Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Crafting Up A Homeschool Haven: Our WorkBox Solution

Earlier this year I organized my very own Small Space Dream Craft Room and have loved the change it's made to my crafting life.  The key part to my craft space staying amazingly organized and lovely has been the specialty storage desks I bought from The Original Scrapbox:  

Now I want other parts of my house to be transformed in the same way - namely our kid areas.   I started thinking about how handy something like that could be for homeschooling. We've been homeschooling for 7 years now and every year we run into the same issue of how to keep things organized, not forget stuff we have tucked away or have the rest of the house overrun with their stuff.  I'd been using a bunch of cheap particle board shelves, bookcases and plastic bins, but they just weren't cutting it anymore.  I could kind of temporarily hide stuff when people came over, but it didn't mean I could find it again.

Contained clutter ≠ Organized
There are a lot of great things about schooling at home, but it's a real challenge to keep all the books, papers, materials & supplies under control and not have the house look like a disaster most of the time.  Especially now that I have a 3 kids full-time schooling from K-Middle School levels. If I'm honest, I was really dreading trying to keep it together this Fall. This is the kind of thing that would happen to our little "classroom" about 1 month into school time:
What I like to call the "Kidnado" effect

And the state of the learning materials wasn't much better.  Trying to find the right worksheet or notebook in just a few minutes was impossible:

One of many, "cram it in there" stacks

In most regular school there are whole rooms for things like art, science, foreign language, plus a library.  When you school at home, it's usually a tiny room or closet that's supposed to hold everything, so things get cluttered & disorganized quickly.  Multiply that by several kids and you're frazzled trying to be teacher, janitor and mom. 

Puppet area hiding boxes + sad overstocked school shelf = can't find a thing

The Original Scrapbox loved how I customized the EZ View and Helen Sewing Desks I bought and how much their Jack & Jill Desk sorted out our toy overflow problem, so they let me test out one of their WorkBox units to see how it could work from homeschooling. 

White Raised Panel WorkBox & our Turquoise Jack and Jill Desk
Instead of holding scrapbook supplies, our WorkBox has become a complete schooling station!

Our Homeschool WorkBox fully opened
Here it is with the table opened up so it's got a desktop surface too:

The shelf behind the desk is great for adding our own bins & boxes and the hole at the back means we can plug in a laptop or other device:

Each of my boys has his own set of drawers for each subject in the center section, as well as a spot right in-between for foreign language and math items they both use:

I added color coded labels so everything is simple to spot at a glance too.  All the books, workbooks, papers and other things for a single topic are easy to grab when needed and then quick to put away when done.  Even oversized materials fit (which was always a problem on our cheap bookshelf):

Roomy 12"x12" main drawers
The shelves underneath are the new home for our reference books, magazines and series items.  I used to have to tuck a lot of it away in tubs in the basement when my oldest finished them because there was no room to leave it out.  Then I'd hope that I'd remember what grade we used it in & then sift through the year's worth of schoolwork in that bin to find it when one of the next two kids was ready to use it.  Now it's all right here, ready to grab. 

The various smaller drawers and cubbies are great for sorting out smaller supplies like pencils, bookmarks, small games and specific themes like our microscope slides, rock samples & flash cards and since all the shelves are removable and adjustable we can switch things up as our needs change:

And kits and small items we'd normally lose track of are right in plain sight in clear pouches that peel right off the velcro wall:

I also thought I could maximize it even more by adding some custom features to the WorkBox's blank inner doors:

Some of my WorkBox customizations

I put some double sided adhesive on the backs of my decorative clothespins and stuck them onto the left inner door: 

Now we have a place to display my little lady's artwork and special work:

Below that I added some removable dry erase circles for jotting down notes and reminders:

On the right side I attached a pair of cork squares to pin up latest projects:

Below is a sticky note weekly calendar I can peel off for whatever "to-do's" we have each week.  I also added removable chalkboard panels to the both lower sections for even more room for writing & some added drawing space:

Our early reader books and supplies used to be shoehorned into this drawer on a bookshelf. It took forever to sift through for a specific item:

Now the little books are shelved by level in the mini-drawers and all the larger sets are easy to spot in seconds in the bigger drawers next door:

Our math supplies were also jumbled up the same way.  Half the time we'd forget we even HAD flashcards buried at the bottom or to bring out our Valentin's Day themed counting set when February rolled around:

Now they're sorted into proper category drawers like telling time, manipulatives and counting tools down the left side of the WorkBox for my Kindergardener and separate multiplication & measuring small drawers on my bigger kids' right side.

And small things like jumbo crayons, markers, pencils & scissors are easy to find, but thanks to the velcro door panels, I can place them too high for my 4yr old to grab without assistance:

While things she can handle independently, like lap books and cards, are simple for her to grab on her own:

Even when I've got the box partially open like this, there's plenty of space in the room and things still look tidy:

And if we want to hide it all or keep curious hands from digging into things, I just close it up and lock the top.  Then it's all tucked away, with only the nice, raised panel, door fronts showing:

Ahhh, so clean!!

Plus, with the WorkBox taking in so much of the stuff and keeping it sorted, it's made the rest of the room is neat & orderly too, instead of its previous overflowing and chaotic state:
You can actually FIND things on the shelves now!
And our closet drawers have gone from stuffed-to-the-gills, to under control and easy to open:

The kids like that it doesn't take much effort to find what they need or put it away.  We can get school stuff done quicker because we aren't wasting time trying to find things again. And despite the room being fairly small, there's now an individual space for each of the kids to work:  

I like how simple it is to keep everything sorted, but still simple to see and access everything. I couldn't believe how much good stuff I had squirreled away, out of sight, that we've forgotten about.  I feel like nothing is going to waste now and it'll be easier to focus on learning since all our gear is ready to go.  

My very favorite part is a little less selfless...It's the fact that I'll be able to use the WorkBox long after our schooling days are over.  The old particle board cheap-y shelves & plastic containers usually end up too worn out to repurpose after a few years or have to be given away because they are too flimsy to use elsewhere. This piece has a classic look that can work just about anywhere in the house and is incredibly sturdy. There's a reason why their desks & storage pieces are worth investing in - they'll last.  I can reclaim it for my crafting use down the road, so it's a big long-term win.

Thanks to The Original Scrapbox, going back to homeschool this Fall is going to be a breeze!

I'm also sharing this with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received a WorkBox from The Original Scrapbox to customize as I desired and review.  The opinions are completely my own, based on my honest experiences.  


  1. Outstanding use of a product that seems to combine good looks with endless organization possibilities. Your schoolroom would be the envy of any teacher. How wonderful to have places for everything and to be able to find supplies so quickly and easily. Great job, Cheryl!

  2. Cheryl, I love your new set up!!! Thank you for sharing. You are one of the features tonight at The Round-Up. Here is the link so you can check out your feature. Hope to see you again tomorrow for Before & After Wed. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  3. How can I order myself this desk..u can reach me at

    1. Hi Casey - sorry for the delay (I've been horribly sick with the flu). You can find it at

      Tell them Cheryl @ Sew Can Do sent you:)


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