Is your house busy? Is it messy? I suspect for many families this is a significant area where they need to make changes in order to overcome homeschooling stress. However, this is one of the stress factors that is easy to identify and can be acted upon rather quickly in most homes.
The bottom line is this.:
- Find a way to clean out your house.
- Find a system to keep it cleaned out.
I know that sounds simple, but it will never fix itself. You must attack it ruthlessly.
Get Rid of Half of What is in Your House
I’m not joking, but get rid of half of what is in your home. I would guess most people who struggle with a messy house could remove HALF of what they own from their home and they would still have plenty.
- How much do you have in your kitchen that you never use?
- How much junk do you have in your bathrooms and linen closet that you never use, is past dated, or you don’t like?
- How many clothes do you have hanging in your closet that you never wear?
- How much homeschool curriculum do you have falling off shelves that you will never use?
- How many books do you have in your house that no one reads, no one will ever read, and you only keep around because homeschoolers “should have lots of books in their homes.” (And trust me. I’m not anti-book. We have a library in our home.)
There is no lack of information online about how to deal with messes, but most of it involves the clever storage of the stuff, not actually ruthlessly getting rid of the excess. I’ve shared a few times recently about my experience reading and using The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It’s a simple book, but a powerful process. It is not about buying more storage containers and shuffling stuff around your home so you can cram more in. It is about getting rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy.
How much could you get rid of? Can you get rid of 1000 things? You might be surprised once you get started.
Keep the Homeschooling Mess to Designated Areas
As homeschoolers with little and big people around all day, there is always going to be something going on. There is no way to homeschool and not have stuff around. But if you can keep the homeschooling action to designated areas, it will make a big difference.
Find a place in your house where you can keep the mess of homeschooling and children contained. We created a learning room out of our living room. We also have an art area in our unfinished basement where Caroline can paint and do messy crafts. That’s it. We don’t allow it to spread throughout the dining room, family room, office, etc. We have a smaller home and use every inch of it in a purposeful way. We practice containment of the homeschooling paraphernalia pretty ruthlessly.
If you need ideas on how to organize or set up your homeschooling area, check out my Creative Ways to Re-energize Your Homeschool Space for ideas that cover all different kinds of homeschooling situations.
Have a Plan for Homeschooling Paperwork
This is a big one for homeschoolers. I only have one child and we do minimal paperwork. I STILL have struggled with what to do with the papers, especially the artwork. LOL!
The best solution I’ve hit upon is a three-ring binder with plastic sleeves. It won’t hold everything, but it can hold a great deal. Plus it’s fun to go through and look at all of the different things we’ve done over the year! You can see a full post I wrote about Organizing Homeschool Paperwork in Binders for exactly how I did it all.
Finding a paper system that works for you is very important if you are going to eliminate the messy house. If you take the time to file the paperwork every Friday, it doesn’t become overwhelming half way through the year or, even worse, at the end of the year.
What steps can you take starting today to get on top of your busy, messy house once and for all?