Much, much earlier in our Montessori journey I posted about how I used a closet for this purpose in our previous home. This was when the boys were in early primary, before I made several large materials orders, and when "culture materials" were barely a twinkle in my eye.
The previous owners of our new house walled off an area in the otherwise unfinished basement to be a "sewing room" of sorts. My handy husband turned this space into a "Mommy Workshop" by adding a full wall of adjustable shelving for my Montessori needs. Here is a peek at that space...don't panic when you see how many boxes I have. Seven are empty for a planned reorganization of culture materials according to elementary subject instead of being lumped together under "culture." Many of the boxes have only a few things in each one...I was more concerned about ease of use than saving space.
They boys call this "Mommy's Closet" because I am the only one remotely interested in dealing with what is in here. The Montessori materials are on the wall to the right. The wall to the left his stacked 18-gallon Rubbermaid bins full of Christmas decorations as well as hand-me-downs or rummage sale clothing finds for the boys in future sizes. They are stored by size and season (winter versus summer).
As you can see, I went with mostly bankers boxes for storage because they were cheap ($1 each at Walmart) . If mice or water are a problem, I don't recommend them. As it is, we've had one minor disaster in here. This room is directly under the laundry room. One day the laundry tub overflowed and it "rained" in here. I've taken precautions against that happening again, but I'm still nervous. That is why the materials on the floor, at least, are in plastic.
The little shelf is in there because I had it extra and it's nice to have a place to set things down.
The banker's boxes contain "unofficial" Montessori materials...that is, any materials that are homemade (like three-part cards, the ocean life mat, button snakes, etc.,) specimens (shells, bones, rocks...these are soon to be housed elsewhere), as well as purchased "non-Montessori" items like our model skeleton, life cycle models, rock collections, Snap Circuits, etc., The bins on the floor contain the types of materials you would buy from a Montessori equipment website.
I label the front edge of the lid of each banker's box according to Montessori "subject": language, math, culture, sensorial, and practical life. I also have some bins labeled "Trays and Containers." There are obviously several bins for some subjects. So I can find things, I have a half-sheet of lined paper taped to the front of each box. I have dreams of putting laminated paper on the front of these in the future and using a dry erase marker at some point in the future. For now, it is just a really primitive but easy to use system in which I write the name on the list in pen or marker when I add something to the box and cross it off if I get rid of it. Dry erase would be nice because I could mark things that are "checked out" with a temporary mark and erase rather than cross things out.
1. These boxes at the top are labeled by season instead of by subject. I have one for fall, spring, summer, December, and January/February. This is where I keep things that I use to freshen up the school room for each season. For example, the "January" box had snowman cards and counters, white pom poms for "snowballs", foam peanuts for making igloos, snowflake buttons to use as markers in the language area. The "spring" box has things like plastic eggs for hiding slips of papers with sight words on them, bunny tangram patterns, bunny pattern strips, etc.,
2. Empty baskets and boxes for putting things on the shelves.
3. Materials we are done with and need to sell.
4. The banker's boxes of supplementary materials. You can also see my binding machine and a big brown box that contains a hand-me-down globe (normal, not Montessori) for when the boys are older.
5. The Rubbermaid bins that hold our "purchased" or "official" Montessori materials. I have one for sensorial, one for practical life, two for language, and two for math. The sensorial bin literally has one thing in it right now because all of the materials have made their way to the shelves.
So there you have it, a "last glimpse" in a way of this spaces as a "primary" storage space. It is time to sort through the practical life boxes and get rid of all the suction cup animals to put marbles on, all the different types of tongs, the many lacing activities... It is also time to sort out the many "culture" bins and organize them by elementary album title.
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