#Back2School in #31Days: Day 5 – Creating a Book Nook

In Day 3, I revealed the awful pictures of what I was starting with for a schoolroom. I hope if you’ve been at this home education thing for a while you were able to sigh with relief that you weren’t starting from that point this year – or if this is your first year of educating your kids at home you were able to see how possible it is to overcome overwhelming odds to set up your space.

Each of our challenges for facing a new year are unique.

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Today’s bite size piece was deciding to turn the closet into a book nook for the kids.

The original plan for this space was to convert it to a hallway-accessed, built-in shelving unit because we don’t have a linen closet. And our bathroom is tiny (in a cozy, we love this house no matter what sort of way).

So, I let my mind explore the idea of using this under the staircase closet as a special kid-sized area and also started brainstorming what we would do for bathroom storage. (I created this Small Bathroom Solutions board as a result, and we’ve actually accomplished some of these. Setting goals for using Pinterest really works.)

As the idea continued to form, I knew it was going to be a big hit with my kids. I was convinced that I just had to create it.

And out with all the random things as seen here, in order to first move in our small 2 shelf bookcase.

First, I hold myself to the cardinal rule of my own creation – Thou shalt only move an item to its home, or it must move out of our home. I can’t tell you how many times during each of our 11 moves (in 10 years) that I’ve driven myself crazy by busily shuffling things from one flat surface to another.

So busy, but never getting anything done.

Constantly “rearranging” but never giving an item an official place in our home.

It was enough to make me motivated to reach out for this book and change.


As each item was moved out of the closet it was carefully given a home somewhere else, or it was thrown out or donated. I’ve learned to just go with my gut because another one of my crazies with moving is indecision. (Again, thank you Tsh. This podcast is a gem.)

Second, I grabbed the small shelf to see if it would fit, and with that in place I was free to start unloading my kids’ favorite books. In went pillows, a small ottoman, a pretty curtain to cover an unfinished wall, and 2 lamps. Oh, and the guitar – of course!

B2S Day 5 Book Nook

Finally, I revealed the space to the kids and the magic took over from there. Books and pillows in a small space with a cave-like, secret hiding spot feel? WIN.

Serious win.

All the what if we really need storage? And where will we put hairdryers and towels, extra toilet paper and toothpaste-questions paled in comparison. It didn’t matter. So what if I have to run down to the basement for extra toilet paper or reach into the over head cupboards in the schoolroom for my hairdryer (that I only use an average of once a month anyway)?

My kids’ affection for our home and their cool space has just gone through the roof.

And I now am completely convinced that creating spaces with purpose within the home is a non-negotiable. When I first read through Organized Simplicity the winter of 2013, I had no idea how to see the purpose of a space – I was instead the master of multitasking spaces way beyond their design.

Now looking back I see the huge difference of asking too much from a space, by hoarding and cramming too many “good things” into one place.

So, do I sometimes think this closet/storage space turned Kids’ Book Nook is a waste of useable space? Not at all.

B2S Day 5 Book Nook 2

The joy our whole family gets from it is irreplaceable.

What space in your home brings the most joy to your kids? How can you make it even more enjoyable for everyone?

If you’ve missed a day, check out the index of posts: click here.

Further reading:


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#Back2School in #31Days: Day 1 – The Why

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Last year in August, I found myself heading back and forth to the store 6 times for school supplies. I love office supplies – new Sharpies (or my new favorite pen), Crayola, journals, binders – this is one of my happy places danger zones.

The first trip I was armed my list, piled the backpacks, notebooks, colored pencils, etc. high, and paid quite a large sum for such not-long-lasting things, and went home still feeling excited for Back to School.

Then around the first week of September as we got into our language arts, I realized I needed a couple more notebooks.

And 3-ring binders for Bible.

And I still didn’t have a “24oz water bottle” for my daughter.

The back and forth was driving me crazy. I was sick of Back to School by the 2nd week of September.

Procrastination and I are not good friends. I super don’t like feeling overwhelmed – the feeling that I’ve forgotten or lost something. When I have too many things stored in my brain and not on paper – I start to get short and snappish. It isn’t fun to be around me. It isn’t fun to be me.

In Emily Freeman’s new video about her new book, she talks about how it’s hard sometimes to live with the hustle and bustle of life on the outside, but what about when you have that feeling inside?

Have you ever been there? I have.

For me, I’m realizing that Christmas and Back to School are some of the most fun times of the year, but also the busiest. I mean, the lists and all the shopping they demand is enough stress to make me throw up my hands and give up. To not care and not try.

The resources – time, money, energy flowing through my fingers from the stress of getting things together at the last minute. What should be exciting and energizing makes my soul feel weighed down and crushed. And don’t get me wrong I love to buy me some Crayola – I would have 3 sets of every product they sell if I had unlimited resources.

Last August, after what felt like the hundredth trip to the store, I developed a weird connection between how much I loved my child and whether they had the best name brand water bottle for school. That’s when I knew something was wrong in my spirit, and I had waited too long to get ready for going back to school.

Waiting until the last minute, or doing a whole bunch of preparing all at once isn’t good for my soul. The rush, the pressure, the money, the panic to do-everything-right weighs me down and I don’t make wise choices under these circumstances. I make fast choices.

Fast choices during a Back to School sale aren’t good choices.

So this year, I’ve decided to chronicle my #Back2School adventure (using this hashtag). I’ll be sharing daily (except Sundays) what little progress I’m making on getting ready for school in a way that allows me to breathe.

Since we just moved into our home the first weekend of July, the series will start out with a bang – some really awful BEFORE pictures of what our schoolroom was. WAS. There will be an AFTER picture but I’m not aiming for perfection.

My motto is: Focus on function – don’t pine (or pin) after perfection.

Focus on Function don't pine after perfection for B2S

I found this little scribble in an old Bullet Journal (more on Bullet Journals for school on Day 8!).

I’m asking myself what little step can I take today to get me closer to my goal of being ready for school?

It can seem so overwhelming to face transitions, change, and challenges – but I’ve been slowly learning that I can break down what seems like a huge task into bite size pieces.

I hope this series will inspire you to break down your challenging tasks – will you join me for #Back2School in #31Days?

Here’s the index:

For more help to break down tasks into bite size pieces, I highly recommend Tsh Oxenreider’s book One Bite at a Time 52 Weeks of breaking life’s tasks into manageable chunks. (This is an affiliate link. I own the book and love it – I think you will too.)728x90