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God led us to move from Texas to Florida three years ago for a new job and a new start. A big difference in the two states soon presented itself.
Texas = big house, small price
Florida = big price, small house
We would be downsizing by about 500 sqft. One thing we would be losing was our little library in the loft. As a fellow homeschooler, I’m sure you can understand my struggle in having to decide which books would make it onto the moving truck. The loft held our children’s books and the curriculum we weren’t currently using. I also had a bookcase in my bedroom for current books, planners, notebooks, etc., several shelves on our massive entertainment center for Christian living books, and half of a walk-in closet for our homeschool supplies.
I managed to cut our stuff in half by the time the truck rolled up to the curb. We were blessed to be able to move right into a house owned by my husband’s boss. That’s when I learned about housing difference #2: Our 1950’s Florida home has very little storage. (And no need for a coat closet haha!)
We had to put on our thinking caps and figure out where our books were going. Our new storage needed to be inexpensive and tucked out of the way.
We decided that the best option for our homeschool stuff was some kind of system from Ikea. Our DIY storage desk consists of two 6-shelf units, one 3-shelf unit, a table top, and four table legs. It sits in the hallway that leads from the dining room, through the gameroom, and to the back door.
Three more Ikea shelving units sit in the hallway near my bedroom, facing the laundry closet. They hold our Dr. Seuss collection, my vintage children’s books (which I pared down to one shelf), all of our seasonal/holiday books, and my husband’s books. Our nature field guides are in a big basket around the corner.
We have small cheapo Walmart bookcases in two of the kids’ bedrooms for series like Amelia Bedelia and Lemony Snicket, and my personal books are on a small bookcase tucked behind my bedroom door. My husband’s grandfather made it for him when he was little.
Even after all of the discarding and organizing, we still had some boxes of books stuck out in the garage. I kind of ignored them until a couple of months ago, when we started converting the garage to a bedroom. We are maxed out on bookshelf space, so it was time for more tough decisions. I had to either make room for the extra books or get rid of them.
This might not be too hard of a task for you tidy/organized people, but I have a hard time letting go of things that are sentimental or that I think might someday be useful. I’ve learned to walk myself through a few questions to see WHY I want to keep something.
I ask myself:
- Have we used this in the past, and did we enjoy it?
- Will this work well in the future for one of my kids?
- Am I only keeping this because it was expensive?
- Am I only keeping this for nostalgic reasons?
The answers to these questions helped me to take an objective look at all of our homeschool resources and get rid of anything we didn’t love or find useful. I am trusting God to provide if we need any of it again in the future.
I just finished a fascinating book – Kisses from Katie – that made me realize how all of the excess in my home limits the time and energy I have to devote to what God has planned for my life. I’m too busy maintaining all of our “junque”. I’m ready to be ruthless.
Have you ever downsized? How do you organize your homeschool books in a small space?
Read more Bookshelf Organizing Tips from the iHomeschool Network.
Gotta love IKEA! I enjoyed reading your post today!
Homeschool Literature says
I love how you were still able to fit a lot of books in your new, smaller, house! Currently my husband and I have an apartment and I’m constantly running out of room for my books. However, we are both minimalists (except for when it comes to books for me, LOL), so it’s fairly easy for us to donate other things. I think the hardest part for me is to get rid of sentimental/nostalgic items. Even if they don’t have any purpose and they are just taking up space, it’s difficult for me to part with them. Other things, however, it’s easy for me if they don’t have a purpose. If it isn’t practical or I wouldn’t use it, it goes. And then we have more room for books! Haha