Starting the School Year Off Right with Organized Homework Supplies
Today's post is from Jennifer who is back to working regular hours now that our kiddos are back in school. The timing couldn't be better. Welcome back, Jen! At the end of the post I'll share a few organizing nuggets for you to tuck into your back pocket (or better yet, put into action!) Hope you enjoy the post!
If you have kids going back to school, then you know this also means (gulp) back to homework! I took advantage of all the great deals on school supplies to replenish our supplies in the homework kit. But, that got me to thinking about how last year our homework kit didn't end up working quite as well as I had hoped.
Have you ever tried to organize something and been sorely disappointed with the results? It happens! I could say, “Meh, clearly organization doesn’t work for this family,” and chuck the whole idea. Or, I could say, “Hmmm, what works about this? What doesn’t work?” Then take that information to make a better organizing system. Fortunately, I chose the latter. (Otherwise, this would be a very short blog post! :)
What worked about our homework kit? Well, it truly contained all the supplies the kids needed, including pencils, erasers, notebooks, rulers, crayons and markers. It was stored in the pantry, which is right next to the kitchen table where the homework hubbub is held each night. It was small and portable, so anyone in the family could take it from pantry to kitchen table and back again.
What didn’t work? That took a bit more thought because I could never figure that out last year. I envisioned that at homework time, the children would place the kit on the table and pull out what they needed as they did their work. For some reason, this didn’t happen. I would still see them scrounging around for scratch paper or going across the kitchen to the “junk drawer” for pencils. Even my husband would instruct them to “get a pencil from the drawer” as the first step in homework. Frustrating!
What I think caused it not to work was that it was a bit cumbersome. I had a smaller basket inside a larger bin to help keep things sorted, but it made the whole thing less portable than I thought it would be. Also, I used storage solutions I had on hand, not ones specifically bought for this purpose. That can work a lot of the time, but in this case, it simply didn’t. Plus, nothing about was cute. Not at all.
I headed to the big box store in search of a new solution. I was looking for something portable, preferably with handles, and 2 or three drawers or sections so each girl could have their own goodies. And that is when I spied this. (cue angelic choir)
I was ecstatic. First off, it was only $11. Wahoo! I love that there is a handle on top, that we can expand by purchasing more of these, and that each section is plenty large enough to house workbooks and notebooks PLUS necessary homework supplies. Oh, and I also love that it is clear so we are always reminded of what is inside each time we see it.
I picked up some inexpensive pencil boxes to further organize inside the drawers. I chose different but coordinating colors so that they can keep their items separate from one another, yet it looks nice together. I really had overlooked this last year, but the truth is that when things look inviting, we want to use them! It only took me about 10 minutes to get all the supplies organized, and then I gave the girls a “tour” and explained how it all goes together.
The result? Well, they LOVE it. Just like they get excited over new supplies for school, they were pumped over their new supplies at home. Honestly, we have only had a few chances to break out the homework kit this school year, but so far, so good. I’ll let you know how it goes!
How about you? If you have kids in school, do you have a homework kit or cabinet? Let us know how you organize homework supplies in your home!
This post highlights some great organizing principles you can put into action in your own home. Here are my top three takeaways:
1) When it comes to getting organized, remember not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Have you evern been frustrated that an organizing system you put in place didn't work as well as you hoped? If so, resist the temptation to chuck the whole thing or decide that "organizing just doesn't work for my family!" Instead, keep the pieces that work, and fix what isn't working.
2) Assess what's working and what isn't working. Jennifer asked some great questions to get to the core of what wasn't working with her homework supply system...and then she shopped for solutions that would work better for her family. This is how great organizing systems are built...through trying and tweaking!
3) Set up a homework station now! This is a terrific and simple project to take on this weekend, as you're getting your kiddos ready for back-to-school. With a few basic supplies corraled together in the container of your choice, homework can be a notch easier for everyone (and maybe even more fun.)