How to Spring Clean Your Homeschool

a woman cleans a shefl

We’re in spring cleaning mode at my house, but the one area that is hardest to declutter is our homeschool. Being frugal means I am prone to keeping everything because you never know when you’ll need it. Being a homeschooler intensifies that tendency because I really do need random things at random times!

However, when your homeschool threatens to take over your entire house, there are a few things we can do to simplify your homeschool and keep it organized

Spring Clean Your Arts & Crafts Supplies

For one month, pay attention to what supplies your kids are actually using. In our house, it is pencils, scissors, colored pencils, tape, and drawing paper. There’s no need to hold on to finger paint from three years ago if your kids never paint anymore.

Toss it or donate it! 

Because different projects require different material, it’s okay to store a small box of rarely used items in an out of the way place. For us these rarely used supplies include glue, markers, a few paintbrushes, and brass fasteners. If you can’t think of a project in which to use the items you’re holding on to—like that bag of fabric scraps and three inch pieces of yarn—let it go.

If on the rare chance that a project comes up that requires these items, you can always borrow from a friend or cheaply replace the item. The cost you pay to replace them is probably worth the de-cluttering benefit you gain from tossing those myriad craft supplies.

Spring Clean Your Books

Books are my weakness. I love reading and being surrounded by knowledge. Because I never know what my kids will be interested in learning about or reading for fun, I keep a lot of books in our home library. In the past I have been known to buy more shelving so we can have more books rather than get rid of any volumes.

Unfortunately, I ran out of room. Also, I started buying multiple copies of the same book because we had too much for me to keep track of. Finally, I had to look at our books critically and acknowledge that some will never be read. The picture books from five years ago? It’s time for them to go.

  • If a book is being used for school for more than two weeks, we keep it.
  • If a book is out of print, we keep it.
  • If the book is part of a series we love, we keep it.
  • If it is a good reference book, we keep it.

Books that can easily be accessed through our library, books that the kids show no interest in, and books that have been read but will never be read again, we donate.

“But what if I get rid of this biography on Benjamin Franklin that was written in 1970 and I picked up at a garage sale for ten cents, and then my child really really wants to learn about him?” you ask. You can probably find a better copy at the library without hanging onto a lot of book clutter.

Plus, a tidy bookcase is more inviting that an overflowing one!

Spring Clean Your Curriculum

How to Spring Clean Your HomeschoolSometimes, we purchase what we think will be the perfect learning system for our child, and it doesn’t work at all. We use it for maybe three weeks and then it goes to the shelf. We keep it because we know how much money we spent on it, thinking maybe we’ll come back to it later or with another child to suck our our money’s worth out of it.

But after a year or two, it’s gathering dust and it just makes us feel guilty to see it there, unused. Let it go. We all make mistakes; there’s no point in having a reminder glaring at you every time you look at the bookshelf.

Sell it to someone who can use it or donate it. Unless you have younger children who might be able to use it in the next few years, there is absolutely no reason to keep it. And there are moms out there who could be benefiting from it! So let them have it.

Spring Clean Everything Else

Games, models, puzzles, learning toys—these items take up the bulk of space in our schoolroom. Though we have shelves and shelves devoted to these things, only a few of them are ever used. I got a great deal once on a Carmen Sandiego board game. The kids played it once and found it too long with too many things going on at once. It went to the shelf and has never returned.

A few well-loved and often used items are so much more important than shelves filled with items no one cares about.

Let the extra items go to a family that will love them, and only keep what is used now.

Artist William Morris once said, and every site about simple living and organization has quoted, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” This includes your homeschool. Just because you might be able to use it someday, does not mean it is useful or beautiful to you right now, and therefore is not worth the space and stress it is taking up in your life.

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