When you walk in the door to your home, do you feel like you've just walked into a mine field? Homeschooling clutter can quickly take over when cold weather keeps families inside. Then add the leftover paper and packaging from the holidays, and the mess can be overwhelming. If you find yourself unable to clean your house because of the clutter, it's probably time to tidy up before you resume your regular homeschooling routine. Fall in love with your home again. Use these tips to get clutter free for the new year:

Steps
  • Bring home several large boxes from the grocery store. Mark one save, sale, and donate with a permanent marker and place in a central location. Also set up a lined garbage can for throw-away items and a recycle container for paper and plastic.
  • Set aside a time to get caught up. Pick a day, weekend, or evening when family members are available to help.
  • Take one room at a time (including the closets) and place items into the appropriate box or trash. Unless it's a keepsake, the rule of thumb is "if you haven't used it in a year or more, it's time to go!"
  • Reorganize games, books, and toys. Have older siblings help little ones make sure loose game pieces are placed in the proper game.
  • Return extra pens, notebook paper, arts and crafts items, and other homeschooling supplies to the school room or supply cabinet.
  • Gather completed school assignments and art work that your child wants to save into one location. (Warning: Some negotiation may be required―everything can't be saved. Have your child pick his favorite.)
  • Use plastic tubs, totes, and shelving to give your children a place to put their workbooks and curriculum. No more stuffing things into the closet or under the bed to deal with it later.
  • Dust, vacuum, and then enjoy the clean room you probably haven't seen in months!
  • Make a New Year's resolution―No clutter, No mess!―Incorporate a morning or evening clean up chore time into your homeschooling schedule to keep your home clean on a daily basis.
Throw Away Tips
  • When a toy is broken and can't be fixed, throw it away immediately.
  • To keep the amount of books on your shelves under control, share two or three books with other homeschooling families or donate them to the local library whenever you purchase a new book for your child to read.
  • Sell or give away outgrown clothes, shoes, and sporting equipment.
Remember, each time you and your children work together to put things back in their proper place, the learning environment in your home is more enjoyable. This is the year to reclaim your home and unclutter your life. From kitchen countertops and tables to problem rooms, a few minutes of work now will save hours of time and energy later.