Can STUFF multiply? I don’t know if it is because we homeschool, if I just have “the hoarder” gene, or if our stuff just procreates when we are not looking…but as far as our games & flashcards and puzzles go, it seems there is always too much STUFF! And yet, it is so hard to purge. Hm. Maybe there’s my answer. ๐Ÿ˜›

Last week when we cleaned up the school area and got ready for school to start again, we gathered all the puzzle pieces, cards, game pieces, crayons, pencils and other craft and learning pieces and set them aside. The kids have a bad habit of pulling these out and leaving them out or just plain dumping them out and making a mess. These are the items they make the biggest mess with. I’m tired of it, so I decided that some of it has to go. The less stuff, the smaller the possible mess, right? Of course, we need to work on those bad habits, too.

a-blog-tt-0911-1.jpg

Before we started: It looks worse than it is!

This is everything that needed to be sorted, everything

that was still in the boxes or baskets, and all my empty

baskets for options. We were going for a total overhaul!

Over this last week, we sorted through it and purged and reorganized and put it away. The first and easiest part was sorting like with like and then organizing the crayons and colored pencils, etc into appropriate storage containers- which we then labeled. This is what we kept:

a-blog-tt-0911-2.jpg

These are now going in the top of the closet so their

use can be better monitored. Good plan, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

Purging the board games and puzzles games wasn’t so hard… if all the necessary pieces weren’t there, they went in the trash, no problem. Though I did get rid of a few older puzzles that had all the pieces, too. I have to make myself part with a puzzle or two on occasion because I keep thinking about how they could be used by the next child. But then I remind myself of all the puzzles left to play with and the ones that are sure to be given in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚ If there is going to be room for Christmas and birthday gifts, something must go.

a-blog-tt-0911-3.jpg

The before picture: How do you define intimidating?

This box of puzzle and game pieces!! Sorting these

and putting them back together took a few hours, but

I had the girls help!

a-blog-tt-0911-4.jpg

Puzzles After: The stack on the very left is on probation

until we see if we can find the other pieces (I don’t like to so

easily purge the wooden ones!) The stack in th middle is trash,

and the stack on the right are the puzzles we are keeping.

a-blog-tt-0911-5.jpg

The games we are keeping. I’m not sure if

we actually got rid of any games. ๐Ÿ™‚

The cards were initially sorted into flash cards and card games. After that they were sorted for each set and then counted to see if they were all there. It was easy to get rid of the ones that didn’t have all the cards (unless it’s a matching game of course – then you can just get rid of the mismatches! ๐Ÿ˜› ) But for some reason, I really have a hard time parting with things like flash cards and learning card games. I think I have a tendency to look at everything as a possible learning tool. And since I have three kids spaced evenly apart that can be a problem. For example, Princess needs the addition and subtraction flash cards, and can still benefit from reviewing the phonics flash cards. Drama Queen can still use the counting flash cards and needs to use the alphabet flash cards. And Little Prince can soon use the colors and shapes flash cards and card games. So what exactly am I supposed to purge here?? I finally compromised with myself (isn’t that sad that I have to compromise with myself?) I found some duplicate types of flash cards (3 sets of subtraction for example) so I pulled those out to keep and put away in case the set I am keeping out gets destroyed somehow (wouldn’t put it past my kids ya know). That way I don’t have to buy more since I know I will need some for the next two kids over the next 5 or 6 years. There were a few things that each child might need soon, but not now, so I put those away, too. All these I put together and put away in the very top of the closet and we’ll go through them at the beginning of next year to see what we need to pull out or put away. I know that sounds like a simple thing, but really, I think it was a break-through for a borderline hoarder like me. ๐Ÿ˜› So after God taught me how to prioritize flashcards effectively, this is what we ended up with:

a-blog-tt-0911-6.jpg

Left: Trash. Middle: Store away until

next year. Right: Current use. Before,

I had two baskets of cards! (I threw away a

whole bunch that aren’t pictured here.)

And here’s the top of the closet now:

a-blog-tt-0911-7.jpg a-blog-tt-0911-8.jpg a-blog-tt-0911-9.jpg

The best news is that they can’t reach it without a step! LOL.

I know, I know. We really need to work on making good habits, and not just keeping all the stuff out of reach. Trust me, we are doing that too. They have just enough stuff out to try to take care of. Once they are trustworthy with a little, we’ll see about more.

Another thing we worked on in the school room was those two empty shelves on the large bookcase. I decided to move the books from the top of the small bookcase over to the second shelf (ya know, since there was all this empty space,) and I used the little cubby baskets for the third shelf to contain some of Little Prince’s toy collections that easily fall to the bottom of the toybox. They aren’t very full right now, but that’s fine by me! By the way, his little shelf of books on the bottom is working out great!

a-blog-tt-0911-10.jpg

a-blog-tt-0911-11.jpg

Top Left: Cars; Top Middle: Little People Animals;

Top Right: Balls and Blocks needed for bigger toys;

Bottom Left: Dinosaurs; Bottom Middle: Little People

and accessories; Bottom Right: Magnetic Animal

“Puzzles” and Stacking Cups

The last thing that we did was hang a toy sorter for all of Little Prince’s stuffed animals. Not that he has a ton, but he does have several. I think by pulling out many of the small things that get lost and the stuffed animals that take up lots of space, Little Prince’s toybox will be much easier for him to navigate.

a-blog-tt-0911-12.jpg

You may look at this and be tempted to say: “Wow, you’ve been busy this week!” I say: God has blessed me with a good portion of endurance this week. Not only with this school stuff but in many other areas of our household life, God has been calling me to crack-down on the crime of bad stewardship (of our stuff, of our space, of our time.) I feel relieved to know that I’ve put at least this much behind me for now. ๐Ÿ™‚

So what’s the moral of the story?

1.) Prioritize. You don’t need to keep everything. Really.

2.) Purge: Again, see number one.

3.) Put away: Use whatever resources are already available to you to put things away in a system you can easily maintain.

4.) Pray! Before you start and anytime you’re in doubt.

blogsig.jpg

Written by

Amber

Hey, yโ€™all! I'm Amber, and I wear many hats: Pastor's wife, marriage advocate, eclectic homeschooler, mother of three, and domestically challenged homemaker--lovinโ€™ life and livinโ€™ deep in the heart of Texas.
I love to write and I hope to use that wisely, to encourage others, and for Godโ€™s glory. I seek purpose in the mundane. I want my kids to see Godโ€™s fingerprints throughout all of creation, learning, and life. As I teach our children, God is teaching me through this homeschool journey, too. I love Jesus, family, coffee, words, and the color teal.
Follow me: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | G+ | Instagram | Email | Subscribe