I recently have been going through my sister-in-law’s ebook on Simplifying Home. In it, I have been gleaning information for simplifying our entire house. Simplifying my home can be tough for me as I am in the moment, but I am ALWAYS glad when I have completed a round of simplifying. I feel lighter, less-stressed, and ready to use the items that I need and love that are left in my home. I also feel like it frees me up to enjoy time with the people I love, doing things we love to do, rather than constantly fussing with our belongings.
Through this book and a recent article on capsule wardrobes in the Magnolia Journal, I have cut my wardrobe in half and begun to declutter my whole house…again. (This is a constant process for us, but seems to get easier every time, and as our habits change to intentionality.)
As I am applying some of these principles to our personal homeschool space, I wanted to share my ideas and tips with you. Spring cleaning and simplifying your homeschool can be extremely beneficial to your whole program, and free you up to enjoy your school time with your children.
Five Helpful Tips for Spring Cleaning your Homeschool
1. Make a pie chart. First, make a list of the activities you actually do in your homeschool time and space. Then, divide those activities out and approximate the time that you concentrate on each activity. Lastly, make a pie chart with your homeschool activities and keep it for reference. In the simplifying process you can use this chart to help you be realistic about things you need to have in your space to accomplish the activities you value and spend your time on.
Example: If arts and crafts are on the smallest portion of your chart, perhaps you don’t need an entire bookshelf committed to items for that activity. Perhaps a small tote with art supplies you regularly use would do the trick for you in your homeschool season.
Here is an example of my first draft for our homeschool pie chart:
2. Pull everything out of the space. Once the pie chart is completed, go ahead and pull everything out of one space (for example, one bookshelf or one drawer at a time). At this point you could decide if you have time to finish all of these steps at once, OR if you would like to do steps 3 and 4 now, and come back for sorting with step 5 at another time.
I personally like to do a quick initial sort through of all of the steps while I’m in each space. Then, I can choose if I have time to revisit for a deep sort and purge later. It’s completely up to you, and your energy and time frame.
3. Clean the space. When all of your items are out of the space, do a quick wipe down of the space before replacing the items that go back. Having a clean surface always makes me feel better about my space.
4. Replace the items that belong. At this point remove items that do not belong in this area. You can put them in a box or tote to return to their homes when you are done with this space. Then, you can return the items that belong at this point and come back to sorting another time, OR you can do a quick sort while the items are out and then return the items left to their space.
5. Ask “Do I use it? Do I need it? Do I love it?” These are the three key questions that I ask myself about any item I’m sorting. If the answer is yes to any question, I keep it for a time; if the answer is no to all three questions, it goes in the outbox.
When sorting items in any area, I always have an outbox on hand. An outbox is simply a box that quick “NOs” or “maybes” can go. I then keep the outbox in a separate area. If I decide I need something from the outbox, I bring it back into the space. If after a time I don’t miss anything from the outbox, I can donate the items left. This helps if you’re feeling anxious about parting with any items for any reason.
6. Use your chart to make future purchases. This may be the most important step when cleaning and simplifying your homeschool space. When you are going to make a purchase for your homeschool, I would encourage you to be intentional about what you let in. Referring to your chart to see if it is an item you need for your activities is a good start. We are often tempted to “stock up because it’s on sale,” thinking we are saving money, when that may not be the case.
“When simplifying feels complex and overwhelming, remember the basics: More out, less in. Those two simple habits, even over time without doing a dedicated simplifying challenge, will land you where you want to be in a simple home and a simple life.” ~Trina Cress, Simplifying Home
Intentional purchases that you and your child use, need, or love can help enhance your overall homeschool experience and help put stress to rest. Happy Spring Cleaning!
Here are some links for organization inspiration, if you are ready to move to the next step in organizing your space: