I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

KonMarie for Gameschooling

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

A couple of months ago when I knew I'd be heading out to speak at a homeschool convention, I wigged out just a wee-little bit. My normal convention M.O. has always been to lug a few new-to-us games home in hopes of cultivating some learning through gameschooling. The only problem was, the game closet was congested and cluttered. Every inch of shelf space was littered with game boxes, decks of cards, and random play pieces that had all gone rogue.

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KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

Trying to cram one more game into that closet would have been a lot like the feeling I got last week when I accidentally ended up trying to squeeze my 37 year-old-self into my daughter's jeans. (It was a tragic laundry folding accident that did not end well for those girl-sized 14s. By the time I had the jaws of life release me from those pants, I could almost hear the cotton begging for mercy. No fabric should ever have to work that hard.)

But I digress. Back to the game closet conundrum of 2017...

As I stared bleakly at the stuffed shelves, I knew something had to be done. If I wanted to be able to purchase a few more games at the convention, I would need to get that closet under control. In doing so, I'd make our gameschooling days so much more enjoyable; the kids would be able to easily find the games they were looking for and would hopefully be able to put them back in a way that didn't require a crowbar and all-of-my-patience. As I began to develop a closet game plan (no pun intended), I vaguely remembered a few suggestions for organizing games in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book I had read last year. I pulled up my big girl pants and decided to spend a Saturday morning "changing my life"...or tidying up. (Apparently, they are one and the same.)

So, I dove in and went all KonMarie on those bad boys. 

Simple Steps to KonMarie for Gameschooling

Physically touch every single game

Because I'm a recovering rule follower, I obeyed the #1 mandate of Japanese-style decluttering, as dictated in the book. I brought out every single game we owned and made a big pile of them on my dining room table. I touched them all so that I'd know exactly what games we actually had. In doing so, I saw that we owned not one but three different versions of Boggle Jr. I kept one and set the other two aside. (Don't get me wrong, Boggle Jr. is a great game for teaching the basics of spelling, but three versions might be overkill.)

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

I naively thought that organizing all the games would only eat away a couple of hours. But once I started pulling out boxes, I watched as the dining room began filling up with children all eager to play games that had been buried for months in the dark recesses of the closet. 

I pulled out games and took a pause to play a few rounds of this or that with a few of my kids.

Every time I unearthed a new game, we played...

KonMarie for Gameschooling in Homeschool

and played...

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

and played.

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

And the day just sort of slipped by. In all that play, the kids practiced math facts, strategized, read game directions, racked up countless vocabulary words, and learned to barter like early American colonists. 

My oldest kids and I played all our favorites like Survive Escape from Atlantis, Ticket to Ride, and Buzz Word Jr. And I even got to sneak in a few games with just my youngest like Rivers Roads and RailsRack-o, and Tenzi. It was a day for sneaky learning. It was a day for gameschooling.

But, in between all the fun, I was slowly KonMarie-ing my way to a cleaner closet.

Keep only what brings you joy

When I had all the games pulled out, I could see at a glance which games I wanted to keep and which games would have to go. 

We had duplicates. We had games that never got played with. We had games that we had just simply outgrown. None of these made the cut. I piled all the outcasts in a donation bag guilt-free knowing that in saying NO to those games, I was making room to say YES to others. I only kept the games that brought joy to our gameschool.
KonMarie for Gameschooling

Then it was time to roll up my sleeves and get serious.

Repair, refurb, and reorganize

I opened up every single box and reorganized the pieces. I bound game cards with rubber bands, placed little plastic parts into ziplock bags, and tucked everything neatly inside the correct compartments and place holders. I used some packaging tape to reinforce a few ripped game boxes and wrapped really rickety ones with rubber bands. 

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

I placed smaller games and decks of cards like Monopoly Deal and Dutch Blitz upright inside a plastic shoe box so that labels were facing out in order that each game could be easily identified. 

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

Store boxes horizontally 

Like most, I've always stored my games in vertical piles which have resulted in squished and distorted boxes. Not only has this shortened the shelf life of each game, it has also made it really difficult to get to the games we wanted to play. One giant stack of games always seemed to become a sad game of Jenga when we tried to pull one out of the pile.

The KonMarie method insists that games be stored horizontally so that all the game titles can be easily read and so that the boxes can just be slid out of the shelf individually.

In order to do that, I first organized the game boxes a bit by size and shape. Long rectangular ones were placed on one shelf. Shorter, square-shaped ones were placed on another. I tried to keep our most-played-with favorites in the center of the shelf for easy access. I then placed smaller boxes on top of the longer rectangular ones. I knew this was not ideal, but felt that it was the lesser of two evils. (Don't tell Marie Kondo, the creator of the KonMarie method. It'll be our little secret.)

KonMarie for Gameschooling in the homeschool day

By the end of a game-filled weekend, I had not only cleaned up our closet, but had also made room for American Timeline, Catan, and AnimaLogic, three games I ended up buying at the homeschool convention just weeks later.

Now when one of my kids gets the notion to learn through games, he or she can just slide the game right out of its spot. The empty space left by the game makes it super easy to return the game to its rightful place.

A clutter-free closet has become a useable closet. And games have become school once again. 

For more thoughts on gameschooling


  1. I love this! Gameschooling is so much fun and this kids learn so much without even realizing it! Thanks for the post. I wanted to share this blog from Our Journey Westward, 100 Educational Games for Homeschooling. (Watch out, you may want to buy every single game on this list!)

  2. I like the idea of storing them horizontally but no shelf in my house is deep enough to store big rectangular games such as Life that way. Are your shelves really that deep or is there some trick to it?

    1. Yes, my shelves are very deep. We turned a broom closet into a storage closet. So the shelves are as deep as a standard broom/coat closet.

  3. Did you make a complete list of all the games you have? I would love to see what we may be "missing out" on in our gameschooling. :) thank you for being transparent in your life when it comes to organizing school things. I feel at tmes I miss the bar when I see other family's school rooms and storage.

    1. No. I don't have a list. But here's a post of our most favorites.

      There's no perfection here. We've got more than our share of piles and clutter.