As the books begin to accumulate in your house for the upcoming year you may begin to feel overwhelmed about where you are going to store all of it, let alone keep it straightened up throughout the year. I have tried several ideas, some have worked better than others. It really is about what works best for your family, but here are some that I have tried over the years.
- Bookshelves I know this is stating the obvious, but sometimes you have to be given permission to put school books on the traditional bookshelf. I had been trained to put “books” there, but had never considered our workbooks and teachers manuals as worthy of being put on the bookshelf. Does anyone else think like I do? Give away unread books that are taking up space or box them if you think you will use them in the future. Store the books you will use for school on the shelves instead. They will be out of the way and have a nice home too. You can attach different colored neon stickers on the spines of the books for easy reference. For instance, if you are using Story of the World and Easy Grammar color code one set with green stickers and red stickers on the other [set]. You and your scholar can see them from a distance. This serves two purposes. One, is that you will be able to see at a glance that your teacher’s manuals and student workbooks are in their proper place. The other thing is you can ask your student to get the books. If they don’t know which ones to which you are referring you can say, “Get all of the books with red stickers and bring them here.” What an ingenious idea, right? I know! It just came to me and I wish I had thought of that a long time ago.
- Desks Do you have an area on a desk that can house books? I actually have a large desk and a wooden filing cabinet next to it so I can store books and curriculum on them without too much clutter. Know your “clutter limit.” If you don’t mind a bit of clutter then you can do this, if not, DON’T do it! You will be anxious and it won’t be a pleasant thing for all involved.
- Portable bins There are all different types of bins that are available. If you purchase wooden ones you can put them on their sides and stack another one on top to save space. Plastic milk crates work too. I just saw a bright orange milk crate out at the curb for garbage pick-up yesterday. I was sooo close to stopping and taking it home with me. It’s a good thing I was on my bike, but I must say two things crossed my mind: 1. How could I get it home? 2. Who could I call and tell them about it so they could use it? Crazy, huh? Can’t you just see me riding home awkwardly on my bike with this crate?
- Collapsible cubes I don’t know what else to call them, but I have several around the house for storage according to subject areas. For instance, I have a blue fabric cube that has elementary science books and resources in it and a red one that has geography trade books, games, and maps in it. I purchased them at Ikea and it has been great to have them in the bottom of my living room closet. I am utilizing closet space that would otherwise not be used.
- An upright shelving unit with doors (better known as a wardrobe) I had so many books and games at one time that I couldn’t stand to look at the clutter any more. I could close the doors on it and my level of peacefulness would return since I didn’t have to clean it up if I got busy. Of course, once I opened it up, I’d get all jittery again. The solution to a big messy mess- straighten it up! My mom used to say that to me when I was little. You see, I’ve been dealing with this all of my life. (sigh)
- An entertainment center Who says that it has to be just for TV’s or sound systems? There is usually quite a bit of shelving with this piece of furniture, which means a lot of area to store books, games, maps, art supplies, etc. Other furniture can be used too, just don’t use furniture you sit on as that will get to be mighty uncomfortable balancing on books.
None of these ideas cost a lot to implement. If you look on craigslist or go to a resale shop for furniture I think you could find something within your budget. Sometimes people give things away for free! Now, that’s a great thing. Do you have an idea to share that is working well for you? I’d love to hear about it.