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Need Encouragement: Struggling w/Lack of space


HeyChelle
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We don't have a dedicated homeschool space and it's driving me insane. We outgrew this house with baby #4 and THEN we got a dog and opened up a photography business. :lol:

 

Inspiration? Encouragement? Prayers for my sanity?

 

I've been trying to get organized again after our Christmas break. But the more I try and organize, the more I want to pull my hair out and cry a bit ol' temper fit. Seriously. Where do you fit all this stuff in your house if you don't have a dedicated room? The craft supplies, book cubby, curriculum... We avoided history for the past 2 months b/c it's just a pain to fit in all the extra books. dd-8 loves history! It's her favorite. Ugh.

 

Oh and we have one of those open concept front-to-back split houses. :willy_nilly: Dumb, dumb, dumb. Any school work on the table just makes the entire house look like a cluttered mess. You can see everything (except the bedrooms) from the front door. :ack2: And there is never enough room to put everything away. I've tried to neatly contain stuff in those 3-drawer carts and we have a desk apprentice. But still. The table area is so narrow that only the kids are small enough to squeeze by those to get to their chairs. DD-8 is barely 40 pounds. She's going to have to stay that tiny to be able to get passed her curriculum to eat at the table. :tongue_smilie:

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Do you have a spot to nail a sturdy floor to ceiling set of bookshelves to the wall?

 

Can you stick a folding table in the master BR? After school it goes under the bed. Can each child find room for a milk crate full of daily curriculum in his/her room? Will one of those flat "sweater" boxes fit under you couch? Can you empty out one lower cabinet in the kitchen and stick easy-to-slide out boxes (?milk crates lined?) of art supplies in it?

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I have no suggestions as organizing is really not my thing. At all.

 

But you made me think of a cute kids book I read recently to my kiddos - A Squash and a Squeeze. The old lady who lived in a small house complained to the wise old man in their village that her house was a squash and a squeeze. He advised her to get a cow. She complained, and he advised her to get a goat. She complained, and on it went until she had a whole farm in her house. So he said kick them all out, and when they were gone she was so thrilled with how spacious her house was.

 

So... I don't know. Get another dog :)

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I wanted to echo the tall bookshelf idea.

 

We live in the SF Bay Area and so have a very, very small apartment compared to what our family elsewhere in the country have. What we've learned living here is that the two most effective ways to manage stuff is to (1) get rid of as much as possible, and (2) stack upwards. We have 9ft bookshelves lining one wall in the "office" (which was supposed to be the master bedroom but we decided we need the space for school and work more than for sleeping). We have another 9ft bookshelf in the living room. We've gone from owning lots and lots of books to relying heavily on the library -- the books rotate better so match the kids better, and we have fewer at any given time. They have their own designated shelf.

 

And the kids have relatively little in the way of toys... I only have two kids (and both girls) but they only have a small dollhouse, blocks, a small shelf used as a play-kitchen, a few puzzles, and some play silks. They have 10 stuffed animals/dolls between them. We have a few extra toys in the back of the closet for emergencies, but what I've listed is all that they have available at any given time. Having fewer toys has saved us a ton of space. Also, each child only has 9 outfits. I do each color of laundry once a week, so 9 is enough for one outfit per day plus 2 extras for those messy days (they have 12 pairs of underwear). Cutting down on the wardrobe really helped us save space. And it's easier for them to help with!

 

Every home is different... hopefully you'll find a solution for your family. What works here won't necessarily work there. Good luck!

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Find things that serve two purposes: an ottoman with storage, a room divider that also displays artwork, use a book case as a night stand to house "moms books".

 

If you need to school in the kitchen, then claim some space! Remove things that are not used very often to higher shelves in cabinets. We used to have to school in the kitchen and I stole space from our pantry for our school things. I relocated our food on shelves in the laundry room. Our school day flowed much better when we had our books and supplies handy. They were also out of sight -- which is a must for me! :D

 

Since you have an open concept home, maybe you could think of some things to divide your space:

 

  • book cases
  • folding screen
  • plants
  • hang a ceiling mounted curtain

 

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Guest RecumbentHeart

After checking out the homeschool room pictures thread last night I went to bed thinking we needed a thread like this. :lol:

 

What is depressing is that I've already implemented the ideas here that I'm able to, many I can't (except for taller bookshelves -- we NEED taller bookshelves) and I'm always throwing things out to the point that our relatives have been offended by what we will not take/keep and I STILL don't have room! I guess my tossing out is going to have to get meaner and I'll have to look into that site for some storage solutions.

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We've never had a dedicated school space either, although we've been lucky to have big rooms to use for our school room. In our last house I had a small table against one wall in the kitchen and used the pantry for our school books. I found some short shelves and stuck them in under the built in shelves for our materials. In our current house I claimed the dining room and put shelves on every wall, definitely look for some tall shelves. You can fit more than books on a shelf by using baskets or bins.

Do you have a friend with a design flair? Sometimes it takes a new set of eyes to figure out a design/space plan. Good luck!

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One solution is to jealously guard wall space.

 

Sofas don't go against the wall. Tall bookshelves cover the wall, and the sofa is about 3 feet further out into the room. (BTW, Billy bookshelves from Ikea are very sturdy and reasonably attractive, and hold a LOT of stuff. If you have tall ceilings you can even buy extensions to go on top of them to make them even taller.) Maps don't go on the wall. Bookshelves go on the wall, and maps get mounted on foam core and put behind the bookshelves except when you need them. Posters don't go on the wall--similar as for maps.

 

Pictures the kids should study go onto the refrigerator with magnets, as does art that the kids make.

 

There is no such thing as a short file cabinet in a small home. 4 drawers or nothing, and the desk apprentice is stored on top, to be brought down to do schoolwork.

 

Tall dressers rather than short ones, desks with overhead storage, file cubbies on top of the tall file cabinets--those are the solutions for a small house--those are the ways to 'go up' with storage.

 

The other thing that is key is to be ruthless with what you're actually using daily or weekly vs. all the enrichment/backup/personal library stuff. Make sure that the daily and weekly items are low, easy to get to, easy to put away, and don't require rearrangement of other stuff to be functional. Otherwise you can drive yourself crazy.

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Our house is small, bought in our pre-child days and long before we ever thought we would homeschool. With our house, more than anything, the problem lies with our open floor plan. :tongue_smilie: You walk in the front door and see everything.

 

One thing I would suggest is going through your cabinets and ruthlessly tossing things you don't use or have multiples of. If your cabinets are tall or deep, look at adding shelving to make it more usable.

Several years ago, I measured the inside of all our cabinets and went to The Container Store and bought organizers like this:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/cabinetOrganizers/upperCabinets

It literally doubled my usable space.

 

Walk around your house and look at each and every spot and think: Is this the best use for this area? Can I move this item somewhere else? Is there a better way to store this?

Take notes and measurements. Look through a "home storage" magazine.

Then go to a few stores and browse while everything is fresh in your mind.

 

On another thread a few days ago, someone posted an idea from Ikea for displaying maps and art work. It reminded me of a display I saw the last time I was in Ikea - they used a kitchen towel bar with shower curtain clips to display art! It took up so little space and looked attractive.

One home storage magazine I was looking through showed a small attractive trash can to hold rolled up -- whatever. I don't remember now what it was, but I thought at the time that it would be a great idea for storing laminated maps.

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Got IKEA? Lots of furniture for storage. (I haven't read the responses, so I bet someone already mentioned that.)

 

I saw this table online and have wanted it since. Then I saw it in action at friend's house and I now covet it! ;)

 

 

Have you jiggled this around very much? I saw something similar at Ikea, but it was kind of rickety. It wobbled. I wanted something really sturdy that you could still expand and ended up with:

 

The Bjursta rectangular table--this is VERY sturdy, and has two leaves that you can easily add in the middle, plus they are stored under the table instead of in some closet. This table has worked out extremely well for me. It is narrower than most dining room tables, so I can pull the chairs out of the way and put away the leaves and push it against the wall and use it as a buffet if necessary.

 

and for DD's room:

 

A similar table that they don't make anymore--but smaller. It is square and leaves come out from the sides to double it in size to a rectangle.

 

I bought Henricksdal chairs to go with both, and the covers really do velcro off and on and STAY, not like slipcovers. They are GREAT! I can machine wash them and they look wonderful. Very practical and still attractive and comfortable! I bought the suede-like 'sand' color, and my one regret is that I didn't buy another set of covers in the suede-like charcoal color when they were still available. That would have been a wonderful variety! I have thought about buying red ones--that would work for Christmas, Valentines' Day, and most of the summer. But really, red chairs are a little too bold and brassy for me. And the red ones are cloth, not suede, which doesn't look or feel as nice.

 

Bottom line: Ikea has some great stuff, but you really need to asses it in person as some of it is very cheaply made and not sturdy at all, and you can't tell this on the website.

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No advice, just :grouphug: because I completely understand. I could have written your post almost word for word, right down to the slim 8yo! (mine is almost 8 ).

 

We have been trying for years to move to something bigger but for one reason or other it has never worked out. We are still trying. I don't know which is worse, serious house hunting for over 2 years or living in a tiny open space with too much stuff? :001_huh:

 

IF we finally decide to stay, I want to put these in every room:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/decor/msg102100433230.html

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I agree to buy things that serve double duty; that has doors or drawers to close off. Also buy what fits the space, don't try to use what you have and cheap out, such as sterilite drawers. They have their purpose, however when things are cheap, we try to "make" them work and they only clutter up the rooms and actually don't do the task. Go floor to ceiling, build a bookshelf into the wall so it protrudes a few inches in stead of a foot. Agreeing with another poster to use a couch to close off the space, or build a pony wall that could serve as a lower bookshelf as well.

 

Save your money and your sanity, build to suit. I can't tell you how much money I wasted, because I cheaped out instead of waited to find what worked well.

 

Ah....and a picture would be helpful!

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Inspiration? Encouragement? Prayers for my sanity?

 

:grouphug:Right there with ya Mama . . . too small town home, no yard, falling all over each other, no wall space, woefully inadequate kitchen with a tiny corner countertop, guests have to stand to eat :D. I have NO extraneous space and no room for extras. Here are some of the things we have done. They're hard to do but they've been necessary for the greater goals (homeschool, peace in the home):

 

- China cabinet holds school stuff. My pretties are in storage.

- I don't have wall space and I have to accept that. The eating "area" is a nook. We can't access one end of the table. It's tight.

-There is room for a whiteboard on the wall though and I love it. :001_smile:

- I lug a big ol' desk apprentice to the table each day. I love this thing.

- Stuff is stored under beds, cabinets, etc. We've been known to hide oatmeal bought in bulk behind decorative items :D. Sometimes I forget where we stashed it . . is it behind the plant or that picture?!

- We're considering "remodeling" our living room (it's small) by taking out the corner "fireplace" (fake, it's a heater actually) so we can put a corner sofa in and add a bookcase! I'm swooning over this idea.

-We turned our garage into a playroom area with padding and carpet. It isn't big but it has helped a lot. I use Trofast storage shelves from Ikea and store art, craft, extras out there.

- Built a bookshelf into the corner of the kids' room. (I have all the kids sharing a room. Psychotic madness! :lol:) Gutter shelves at their bedsides.

- I assign different school subjects to different parts of the house. The computers are in the upstairs bedroom (master) and so we'll go up together, listen to the music, look at science stuff, do our read aloud while the kids sit on my bed or play on the floor. I'm going to do more of that . . . assigning different subjects to different parts of the house and keeping the stuff located there. For example, I think I'll move All About Spelling to the upstairs and keep what I need for it in my closet. I can even hang a whiteboard on the hall way wall by the laundry area. :D Heck, I can keep the AAS box in the laundry area on the shelf. Why not?! I can also assign other subjects to different parts of the house as needed. I've been working on that . . .

 

:grouphug: I spend a fair amount of time wishing, dreaming, hoping, praying, and even crying. Home schooling is hard enough isn't it? But, the way I have to look at it is stewardship. God has assigned me this job in this space. I CAN do it with inadequate space whether or not I want to. I CAN have a joyful, hopeful, peaceful spirit regardless of the less than ideal circumstances. I can be an excellent teacher of my children in a tiny home just as I could be a horrible teacher with a huge home. :001_smile: But, I do understand the frustrations . . . some days are easier than others, aren't they?

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OK, one more thing: No coffee tables! They obstruct movement through a room and make it look much smaller. Instead, have end tables or those narrow tables that fit BEHIND a sofa. You can store boxes of future homeschooling supplies or books UNDER those behind the sofa tables, and no one will see them. For end tables I have two old trunks--I hunted until I found ones with flat tops. They hold an amazing amount of stuff, and the tops are great for end table things.

 

Also, use the space under beds wisely. In the back by the wall put a bin with your gift wrapping supplies--rolls of paper, tape, and scissors. In front where it is more accessible put out of season or buy ahead clothes. Put high shelves in each closet, and store seasonal stuff up there. That way if you decorate for Easter, you have everything together but not taking up valuable space that you don't have down below. An annual trip up a step ladder to get out and put away Easter stuff is a small price to pay for having it out of the way.

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I went with these a few years ago.

 

Before we went with these, I used to have separate shelves of TE and SE and notebooks and binders and ____. Now we primarily use these - although the high schoolers use big binders for their on-line courses. They manage that. For the classes that involve ME we use these. (Except for our TOG study which is another beast entirely - MOST of that is on our family computer network.) I picked mine up at Office Depot with a 20% off coupon. I recycle them to the next subject from year to year. They are for "current" subjects ONLY because they take up a little more height on the bookshelf. Make sense?

 

AND please keep in mind that we don't keep traditional WTM notebooks. My kids are all older; they compose on the keyboard. All of their work is stored on a USB drive attached to our network. That way anyone can use any computer in the house to work. AND everything is in one place for grading/backup for me. For older kids, they print and store their final drafts in a permanent folder in the file cabinet. The little or in-between documents are stored virtually.

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Fellowes-Bankers-Box-Cornflower-6110101/dp/B00186ZA6O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1294156945&sr=8-2

 

The TE, the SE, a small comb-bound schedule with a grading sheet and a <100 page spiral notebook fits nicely. We use them to house one subject only. The kids store the bins on bookshelves downstairs. When it comes time for say younger ds to do math, he fetches his bin. He's working through an Int Algebra Text as well as some pre-proof-geometry with the Keys to Geometry Series. His bin has a protractor, a compass, and pencils. His books including a slim speed-drill book. Pretty much everything he needs to do his math AND everything I need to work with him all in one portable bin.

 

The bin moves to any available work area in the house. When I connect with him everything I need is there as well. I don't need to hunt for anything. AND if something like a larger BJU TE doesn't fit in the bin, the boy is responsible for making sure that HE fetches it when he fetches his bin. The momma doesn't hunt for materials NOR does the momma put them away. That's the kid's job. :001_smile:

 

Oh - regarding the comb-bound book. Years ago I purchased a comb-binder. After a computer, printer, and copier were acquired, I considered it as our next "big" hsing purchase. It has been TERRIFIC. When I do my planning in the spring/summer, I make a spreadsheet outlining my plan for each school subject for each kid. Obviously this isn't crucial when they are littler, but I'm managing 8th, 10th, and 12th grade. A credit is a credit. We need to get through the material if they are going to have what they need to go forward. So I make a yearly goals document - it helps me see the big picture. AND I can see that we are scheduling things around vacations well; for example, I want to finish up a section BEFORE a two-week-Christmas break, not after it. This document goes into the comb-bound book; it's like a course outline. And I also include a blank grid for recording assignments that receive grades in that course. For example for a Math class, I might plan to offer 15% of the grade for homework; 20% for quizzes - with a goal of a quiz per chapter; 50% for chapter tests; and 15% for cumulative tests. I have a blank spreadsheet that allows me to enter grades as we go. The kids have a folder in their permanent file downstairs; that's where they FILE a copy of their test when it's done, but the grades are all kept as we go. End of year, I tally things up on the sheet and drop the book into the permanent file. Done.

 

In other words, the comb-bound book is kept in the bin with the class materials until the end of the year when it moves into the permanent file. Among other things, it includes a list of materials used, a course description, a plan-book - what we did and the week we did it - and the grade book. Everything all in one place for that course for that child. AND when I need more detail, I include it. I'll try to upload a copy of dd's Algebra II plan for the year. Sometimes we stick to the schedule; sometimes we don't. BUT I CAN easily tell if we are ahead or behind. That way I know if she needs to work extra or not. And I can be assured that we will complete the course on time. It works for us!

 

This system has GREATLY improved our efficiency. For me the BIGGEST difference? When keeping track of books became the CHILD'S responsibility and not mine! Tough to teach. But WORTH IT!!!!!!!

 

AND I LOVE the way the system generates complete records as we go. I'm SICK of school by June. We all want it to go away. And it does - it takes us about two hours to wrap things up, pack up the year-end boxes, update the high school transcripts and course descriptions, and finalize the year in June. Magic!

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

Oops - sorry. NO samples. Files too big. And I gotta dash. You'll have to use your imagination. :001_smile:

 

Sorry - I'm always posting in the wrong place. Meant to post under the original question. PEACE!

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And another thing--for those Billy bookshelves, you can buy doors (opaque or glass) for some of them if you want. So if you have a bunch of clutter that is going to bug you by being ugly, your choices are to buy some opaque doors for it, or put it down low where you can't see it if the couch is 3 feet in front of it, or buy attractive containers for it. Ikea has some 5 sided cube-shaped baskets that are a nice size for markers and such, maybe stood up in pint sized canning jars to keep them moist.

 

Another thing--I had much better luck with a file box for storing colored paper. You can get file boxes that close with a handle on top that hold maybe 40 hanging files. Put the colored paper, including origami paper and cardstock if you use them, in there, and lift the whole thing onto the table when you're using it. Easy clean up, and it looks neat on the shelf; plus it's all in one place.

 

You can do the same with assignments and children's work. Binders are often not as space efficient as good sized report covers, too.

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We also live in a small home with an open kitchen as you enter.

 

Use the wall space as best you can. Photo ledges can work for books as well. If you can't fit a bookcase in the room where you work, think about adding something like this:

 

www.amazon.com/Entryway-Wall-Shelf-with-Hooks/sim/B003DKYLMM/2http://

 

www.westelm.com/products/metal-picture-ledge-w516/?pkey=cwall-shelving

 

 

www.potterybarn.com/shop/accessories-decor/wall-organization/ledge-shelf/

 

As the mother of 4, and babysitter of a young nephew, I would caution against thinking everything has to look perfect all of the time. You could drive yourself crazy. A home that is well lived-in will look so. Embracing that fact goes a long way. :)

Edited by LibraryLover
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Got IKEA? Lots of furniture for storage. (I haven't read the responses, so I bet someone already mentioned that.)

 

I saw this table online and have wanted it since. Then I saw it in action at friend's house and I now covet it! ;)

 

IKEA's Norden table

 

Drawers to store things and table space that folds away.

 

norden-gateleg-table-birch__66396_PE179294_S4.jpg

 

 

norden-gateleg-table-birch__66398_PE179295_S4.jpg

 

 

norden-gateleg-table-birch__66394_PE179293_S4.jpg

THIS is a glorious table. I'm in love with Ikea anyway and this just solidifies our relationship! :lol:

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Wow! Lots of great tips! We have a small space too, but fortunately have a basement as well (unfinished) that gives me a little more room to hide things. The downside to that is that I'm an out of sight, out of mind person!

 

Anywho, some of the things I've done were:

 

had dh build a wall length shelf that fit perfectly along our kitchen wall and still left space for the whiteboard above it. (I was not having any luck finding a shelf that would maximize this space!)

 

also had dh build sets of wall mounted bookshelves for the kiddos rooms

(accessible, but out of the way)

 

redid the shelf top with a "basket makeover" - they hold so much! (love, love, love the baskets!!)

 

Think up! I purchase a few 5 shelf chrome shelves from Lowe's and Target that are invaluable for storing things! They come in many sizes too!

 

I also utilize two tall laminate, but nice bookshelves in the LR area.

 

You can see these things and our "school" area on my blog here. . .

 

http://seasonsoflearning.blogspot.com/2010/01/peek-at-our-school-at-home.html

 

Then here's that same kitchen shelf I mentioned after the basket makeover. . .

 

http://seasonsoflearning.blogspot.com/2010/06/baskets-books.html

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Last year we lived in a 700sft apartment/house. We purchased lots of bookshelves at IKEA. We used the bookshelves to split the living room in half and it made a nice little cubby library. The bookshelves where anchored to the floor and each other for safety. It's not the prettiest way to go but it worked;)

In the kitchen, I used a hutch for our school stuff. It wasn't the best use but my mom gave it to me and it's the one thing I haven't given away.

We use under the bed storage (six kids in one room leaves very little space for any other way to store things)

Since we downsized from a 3500sft house to the 700sft place life has been, shall I say, different :D

My maps and whiteboard are now hung in the kitchen. Our kitchen table is so big that it's hard to maneuver and sit down on one end. My elbows constantly hitting the top knob of my chairs. Somedays it's an obstacle course trying to get from point A to point B. :grouphug:

Edited by Homeschooling6
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Oh wow. I come back to see 3 pages of responses. :grouphug: Thanks so much for the encouragement! mmwuah! It feels so refreshing to know that I'm not the only one in this battle.

 

I have no available wall space. Literally none. The hallway is home to our dateline and memory verse poster. There is an Ikea swing in the hall, therefore no shelves can be hung. The living room is home to the dog and the TV. Right now Kinect is a big hit in the house and the living room is seeing a lot of exercise action. The space is just big enough for our Black Lab's apartment and room for 2 people to play Kinect.

 

The storage that we do have is fairly well maximized and decluttered. I still have room to improve as decluttering is forever on-going. We just had Christmas... LOL.

 

Our tiny kitchen, where I cook a LOT (kids with food allergies) has very little counter space or cabinet space. I would say it is the perfect kitchen for a young couple with no more than 1 child. le sigh. I have those nice shelves from Lowe's in the garage to store the bread machine, crock pot, and jarred goods like spaghetti sauce. I'm constantly running back and forth from the garage to the kitchen.

 

BTW - I highly recommend The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Clark. I read that a couple years ago and it helped me look at our home with different eyes. Since then, we've improved the flow and storage a great deal. Still are far from perfect.

 

:grouphug:

 

Do you have pictures of the room you currently do school in and the bedrooms or other areas that you might be able to store things in?

 

No way. No how. No see. lol My 8yo is taking down Christmas decorations and I am in the middle or re-organizing school stuff. Maybe tomorrow I can take pics. Currently it looks like a disaster site.

 

I have no suggestions as organizing is really not my thing. At all.

 

But you made me think of a cute kids book I read recently to my kiddos - A Squash and a Squeeze. The old lady who lived in a small house complained to the wise old man in their village that her house was a squash and a squeeze. He advised her to get a cow. She complained, and he advised her to get a goat. She complained, and on it went until she had a whole farm in her house. So he said kick them all out, and when they were gone she was so thrilled with how spacious her house was.

 

So... I don't know. Get another dog :)

 

:lol: So true! Too funny. But no, no more dogs. We adopted this black lab puppy and it just about put us in the poor house. Who knew such a great puppy could come with every parasite known to man? We could have supported the local vet for the past few months single handedly.

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Wow! Lots of great tips! We have a small space too, but fortunately have a basement as well (unfinished) that gives me a little more room to hide things. The downside to that is that I'm an out of sight, out of mind person!

 

Anywho, some of the things I've done were:

 

had dh build a wall length shelf that fit perfectly along our kitchen wall and still left space for the whiteboard above it. (I was not having any luck finding a shelf that would maximize this space!)

 

also had dh build sets of wall mounted bookshelves for the kiddos rooms

(accessible, but out of the way)

 

redid the shelf top with a "basket makeover" - they hold so much! (love, love, love the baskets!!)

 

Think up! I purchase a few 5 shelf chrome shelves from Lowe's and Target that are invaluable for storing things! They come in many sizes too!

 

I also utilize two tall laminate, but nice bookshelves in the LR area.

 

You can see these things and our "school" area on my blog here. . .

 

http://seasonsoflearning.blogspot.com/2010/01/peek-at-our-school-at-home.html

 

Then here's that same kitchen shelf I mentioned after the basket makeover. . .

 

http://seasonsoflearning.blogspot.com/2010/06/baskets-books.html

 

Love your space and book shelf! Those baskets are so cute. I love, love, love organized spaces. Makes my heart happy.

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One solution is to jealously guard wall space.

 

Sofas don't go against the wall. Tall bookshelves cover the wall, and the sofa is about 3 feet further out into the room. (BTW, Billy bookshelves from Ikea are very sturdy and reasonably attractive, and hold a LOT of stuff. If you have tall ceilings you can even buy extensions to go on top of them to make them even taller.) Maps don't go on the wall. Bookshelves go on the wall, and maps get mounted on foam core and put behind the bookshelves except when you need them. Posters don't go on the wall--similar as for maps.

 

Pictures the kids should study go onto the refrigerator with magnets, as does art that the kids make.

 

There is no such thing as a short file cabinet in a small home. 4 drawers or nothing, and the desk apprentice is stored on top, to be brought down to do schoolwork.

 

Tall dressers rather than short ones, desks with overhead storage, file cubbies on top of the tall file cabinets--those are the solutions for a small house--those are the ways to 'go up' with storage.

 

The other thing that is key is to be ruthless with what you're actually using daily or weekly vs. all the enrichment/backup/personal library stuff. Make sure that the daily and weekly items are low, easy to get to, easy to put away, and don't require rearrangement of other stuff to be functional. Otherwise you can drive yourself crazy.

 

Very good tips. For sure. Most of this I have already done. We are getting ready to buy bedroom furniture for my youngest and decorate her room. Currently there is a 5 drawer file cabinet in her room that will be going to live somewhere else - most likely in the dining area where we homeschool. I'm mourning this, even though I know it will be a good use of space. But a file cabinet right out in the open is going to be so ugly. I will have to find another way, I think. There must be another way. I so, so, so wish there was an Ikea nearby.

 

I gave up my Master Bedroom reading nook for my husbands office, and the other corner of the Master Bedroom for me editing and office space for photography.

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Wow! Lots of great tips! We have a small space too, but fortunately have a basement as well (unfinished) that gives me a little more room to hide things. The downside to that is that I'm an out of sight, out of mind person!

 

Anywho, some of the things I've done were:

 

had dh build a wall length shelf that fit perfectly along our kitchen wall and still left space for the whiteboard above it. (I was not having any luck finding a shelf that would maximize this space!)

 

also had dh build sets of wall mounted bookshelves for the kiddos rooms

(accessible, but out of the way)

 

redid the shelf top with a "basket makeover" - they hold so much! (love, love, love the baskets!!)

 

Think up! I purchase a few 5 shelf chrome shelves from Lowe's and Target that are invaluable for storing things! They come in many sizes too!

 

I also utilize two tall laminate, but nice bookshelves in the LR area.

 

You can see these things and our "school" area on my blog here. . .

 

http://seasonsoflearning.blogspot.com/2010/01/peek-at-our-school-at-home.html

 

Then here's that same kitchen shelf I mentioned after the basket makeover. . .

 

http://seasonsoflearning.blogspot.com/2010/06/baskets-books.html

 

The white shelf with the baskets is lovely (and so is the wall paper :D:D). I am in love with it! Thank-you for sharing. Your DH's handiwork is beautiful!

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I have no available wall space. Literally none. The hallway is home to our dateline and memory verse poster. There is an Ikea swing in the hall, therefore no shelves can be hung. The living room is home to the dog and the TV. Right now Kinect is a big hit in the house and the living room is seeing a lot of exercise action. The space is just big enough for our Black Lab's apartment and room for 2 people to play Kinect.

 

The storage that we do have is fairly well maximized and decluttered. I still have room to improve as decluttering is forever on-going. We just had Christmas... LOL.

 

Our tiny kitchen, where I cook a LOT (kids with food allergies) has very little counter space or cabinet space. I would say it is the perfect kitchen for a young couple with no more than 1 child. le sigh. I have those nice shelves from Lowe's in the garage to store the bread machine, crock pot, and jarred goods like spaghetti sauce. I'm constantly running back and forth from the garage to the kitchen.

 

Do we live in the same house?? :001_smile::001_smile: Our Ikea swing is in the garage. And tiny kitchens and running back & forth and no wall space and four kids . . . we must live in the same house :D. I can commiserate!

 

ETA: We don't have a dog though DH wants one.

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We used to have the same problem. I used the front "entry closet" for most of our school supplies. I don't know if you have one....most homes around here have a coat closet near the front door. My hubby bought inexpensive wire shelves and our supplies fit pretty well with all the shelving. We also used a kitchen cabinet for craft supplies. Do you have a garage? It may not be ideal, but file boxes with a handle are easily carried to the table for school and stacked in the garage out of the way when you don't need them. Best of luck:001_smile:

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I can totally sympathize. I have a gorgeous room now, but before all 9 of us lived in 1100 sq ft and schooling was *hard*. The classroom became the whole house. I'm not one for making 'school at home' so there are no maps, alphabets, what not. What we have --and what we had then, was a bookshelf and stuff tucked away like a previous poster said. Even now I just have two bookshelves and a table. It's decorated just like the rest of my house--I'm more of a Charlotte Mason type, anyway.

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Oh! I'm loving these ideas... just remembered one of my small-space solutions... since we have tall shelves there wasn't anywhere to put a white board. So we got some of those window crayons and now we use the living room window (where our school stuff is) as the white board.

 

I felt brilliant that day :lol:

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Oh! I'm loving these ideas... just remembered one of my small-space solutions... since we have tall shelves there wasn't anywhere to put a white board. So we got some of those window crayons and now we use the living room window (where our school stuff is) as the white board.

 

I felt brilliant that day :lol:

 

Great idea! I'm going to try this.

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Have you jiggled this around very much? I saw something similar at Ikea, but it was kind of rickety. It wobbled. I wanted something really sturdy that you could still expand and ended up with:

 

The Bjursta rectangular table--this is VERY sturdy, and has two leaves that you can easily add in the middle, plus they are stored under the table instead of in some closet. This table has worked out extremely well for me. It is narrower than most dining room tables, so I can pull the chairs out of the way and put away the leaves and push it against the wall and use it as a buffet if necessary.

 

and for DD's room:

 

A similar table that they don't make anymore--but smaller. It is square and leaves come out from the sides to double it in size to a rectangle.

 

I bought Henricksdal chairs to go with both, and the covers really do velcro off and on and STAY, not like slipcovers. They are GREAT! I can machine wash them and they look wonderful. Very practical and still attractive and comfortable! I bought the suede-like 'sand' color, and my one regret is that I didn't buy another set of covers in the suede-like charcoal color when they were still available. That would have been a wonderful variety! I have thought about buying red ones--that would work for Christmas, Valentines' Day, and most of the summer. But really, red chairs are a little too bold and brassy for me. And the red ones are cloth, not suede, which doesn't look or feel as nice.

 

Bottom line: Ikea has some great stuff, but you really need to asses it in person as some of it is very cheaply made and not sturdy at all, and you can't tell this on the website.

 

 

My friend had a computer on it, so I thought it was sturdy enough, but, no, I haven't sat at and worked on it.

 

I *heart* IKEA!

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Love your space and book shelf! Those baskets are so cute. I love, love, love organized spaces. Makes my heart happy.

 

The white shelf with the baskets is lovely (and so is the wall paper :D:D). I am in love with it! Thank-you for sharing. Your DH's handiwork is beautiful!

 

Thank you ladies! I LOVE the baskets too! They have helped tremendously. And I know I'm very fortunate to have a handy dh willing to put up with and carry out my ideas ;). That reminds me. . .I'm still waiting for a third shelf I requested. . . hmmm. . .probably shouldn't push my luck there.

 

I love that wallpaper too. It's been up for 7 years now. . .one of these days I might actually change it.

 

Where is this sold? I like it. :)

 

:bigear: Yes, inquiring minds want to know!

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Well, we live on a boat and the space I have for books is limited. We have 1 table for everything (eating, school, work, play) so when we are done with one thing, away it goes before the next thing is out (usually). I try to be very picky about which books come on board history and the science encyclopedias are killers for space! I also try to get what curriculum I can on pdf or CDs (I love these options). We don't do a lot of crafts but dedicate one fairly large box to art supplies. I also use the library (when one's available) for lots of variety, rather than buying everything. Sometimes life is just messy - don't let it get to you. Good luck and don't worry, we all feel like pulling our hair out on those days.

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Guest RecumbentHeart

The danger of DH being out of town and me spending too much time on this forum:

 

This thread inspired me to spend this whole week finding more stuff to throw out/donate, reorganize and ultimately free up a whole room and closet. The project has involved the reorganization of a total of 4 closets, 3 bedrooms, and 1 child. I'm happy with all the new space to utilize and the children are all happier being together rather than split up (we have long term plans to build onto the house so hopefully that's done before this changes :tongue_smilie:) I've still got some stuff to donate and/or sell and then I can move the bookshelves and office armoir out of our bedroom into the new spare room. w00t!:lol:

 

... speaking of ... does anyone need a hundred or so prefold cloth diapers? :001_huh:

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We live in a bigger house now, but last year we lived in a pretty small house. I don't like a "dedicated" place to have school.... It just means I can't do life while doing school.

 

But we did find a way to keep everything straight and maintain our sanity. (I suggest donating and or tossing a ton and never bringing it back into your home if you don't desperately NEED it or LOVE it more than your children.)

 

But this is what we did, with photos.

http://truevineherbs.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/okay-i-get-an-f-for-workboxes/

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  • 1 month later...

- I assign different school subjects to different parts of the house. The computers are in the upstairs bedroom (master) and so we'll go up together, listen to the music, look at science stuff, do our read aloud while the kids sit on my bed or play on the floor. I'm going to do more of that . . . assigning different subjects to different parts of the house and keeping the stuff located there. For example, I think I'll move All About Spelling to the upstairs and keep what I need for it in my closet. I can even hang a whiteboard on the hall way wall by the laundry area. :D Heck, I can keep the AAS box in the laundry area on the shelf. Why not?! I can also assign other subjects to different parts of the house as needed. I've been working on that . . .

 

:grouphug: I spend a fair amount of time wishing, dreaming, hoping, praying, and even crying. Home schooling is hard enough isn't it? But, the way I have to look at it is stewardship. God has assigned me this job in this space. I CAN do it with inadequate space whether or not I want to. I CAN have a joyful, hopeful, peaceful spirit regardless of the less than ideal circumstances. I can be an excellent teacher of my children in a tiny home just as I could be a horrible teacher with a huge home. :001_smile: But, I do understand the frustrations . . . some days are easier than others, aren't they?

 

Some of the best stuff I have read in all these small houses homeschooling thread. I have read some, replied to some, and having just redidmy home to work with our space, I am reading them all to see if I can't glimmer any more ideas... so thanks ;)

 

And sorry for bumping it up :o

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Got IKEA? Lots of furniture for storage. (I haven't read the responses, so I bet someone already mentioned that.)

 

I saw this table online and have wanted it since. Then I saw it in action at friend's house and I now covet it! ;)

 

IKEA's Norden table

 

Drawers to store things and table space that folds away.

 

norden-gateleg-table-birch__66396_PE179294_S4.jpg

 

 

norden-gateleg-table-birch__66398_PE179295_S4.jpg

 

 

norden-gateleg-table-birch__66394_PE179293_S4.jpg

That is really cool!

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