.jpg

I haven't bought crayons for almost a decade yet we still have tons of them. I'm thinking my Sunday School kids will be getting something like this for Christmas.

 photo SchoolRoom9.jpg

I have enough notebook paper to get my future grandkids through school. Raise your hand if you find it impossible to pass up those September and October sales at Target and Walmart when they are practically giving paper away! The stack of paper next to the notebook paper is actually from the recycling bin at my husband's office. It's what the kids use for drawing paper. I do buy a little bit of nice drawing paper, but with as much as my kids draw it's been nice to have a source of free paper. If you can't raid an office recycling bin, try posting on Freecycle -- I've found paper that way too.

 photo SchoolRoom10.jpg

The paper organizer on the top shelf holds all our craft paper. This organizer was actually my first attempt at a workbox system, but ended up being a big fail because it wasn't sturdy enough. So now it serves its intended purpose. Totally not a necessary item, but it fits well up there, so we use it.

 photo SchoolRoom11.jpg

We ended up going with the workbox option a million other homeschoolers also use, the rolling cart of drawers. We've used a modified workbox system for 3 or 4 years and still love it. The cart fits perfectly under the middle shelf and can be rolled out into the room, but we just leave it in the closet most of the time.

 photo SchoolRoom14.jpg

Well, it's certainly not as exciting as a school room, but hopefully you still enjoyed the tour. It seems silly to get excited about a closet, but it makes my job as a homeschool mom easier, which in the long run means my kids are learning more.

If you are visiting from the blog hop and still want to see the rest of the room, I'm planning on posting no later than Saturday whether I'm done or not. See you then!

Update #1: Um, I'm a big fat liar. It's 5:00 p.m. Saturday night and I haven't even taken pictures yet. Someone needs to remind me every year that the week before school starts is nuts! So stay tuned . . . I have a plan of when I'll take the pictures and post, but I think I better refrain from making any more promises.

Update #2: My husband just told me he likes the look of the file cabinet, which has not changed since the above picture. Maybe he's been sniffing the fumes of the paint stripper. Or maybe he's tired of having to walk around the cabinet, which has been sitting by the back door all week.

Happy Homeschooling!


  1. That is the most awesome closet EVER!!!

    Popping in from the Blog Hop!!

    1. Thanks and I'm glad you stopped by!

      You have an amazing school room. I'm sure you'll make many wonderful memories there. : )

  2. Ugh, sorry about the file cabinet snafu! :(

    I LOVE that closet! What a blessing to have such a great storage space - with a door to hide it from view! :)

    I love that you can sort your construction paper by color, too. It may just be a little thing, but digging to find the right color in our bin annoys me :)

    1. Yes, it was a blessing that everything fit in there so perfectly. This is the best closet in the house (the others are pretty small or awkward in layout), so I wish I could say everything in our house was this organized. : )

      Thanks for visiting! I'm still smiling from the post about your boy and his Bible verse. : )

  3. Kellie-- your closet is an inspiration!! Truly... we moved into a new home this past spring, and I have 1 nice-sized closet for our materials as well. Needless to say, it doesn't compare to the system you've created, but wow... have you inspired me to get working!!

    Best of luck with your filing cabinet! I, for one, have a gazillion things to paint... all of which I inteneded to do this summer. Nary a one has actually been accomplished :) All in time... right?!

    Hope you have a super day!

    1. Oh, wow, you moved too? Let's see... you're in the middle of the adoption process, you moved, you homeschool, you're a swim mom, plus all the other normal stuff... I just can't imagine why you haven't found time to paint. ; ) You and I both know it would be nice to have it all done, but it will happen when it happens and that's okay. : )

      So glad to have you back!

  4. Very nice!! For the first time in six years, I'm not getting a room ready. :( Cameron will have his desk and one bin and that's about it.

    1. Well, I still have a big drawer of extra school supplies that could use some organizing. Come on over, and I'll put you to work. : ) And I promise I won't make you paint the cabinet! Better yet, come on over and we'll let the boys play Legos or Minecraft and you and I can just chat all day. : )

  5. Stopping in from the blog hop and I am drooling over all the organization! What a wonderful closet set up!

    1. Thank you! I wish I could say the rest of my house was this organized, but at least the room we spend the most time in is in good shape. : ) Glad you stopped by!

  6. Love the organization!! Definitely inspirational!

    1. Thanks and thank you for visiting!

  7. Wow! I'm super impressed. I LOVE the idea of hanging the wall poster in the storage area. I forgot about a few of those myself. :)

    I'm glad you linked to the blog hop, too. I wasn't sure where that was this year and I always like to participate. I guess I better get movin'. :)

    Have a wonderful school year!

    1. I'd love to see what you have set up now that you converted your school room into a bedroom!

  8. Your closet is amazing, I love it! And I'm the same way with stocking up on school supplies at Target, once they go on super clearance I seem to scoop a lot of them up. I have more notebooks and lined paper than I care to think about! Have a great year and a fun first day!

    1. Yes, notebooks too! I forgot about those because they are in a drawer not in the closet. Hoarders unite! : )

  9. Thank you for sharing! I'm switching back to kitchen table schooling and trying to figure out how to organize my supplies...I'm grateful for posts like these!

    1. Thanks! Since a lot of the stuff in our closet is craft and office supplies that aren't necessarily for homeschooling, I think we could make do with a smaller closet or cabinet if we needed to. One of my favorite kitchen table school rooms was over at It's Just Laine that you can see here: She has a dedicated room now, but I loved her setup before too.

  10. Wow... I love your organization! My Dad would be in love with all the labels... haha... he loves his label maker. ;) I love the way you organized all the craft things in labeled bins though, honestly... so helpful! VERY cool. If only our little house had closets... ! :) Cassandra @

    1. Thanks! Well, your house might not have closets, but I just visited your blog and your home is simply delightful and very organized! I also love how you took great care to make all the books and writing supplies easy to access for the kids.

      Thanks for visiting!