One of the questions I get asked a lot is about storage — specifically how to keep all of the materials that you’re not currently using organized. I have a system that works for me, but it’s not very photogenic. I’ll suck it up and show you some pictures anyway, and then I’ll share some prettier versions that I’ve found from fellow homeschooling bloggers!
Our homeschool preschool room is on the third floor of our house, and we are lucky enough to have some pretty good-sized closets up there right next to the classroom. In our old house, our homeschool preschool space was in our living room, and I had to use an upstairs linen closet as our storage space — so I am thankful to have everything on the same floor now!
We purchase a lot of products in bulk, which comes with the added bonus of providing large cardboard boxes that we can then use to hold other things — like homeschool materials! I’ve hoarded so many over the years that I have plenty to hold everything that’s not currently on our shelves. Functional — but as I said before, it’s not pretty.
I designate one shelf for each subject area of the classroom — so one for practical life, one for language (including science/cultural/geography), one for math, one for sensorial, one for art [in a different closet — not pictured here]. I further separate the materials into types — for example, all 3-part cards are in one box, all phonics work is in another, etc. I put each work into a separate ziplock bag, then into the appropriate box. I also tape a piece of paper to the outside of each box and list exactly what materials are inside. This is especially helpful when rotating shelves, as I don’t have to rifle through each box to find what I’m looking for — it’s listed on the outside.
I keep unused trays and baskets in a separate small closet. Since downsizing from a classroom of two children to classroom of just one, I find that I have a surplus of trays and baskets. When we had a larger class, there would only be a few trays and baskets in the closet because the rest were in use on the shelves.
This small space above our basket storage closet is used for my prep work! I keep my Montessori homeschool planner there, the albums that I use for lessons, and any pieces of work that might need to be replenished.
And that’s it! I’ve scoured Pinterest for some other ways of doing things because I know my system is not for everyone, so let’s see what some other homeschoolers are doing.
Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report makes use of the closets that are in her children’s bedrooms for out-of-rotation materials. This helps to organize the materials by developmental stage and keeps them nearest the children who will use them. They are still out of reach in the top part of the closet, but close by in case she needs to swap something out.
Kylie from How We Montessori uses a large chest of drawers to store all of her materials that are not in use, and she keeps it all accessible for her children to take things out as they see fit.
Maria Burke wrote a guest post on Carrots Are Orange with very specific instructions for how to store the Montessori language materials — all the way down to the size of the shelves!
Jo from The Organized You shares some very creative and outside-the-box ideas for storing materials in small spaces.
Marie from Child Led Life shares some “secret spaces” that I never would have thought of — especially helpful for homeschool spaces with little to no built-in storage!
Tanya from The Natural Homeschool has some free printable Montessori homeschool labels available that you can use to label your boxes of stored materials.
Vanessa from Mama’s Happy Hive shares her REVOLUTIONARY method for organizing new printables that she’s in the middle of prepping — I say “revolutionary” because I need to do this!
Seemi from Trillium Montessori shares some amazing tips for organizing practical life supplies — I love that she sorts everything by color!
Sarah from The Autism Helper shares her master list of organizing bins and how to use them to their full potential.
Hmmm… those are all so inspiring that I might have to change my own system! If only there was more time in the day…