There is a certain amount of excitement attached to back-to-school time though the children may not always share your enthusiasm. When the teacher assignments and supply list arrive, there is often a range of emotions for parents from excitement to dread. Back-to-school shopping offers a bunch of challenges from staying within your budget to storing the multiple school supplies you are about to purchase.
Organizing and storing school supplies can be a never-ending, uphill battle especially if you have more than one school-age child. Siblings of differing ages also present a unique test because elementary students and middle and high school students typically require different supplies.
However, take heart and don’t stress. We have school supply storage tips that will keep your supply stash accessible and organized throughout the school year and beyond. Now, before you head to the store with lists in hand, remember to review the current supply situation to avoid purchasing items already in the home.
Creative School Supply Storage Solutions
Keeping a stash of school and craft supplies in the home is a huge time and sanity saver during the academic year. It will certainly save on those last minute runs to the store when the kiddos have projects to complete especially when they don’t tell you until the evening before. However, with a supply stash come storage issues, but thankfully there is an abundance of clever ways to keep them in check.
- Hang a plastic shoe rack on the back of a door near where the children will be completing homework assignments. Label each compartment with a different supply and fill it up. This is a quick and inexpensive way to store and organize pens, pencils, markers, crayons, paper clips, index cards and more.
- Mason jars and a cake stand combine to make a unique way to keep track of school supplies. Label mason jars with a designated item like pens, pencils or markers and then place them on the cake stand. The school supply stand can sit on a table, desk or shelf, letting kids take what they need to do an assignment or a project. This is a great idea for craft supplies too.
- Pegboards are fast becoming a go-to storage method. Hang up a pegboard in the homework area. They come in stylish colors to fit any décor. Then, add small shelves or storage bins to hold whatever supply you need to store. Some items like scissors, protractors, and rulers can hang right on the board.
- Silverware trays can easily be used to store school supplies and are an inexpensive find at most dollar stores, transforming a drawer into supply central.
- Turn plastic storage drawers into a school supply storage and staging zone by labeling the outside of each one with a necessary item like loose leaf paper or pencils. Place it in a closet or underneath a desk or table where the kids work on their homework.
Keeping Homework Supplies Organized and Accessible
While it may be tempting to pile the school supplies on one shelf or stuff them into a drawer, it is a practice destined to come back and haunt you. When children cannot access the necessary supplies to complete a homework assignment or project, it ultimately becomes your issue as well. However, when school supplies are neatly stored, organized and within reach, even the youngest child quickly catches on to where the crayons and pencils are located and where the items should be put away.
Homework battles are a daily occurrence in many households. Having a pleasant, welcoming work area with easy-to-locate school supplies may not seem like a big deal, but it can go a long way in helping children sit down to work.
When you are clearing off a spot at the kitchen table or running around looking for usable crayons, the already homework anxious child is going to become more resistant. Instead, set up a designated homework area and either keep a school supply stand or a small daily basket with homework essentials like glue sticks, scissors, pencils, pens, crayons, and markers right on the table or desk. Give it a once over on the weekend to make sure it’s stocked for the upcoming homework week.
Back-to-School Cabinet or Shelf
Home storage is always at a premium and back-to-school supplies may not seem important enough to warrant an individual closet or shelf, but once your kids hit kindergarten you will definitely see the need.
The best option is to choose a cabinet or closet near where the children will be completing homework assignments. Have a clear out and decide on some sort of a storage system. Plastic drawers are a perfect pick for storing school supplies in a cabinet or closet. Label the drawers to make it easier to find and put away items.
If you are using closet shelves, consider fabric or plastic bins to hold supplies. Label the bins with the school supplies you’ll be storing inside. If space is at a premium, a drawer can easily be turned into a school supply haven by using drawer organizers or a silverware tray.
Another space saving idea is placing plastic storage drawers for school supplies under the bed. This is a great fix if you are limited on space and your child will be utilizing their room to do homework.
Personal Supply Cubbies
School supplies are not made to fit all. Some supplies like pencils and crayons are universal, but as children climb the educational ladder the necessary supplies change. Middle and high school students generally need a steady supply of pens, post-its, and highlighters while younger kids run out of glue sticks and pencils quickly. Personalizing a school supply cubby can make homework-time less of a headache for you.
Pick up a large plastic basket or stylish fabric drawer and print the child’s name on it. Then place grade-level appropriate supplies inside for each child to use. Kid-friendly scissors are a must for preschoolers and early elementary students along with glue sticks, crayons, markers, pencils and a ruler. Older students should have a calculator, ruler, protractor, highlighters, post-its, pens, pencils, sharpies and index cards.
Don’t be surprised if the older ones need the occasional crayon or marker for a project, which is why it’s a plus to always have at least one box of colored pencils and markers in the mix regardless of age. Keep the personalized school supply cubby or basket where each child does their homework.
Backseat School Supply Organizer
Have you ever been in the drop off line at school only to hear a child ask for a particular school supply item like pencils, pens or crayons? How about trying to do homework in the dentist office only to realize your five-year-old doesn’t have a pencil with a point. Of course, you have. You have kids.
Be prepared for the inevitable with a convenient backseat organizer. This set up will really come in handy for busy families who are often completing homework assignments while waiting for a sibling at a sports practice, activity or appointment. It’s also a lifesaver for when the teen tells you at the last second that their pen supply has run out.
A backseat organizer easily attaches to the rear of the front seat, giving passengers instant access to any necessary supplies. Another simple solution is to fill a plastic caddy with the above supplies and store it in the truck or hatchback.
A little time spent organizing back-to-school supplies before the academic year officially begins can go a long way during the always busy school year. Having the necessary supplies a child needs for school and homework on hand will cut down on after work trips to the store and drama-filled project completion.
While most kids will never ‘love’ the concept of homework, organization and accessibility as well as an inviting homework space does take a little of the sting away though it still won’t answer the “What do I need to learn this for” question the majority of tweens and teens ask at some point in their school career.