First off, I don't want to skirt past the idea that this friend asked for help. Rather than hide behind the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start with the clutter and the mess. She swallowed her pride and became real and invited us in to see what life can really be like when you are trying to home educate 3 different ages of kids (not to mention all the extra activities that go along with it). I reassured her we were NOT there to judge, but to help.
Just this past weekend I just got back from a homeschooling convention and was challenged and blessed in so many ways (eager to post more about it). One of the speakers really challenged us to GET REAL. Break down the walls that we hide behind and let true friendship begin. Find those friends that you can be honest with and that will spur you on to "good works". To be a better you. The ones that will walk with you when times are hard and encourage you when you are struggling. And not to mention the ones that will speak truth into your life. Those friendships all start with getting real.
So yesterday when we arrived we started our work in the Dining Room. This is where most of the seat work will take place this year. We needed to move out the china hutch and store and toss the dishes. And I will be honest, we really challenged her to get rid of the extra things that are broken, or the ones she doesn't like or the multiple pairs of candle sticks.
Here is the before picture. This room had 10 chairs in it (too much) and you can't see the keyboard off on the right or the china hutch on the left. Both of those have now found different homes and only 4 chairs remain.
After sorting the dishes we moved onto her curriculum. Finding all the books and teacher guides and workbooks she will use THIS year. We grouped it all in subject categories to store on the shelves. Everything else found new homes. I am so proud of her. We made about 3 huge trash bags and several large totes to take to Goodwill. Some extra things were stores in her expanded laundry room and the rest upstairs at the built in desk on the landing.
Click on the pic to see the clutter up close. We really did more than just clear off the surfaces (which is what the before and after pics look like). You have to sort keep / donate / trash , group like items together and store in a tidy and usable way. That is the part that takes so long.
We also reorganized the kid books. My favorite way to do this is to stack them in categories. Easy readers, chapter books, picture books, science, Bible, art and craft (what ever ones you may have). Then we let our friend quickly go through and toss the ones that she is willing to part with, the put them back on the shelf with labels. Still needs some book ends (that makes a big difference). So here is the big AFTER reveal. What fun to step back and enjoy all the hard work.
Hopefully this will challenge and encourage you (it did me...I came home and cleaned out my fridge and reorganized Tally's bedroom shelves).