About eighteen months ago, we finished off most of our basement: planned its various uses; designed it; put in a full bathroom; created general storage space as well as toy storage areas; and built out a good-sized rec room for playing in. In addition, we reserved a large, bright area of the basement to be finished into a homeschool classroom. This classroom was built in such a way that, should we ever need an extra bedroom, this room could be divided into a good-sized bedroom and a medium-sized office. To that end, we wired the room as if it were already divided: we created doors at either end; put in proper ventilation for both areas; and planned plug outlets, lighting, and layouts for the potential of two rooms. All that it needs, someday, is for a wall to be put up at the dividing point. When the rest of the basement was finished off, this room, too, was painted. It was pretty much ready to go...except for the flooring, baseboards and decorating.
While we deliberated on what type of flooring to install in the future classroom, we installed flooring in the rest of the basement. What happened, unfortunately, during that time, was that the schoolroom became the dumping ground for everything we didn't know what to do with. It became the catch-all for all kinds of stuff: outgrown kids' clothing; shelving units; ping pong table; old, broken down futon frames; mini play structures; (empty) boxes from every Thomas The Train and Lego set that Matthew has ever acquired; baby toys and baby necessities; school supplies and games; collections of nails and screws and other hardware. You name it, it got dumped into that room.
One of the largest projects that I undertook to complete this year was the cleaning out and flooring of that room, in preparation for its use as a school room. I dreaded that job for a full eighteen months. I started the work in early August while Matthew was at science camp, spending hours sorting things into various piles: clothing that I will hang on to until we know the size/gender of child(ren) we will be bringing home from Ethiopia; recycling; give-away items; stuff for sale; school supplies that need to be sorted and put into bins; etc etc etc. It was an even bigger job than I feared it would be! I had hoped to be finished the room by the beginning of the school year, but with all of the events of the past month, I just haven't had the energy or focus to complete it quite yet. But I'm getting there!
So...here are a few of the pictures detailing some of the stuff I carted out of the house to Goodwill - more than a van-load full:
Thankfully, the worst of it is now done. About a month ago, I chose the flooring for the school room, and it was installed at the end of last week. Over the past couple of days, I've moved in and arranged (and then re-arranged!) most of the furniture that will occupy the room - all of it furniture that we've used elsewhere before and none of it new. I've divided the room into two sections. The first area is for desk work. I recently ordered a couple of height-adjustable desks for Matthew and me, and they will go into this part of the room. Incidentally, I purchased the desks very inexpensively from a seller in Texas (!), and they should arrive tomorrow at the destination warehouse just south of the Canadian border, about ten minutes from where Geoff works. Very convenient. The second area of the room is a comfortable area for reading and relaxation. I've put into this area a comfie couch and chair, a bookcase, a shag rug, and a toy organizer so that a younger child(ren) will someday have something to play with while I'm working with the older sibling(s).
I guess there's really a third area to the room. When the room was being built out, I had a low-ceiling, 4'x8' book nook built out under the stairs, with the door into it from the classroom. I have yet to find an area rug to put into it for added coziness, but Matthew has piled cushions into it, as well as a tiny bookcase and miniature rocking chair from my childhood. It's a cute little space.
I have yet to organize classroom materials onto the shelves or hang things on the walls, but I think I have a mental plan ready now. I'm flattening curled-up maps in preparation for hanging them in the next day or two, and have ordered a particular type of calendar to put up, too. I'm still looking for a neat-looking clock to hang on one small wall. I'm typically not good at decorating stuff (it'd kind of in the same league as my ability to do a girl's hair, or match girls' clothing!), so we'll see how this turns out.
I hope to be finished with the room in the next week or so, and will be sure to post pictures of the finished product. I'll be glad to have it finally done and put to good use!