This podcast episode is sponsored by Monart.
The Monart Drawing Method was designed by Mona Brookes, the author of the best selling book “Drawing with Children.” Millions of copies in seven languages have been used by parents and teachers for 45 years. It is a structured method that even non-drawing teachers can use in the classroom or at home. Every lesson has step by step instructions to guide the parent or teacher to unbelievable success. Monart has become extremely popular with home school associations and Montessori schools.
Recycle art work and worksheets
I am that mom that would much rather hang on to my kids’ items throughout the years than throw them away. I keep every and all keepsakes and have trouble parting with items of sentimental value.
What I’ve learned, though, is that paper is overwhelming. Currently, as I’m moving my family out of our 4-bedroom home into a small 2-bedroom apartment for a couple of months I am realizing the need for downsizing and decluttering. I have to make space in my life for the things that truly matter, and part of that process involves learning to let go.
Since paper is a huge overwhelming issue for our family, I have learned to happily recycle. Digitizing my kids’ artwork still allows me to hang on to those memories without hanging on to the paper that takes up physical space in crates and crates of storage bins.
Here is a video from a few years back on how I digitized some of my girls’ schoolwork using Evernote.
So far, by simply digitizing my girls’ artwork and workbook pages that were important to me (and I’m talking kindergarten through 12th grade- that’s how much I accumulated!) I’ve been able to fit the most important physical keepsakes into two slim zipped binders that fit neatly in the corner of one shelf.
No more crates and plastic bins of haphazard papers!
They are now all organized neatly in plastic sleeves in 3-ring binders. If the art is oversized and portfolio-ready, I placed it in an actual professional art portfolio I purchased from Michaels.
Downsize school supplies
If you’ve accumulated a lot of school supplies over the years like me, you will want to sort your supplies into piles of keeps and gives.
Sometimes I’ve found that after investing in an abundance of staples, erasers, or magic markers that I’ve gotten way too much. They just sit in my drawer for the entire school year unused.
If by the end of the school year I haven’t touched the supplies, I most likely don’t need them. Either I bought too many or I don’t need that particular supply the way I thought I did.
In this case, I like to make a box or small bag of giveaways. I can always find another homeschool mom in our community or coop that would be glad to take the supplies off my hand and use them in her homeschool.
I am learning to let go of what I don’t use and only purchase what I need.
Organize your school supplies
Once I figure out what supplies I actually need to keep, I like to organize them into piles according to type.
Now that I’m moving in a few weeks, I’m finding that this is pretty much all I’ve been doing lately: organizing all of our family stuff! It’s been liberating to sort through my life accumulations, let go of what I don’t need, and organize what I do need.
For school, I’ve found that there are just a few categories that our supplies sort into: art supplies, curriculum, books and reading materials, and basic supplies and resources.
Art supplies is a pretty self-explanatory category. For us that would consist of:
- acrylic and watercolor paints
- oil paints
- watercolor paper
- charcoal pencils
- sketching pencils
- colored pencils
These types of materials can be oversized and bulky so I created a whole category in our homeschool just for art.
Of all our homeschool supplies, our curriculum category takes up the most physical space in our home in addition to our books.
Curriculum for us consists of:
- game pieces
Then we have our books and reading materials which may or may not accompany an actual curriculum set, but these are books my kids enjoy reading freely during their down times or they may be books I assign to them as part of their daily schedule.
Every year we end up getting more books and adding on to our book collection, so we definitely have an abundance and our home library never stops growing.
Lastly, we have our basic supplies and resources.
I consider this small miscellaneous items such as:
- pens and pencils
- printer ink
- notebook and graphic paper
- electronics: laptops, chromebooks, kindles, ipads
- music equipment: pianos, violins, ukes
When I take a survey approach to all that we own for homeschool and categorize them, I can then more easily sort through our belongings.
Doing a full day’s worth of brain-dumping (but actually in a more physical way) helps me make progress and get the job done. What that looks like for me is taking a full day to sort only the art supplies we own, and then taking another day to sort only the curriculum, then another day for the basic supplies, and so forth.
A typical day sorting my basic supplies might look like sitting down and dumping out everything in my cabinets and drawers. It is utter chaos with pencils and staples, and miscellaneous stuff I never knew existed strewn all around me. But with a bag at hand for trash, another for recycle and a box for keeps, I can more easily sort through what I need and don’t need and clear up a lot of cabinet confusion.
This is what my days like currently as I work through the process of moving and deciding what I will bring with me to my new apartment in a few weeks and what really needs to go to storage. If I’m spending money on storage I shouldn’t bring things I don’t need.
What I need to do is lighten my load and free up space.
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