The school room didn't become a disaster overnight. Oh no, this was a carefully crafted mess, created by little kids who walk away from their messes, lazy older kids who can't quite put things back where they belong ("I'll just leave my math book on the dryer. Good plan!") and a mom who let things go way too long.
It's just too much work to put everything away. Apparently.
I don't know about your kids, but mine just slide stuff to the opposite end of the table when they want to do a project. The idea of putting things away doesn't ever seem to occur to them.
Because the blue swimsuit belongs on the floor next to the palm tree. Right?
A mess like this can be overwhelming, and when we feel overwhelmed, it's easy to shut the door and walk away. Where to even begin?
Why put books away when you can just pile them on the table and dump them on a shelf?
When you feel helpless, your life's a mess
You're so tired, but you can't rest
You've gone crazy, you've lost control
Your feet can't find the floor
Just find one little corner, put it in order
Stay there till you feel like you're alright
Then look out to the others
Soon you'll discover the peaceful little corners in your life
And that's what I did. I started with one little corner:
I organized that tub o' stuff, then took the picture.
I was ruthless. I tossed, sorted, stacked, and hauled away two trash bags just from that corner countertop alone. Two trash bags, and I hadn't opened the cupboards yet.
I've been wanting to paint those cabinets for the longest time (10 years), but it's a huge job and there have been about a hundred other cabinets in this house to paint that have taken precedence. You know how that goes, don't you? It's homeschooling or housework, but rarely the twain shall meet.
One of the easiest ways to make everything look cohesive and organized despite the decor shortcomings is to pick a font or a theme and stick with it.
Avery has great downloadable templates.
So as I started to clean things out, I decided to keep the black plastic magazine holders and make labels that matched. As I was labeling, I took old labels off and replaced them with new labels that matched everything else. I may never get to painting the cupboards the way I want to, but making everything match helps it not look so dumpy and disjointed.
Matching is a good thing. Makes me feel less cluttered.
Look how cute those palm trees are! I usually get images like these from Microsoft Office.
Christian's Work Box. You can read about how we do workboxes here.
It all comes together into a corner that is cleaned out, re-arranged, and ready to use. Now, if I can get the kids to put their books into the right container at the end of the day, I'm set!
On to the next corner ...