7 Lessons I Learned Organizing Classrooms That I Use at Home, Too

Do you remember your elementary school classrooms?

Were they a flurry of movement, papers, lost pencils, and snacks?

A lot people and stuff have to coexist in very little square footage inside a classroom. A little organization goes a long way in taming the chaos!

And who doesn’t have a bit of chaos from time to time?

So even if your school days are long gone, everything that works for the kids at school can work — at home — for you, too.

After I purged and organized an elementary school classroom over not one, but two, long hot summers, I found myself using the exact same strategies I used there in my own home.

Make everyday life more convenient (and less crazy) with these pint-sized, industrial-strength organizing tips!

1. More People Means Less Space

The more people sharing a space, the more room will be taken up by basic things. Coats for two people fit easily in a small closet — coats for twenty people take up half a wall!

The more people in your family, the more of your home you’ll devote to the storage of their everyday things. And that means fewer categories of stuff you can neatly store in prime real estate.

So don’t despair, for example, when you can’t fit every pair of shoes your family of five owns in a tidy row by the front door! Keep out the shoes that are in season right now, and stash all the other shoes away for later.

2. Zone It to Control It

Classrooms typically use open shelves and storage containers to make it easy for young students to get what they need.

But imagine if every bin on every shelf on every bookcase contained a different type of item? The pandemonium of kids searching high and low for what they need would derail the school day!

Get more precise about how you group your belongings in your home. Focus each storage unit — from kitchen cabinet to bookcases — on a specific need or project. You’ll get everything out and put away with way less energy and confusion.

3. Great Decor Requires Just a Dot

Teachers of elementary students tell their kids “a dab will do” when it comes to glue — and the same is true of decor!

With everything going on in a classroom or a home, you don’t need as much decoration as you think to make your space feel complete.

Be choosy about what you hang on your walls! You can’t go wrong when you find something that suits the space and your personal style, plus makes sense for the function of the room.

4. Recycling Can Be Beautiful

It’s expensive to outfit an entire classroom with brand new storage containers from scratch, but matching bins really help cut down on the visual clutter of a space.

So wherever you can, reuse all your oddball containers by grouping them by color. Even if the shapes and types aren’t an exact match, they’ll look good together.

And don’t worry if you can’t find exact matches for old containers you own when you go shopping, either. As long as you pick a similar color, you’ll keep that soothing, cohesive appearance.

5. Simple Lines Create Strong Spaces

Making a room full of a hodgepodge of hand-me-down school furniture look good can also be challenging.

If you’re working with a similar situation at home, approach it the same way as the storage containers. Group like items together in the same room to create a wall of storage. The more straight lines you create with your furniture, the better your room will look.

Don’t over-complicate furniture placement! If you’re working in a small space, put furniture up against the wall where it fits and leave the center open so you can actually move in the space.

On the blog: How To Update a Small Space So It Feels Undeniably Spacious

6. Prep for Success

Here’s a secret of organized spaces: the better organized you are, the more time you will spend preparing the space than using it.

From sorting and purging, to choosing the right containers, to labeling everything so people know where stuff goes, organizing takes time and effort at first.

But if you give the process a chance — and understand that your efforts are an investment — you’ll find getting stuff done in your space much easier once you’re done.

7. Success Will Be Your Downfall

And the more successful you are using your space, the more work you’ll get done. The more work you finish, the more you’ll have to maintain your organization as finished work and used supplies pile up.

To keep your space organized, prepare for change! Dedicate space in your room to file papers and projects that are complete. Set aside enough room to put away supplies right away instead of waiting until you have time to shoehorn them into storage.

Expect success in your organized space, and you’ll be motivated to keep up your organization.

Organization inspired by classroom

Elementary, My Dear Organizer

Now you have seven ways to organize your home proven by hardworking elementary school classrooms!

Just like a classroom, you home can hold a lot of stuff gracefully if you acknowledge that not every storage space can hold everything you own in that category.

Use zones to make it easy to take supplies out and put them away.

And when it comes to decor, you don’t need a lot to make your home feel complete. You’ll get a clean look by grouping your furniture and storage containers by type in your space.

Take the time to set up organization and maintain it, and you’ll be prepared to succeed in your organized space!

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