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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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Cards and Book and Miniatures... Oh My!

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We started building our Montessori environment nearly five years ago.  While I'm satisfied with most areas, organization has never been my strong point.  This is highly evident in our card collection, books and miniatures.  While I have done my best to hide my head in the sand, I finally had to draw the line when I realized I had printed, laminated and cut the same set of three part cards multiple times, purchased several copies of the same book and flat out avoided some activities that avoided digging through the miniature pile.

Let's start with where I am now....

Last year I purchased two sets of lateral drawers for the school room.  My goal was to use one for paperwork and the other for cards and miniatures.  As I completed each set of cards, I would place them in a 6X9 envelope and write a description on the outside.  I then would group the envelopes together by subject in hanging folders.  Or at least, that was the original theory.

Card sets in the lateral drawer.  What I didn't show is that I had at least three times the amount of envelopes sitting on top of the desk in plastic bins... all completed unlabeled.  And yes, you can have a laugh at my expense if you notice the mislabeled envelope that is obviously empty.
This approach worked at first when my card collection was small.  As my collection has grow exponentially, I've lost track of what I have.  While I tried to be descriptive on the titles, I still find myself pulling the cards out of the envelope to figure out what's in there.


The miniatures are another story all together.  I've never come up with a good plan for organizing them.  They have been thrown in two different drawers that I apprehensively dig through when I need something.

All the miniatures were supposed to end up here. 

And this drawer...  I generally open it, take one look and close it in despair.

Books have been another area of tried and failed organization.  We are book people so our collection grow monthly, sometimes by leaps and bounds.  My system for this area is complicated by the fact that we have so many book areas throughout the house.  We rotate the books in each child's room.  In addition to the school room, we also have a collection in the family room and a seasonal book basket.

I have been sorting book into three basic categories:  school related, seasonal and rotational.  The school related books have been kept in the school room.  They are stored on a high shelf and I pull them down as needed.  It was a workable solution until now when I more than quadrupled our needs.

The rotating sets for the kids' rooms and other reading areas are kept in six large totes in the basement.  I also have a small bookshelf down there for seasonal books since I only have a handful for each event/holiday.  The major issue with this arrangement is that only one bin is out at a time.  I couldn't tell you what is in the other five at any given point.  This makes locating a specific book nearly impossible.  And yes, I have duplicates.

We recently entered into phase two of the organizational plan.  I purchased three sets of bookcases and installed them in the basement.  I'm in the early phases of a plan for arranging them.

Obviously, I haven't come close to loading them yet!

So, there are the three organization challenges that I'm finally addressing.  I'm sure what you really want to know is what I plan to do about it.  Rest assured, the answers will be coming shortly.  I will start by sharing my card organization next week.  I'm excited about how well things are coming together.


And if you'd like to be part of a community that discusses using Montessori in the home, join our Facebook Group here!
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