Friday, September 18, 2009

Dancing with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight, or The Organization Shuffle

Truly! Reorganizing is like the dance of the damned.

I moved my school room upstairs only to discover that the small area upstairs is ill-suited to an active toddler. Decided to school downstairs (back to that trusty kitchen table). Started moving things down piecemeal as I took books out for reference or regular use. After two months, my ad-hoc shoving of various materials here and there became too much even for me (meaning it looked REALLY bad--I'm good with pretty bad, but I do have my limits--like when I'm actually removing important items for a stash-and-dash clean instead of just mail).

When we first started homeschooling, I used the downstairs pantry for the school supplies, books, . Large, deep at 30", and in desperate need of new shelving anyway, it fit the bill pretty well. Of course, after having moved my school stuff to the NEWER school location, I decided to repurpose my pantry to use it as, um, a pantry plus some boxes of craft items. Now that I have taken it back for school items (again--rinse, repeat) I had to figure out what to do with that other stuff (you know, the stuff that actually belongs in a pantry--the kitchen stuff?).

Which leads to reorganizing the front hall closet.

This is in the back of our front hall closet. The hall closet, for various reasons I am sure, is 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep. That's a whole foot deeper than a standard closet. We moved the hanging rod so we would have room to add wall shelves behind the coats.

Which leads to reorganizing the book shelves next to the TV armoire (now doesn't that sound old-fashioned? I spent more on that armoire than I would spend today to get a 42" HD TV now).

The top shelf is for historic fiction based on periods we're not studying this year in history, Dungeons and Dragons rule books, and pop-up books I don't want the toddler getting his ripping & tearing hands on just yet. The second shelf down holds holiday books, craft books, and the American Girl things. The next shelf has puzzle books and mazes.

The top shelf here has the books Hanover has already read. The second shelf is primarily free-reading choice books along with modern classics (award winners, highly acclaimed, great messages for instance). I ran out of room (of course) and used a suggestion from a friend. I put books in a shoe-box sized bin that can be taken out and the titles perused from the side. It's not as nice as seeing all of the books at first glance, but it will do for now. I had to use many more bins on the next shelf for the Magic Treehouse, Junie B. Jones, and the other overwhelming amount of 1/4" thick books I have for Flurpee.

Which leads to reorganizing the book shelves next to the sliding doors.

This is my primary location for books I may use this school year. Again with the bins! The top of the book case has curriculum books I may need for the kids--like their next math level or science work books. The top shelf has three bins arranged by grade level in which I've put the Ambleside Online curriculum books I own. The first bin is for year 1 and 6 (the ones I don't think I'll be using), the second bin includes years 2 and 3 books for Flurpee, and the third bin has years 4 and 5 books for Hanover. The books that can be related to Europe in some way are placed in the front and American books are in the back (again so I can concentrate on books that are related to our history classes with History at Our House). The books that don't fit into the bins are all the way to the left. The next shelf down has magazines like Which Way USA, Highlights, Spider, Cricket, National Geographic Kids, and others. The bin all the way to the left includes the historical fiction that would fit with our history classes, arranged from earliest periods to later.

Which leads to (sensing a theme?) bringing up another book shelf which then needs to be organized (can't re-organize when it has never been used before). "Book shelf" is a bit of stretch. It's only a book shelf in that it is currently holding books. You smartie-pants will note its uncanny resemblance to basement storage shelves. If I didn't have a toddler with a long reach, I might not have so many book shelves. Since the bottom two shelves are all off-limits, I need to spread out A LOT.

On top I have things I need to get rid of as well as CDs and audio books. The shelf beneath has the CD player and reference books the kids may need or want to use (dictionary, atlas, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary, bird guide, rock guide, and stories from the Core Knowledge series). In front of those are the memory boxes (which I've failed at using before), one for each kid, as described at Simply Charlotte Mason without any of the scriptures, of course. The next shelf down holds the kids actual schoolwork. They each have their own bin so they can find their work more easily and put it away quickly. The red accordian file next to the bins is where I put their completed work. I have divisions by child and by subject (e.g. 'Elisa's History', 'Victoria's Language Arts'). The binder holds the history images needed for class (both Upper El and Lower El get the same images, so I only print them once and put them in a single binder. The kids history notes and geography work each go in their own binder which is kept in their bins.

Which leads to reorganizing the actual books. Consolidating the parenting books to the shelves above my night stand, the sci-fi books to the shelves above hubby's nightstand, and the science text books and lay-man's interpretations to the shelves above my old schoolroom desk. No pics of those because the books have been relocated by there is NOTHING organized about it!

And here is still more aftermath. These are the dislocated appliances from a bakers rack and pantry that got the heave-ho out of their comfortable and well-established abodes. They are currently in appliance purgatory to match my kitchen clutter 2nd level of Hell.

Perhaps this weekend will see me posting my best and final school area pics of the completed project. I'll post hair-raising, stomach-turning, nail-biting before pics as well.


christinemm said...

Oh my gosh I feel overwhelmed thinking of all you did! What an accomplishment and lots of thought!

Amber @ Classic Housewife said...

And I thought WE had a lot of books!! Um, no, we don't! =)

You have been so busy!! I like the idea of using the shoe boxes, I may need to use that soon on the kids' bookcases. Thanks! =)