Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Organizing School Supplies

I know I'm not the only mom that has taken advantage of the bargain prices on school supplies in late summer, but then manages to not know where on earth any of the stuff is by January.  (Or October)

After thoroughly cleaning, purging, and taking stock of the school area, I found various caches of school supplies, and some half-broken pencil boxes with motley collections of broken crayons and buried child-sized scissors.  Sick of the situation where people never know where to find OR return commonly-needed items, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and that got the ball rolling.

This door leads to our coat closet, and this side of it faces the right side of where all of our work stations/desks are for the boys.  In other words, all they have to do is turn their little heads to the right and their gaze shall fall upon this beautiful scene:

All you need is one of those inexpensive over-the-door shoe organizers.  I got a clear plastic one.

As I started filling each section and figuring out what would make sense for where to place items (for instance Sharpies:  Up top.) I decided on some modifications.

I didn't want crayons to mark up the surface of the organizer and make it look junky.

I didn't want scissors and sharpened pencils to poke holes in the bottom of the pouches.

I didn't want to have kids up-to-their-armpits trying to dig out crayons from the pouches.

I had a stash of clear containers from the bulk section of Whole Foods.  They fit perfectly into the pouches, and solved the problem of potential pokes as well as made items like crayons, markers, and colored pencils portable. Now a child can help themselves to the container, take it to their seat to use it, and then return the whole thing.  Perfect!

I also save parmesan cheese containers (they are perfect for childen's banks, bug catchers, and a zillion other things) and those also fit nicely and worked well for certain items.  

If I hadn't had these plastic containers handy, I could have used clear plastic cups that could have been obtained inexpensively from a discount store or yard sale, or even canning jars.  If you look around at what you've got available, you may find that you have a free solution to your needs without having to buy anything.

My children are all old enough to not go berzerk with overuse of school supplies, so I'm comfortable with leaving everything out where they can help themselves.  I love it that now that the supply sales are here, I can easily see that I already have more than enough crayons, but could definitely use more pencil-top erasers.  I won't be buying stuff we don't need.

As you can see there is plenty of extra space.  I can see that these pouches could also be useful for additional art supplies, craft supplies, math manipulatives, flash cards, and other small items that need to be kept track of and made available to the children regularly.

I'm a visual person that really likes to see my stuff.  With all the bright colors and the ease of keeping it organized, I feel like this will be handy, practical, and easy to keep up on.

Of course, that's what we all say, with great hope, before the school year begins.  :)

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