Friday, August 29, 2008

Homeschool and Clutter

Happy Friday! Heart of the Matter hosts a meme every Friday for homeschool moms and this week, the topic of choice is:

Best Tips For Conquering Clutter
One of the biggest struggles for homeschooling parents is managing the household while teaching the kids. What are some ways that you stay on top of the daily chores? Do you have organizational tips to share?

This makes me laugh because I try so hard to conquer clutter in my house and there are many days I find it to be a loosing battle. It seems to me that for a homeschooler, clutter is required. Or, is it just that as a mom who is spreading out her time amongst the munchkins who are home all day long is left with little time to keep up with the everyday house mess that seems inevitable. There are a few things I do - that I know work for me - to keep clutter from over taking the house. So, I will share with you what works for me.

Less is more - I try not to buy too many things. Before I buy anything that is not an immediate need, I ask myself if I have a place for it to call home. I ask myself if it is something I will use more than once. If it is décor item, I ask myself if it really works in my house and if I will still like it in a few months. I often leave items I like at the store and will go back to buy that item only if a week or two later I still want them. That tells me that it is not an impulse buy. I really do not have a lot of décor in my house. I do not like to buy items that are not useful.

Contain Everything - I am still working on this area. I just bought some Rubbermaid “Take Alongs” to contain our manipulatives. I had been using plastic baggies and putting all of those in a large container but that was hard for the kids to keep put away for some reason. I put all the manipulatives in their own container and that seemed to do the trick. Now, each container will go on a shelf so they are more easily obtained and put away. The take along containers I bought at Wal Mart this week for so little money. (1 pkg. of 5 for $2.50) I have a hard time spending a lot of money on storage items so I rarely buy them and when I do, it is only, that which is cheep. You will not find cute storage baskets at all here. I can never bring myself to buy them no matter how much I like them.

Put it Away - When it comes to the kids’ toys, I am struggling. We only buy that which we know they will play with for a long time and that can be passed on to the next child. We do not get them toys throughout the year either. We only buy the kids toys for birthdays, Christmas, and then not very many. However, it seems that toys multiply spontaneously. Have you ever picked up a toy and wonder where in the world it came from? I really have a hard time with getting them to put away toys consistently when they are done. Nevertheless, I try. Baby G is 21 months old and long ago, we started teaching her to “Put away.” Whenever she is done with something, we tell her to put away and she has learned to do just that. I am hoping that she will continue, as she gets older.

I fail miserably with controlling paper clutter. So, I have no advice with that.

Clutter can be so powerful in the home and I am in a constant battle with it so that I can keep it at bay. Clutter can cause dissension in the home. Clutter does not bring peace and relaxation. It can't, clutter is chaos and undermines the very core of a home. I am sure of this as I have seen in my own family that when the clutter is under control, peace and rest can be felt. Clutter is a distraction saying, "Look at me you have to put me away still." It can cause a mom to have a sense of urgency in her that she does not need. Then the kids pick up on it and the day spirals down hill from there. Please know that I am far from getting it under control and look for new, easy, inexpensive ways to control the clutter all the time.



  1. just stopping in to lwt you know 'i was thinking of you. We have been in transition for such a long time. I hope all is going well with you and your family!

  2. I completely agree with your thoughts on clutter. It really does serve as a distraction and makes us uncomfortable in our own homes.
    I am just learning the "contain everything" trick and am finding that it makes such a difference!

  3. "Would you like me to help you get caught up?" LOL. ha ha.

  4. I try to follow the same philosophies. I love the Less Is More approach. :)


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