Sunday, July 11, 2010

Homeschool Organization: School Supplies

Friday afternoon I gathered all of the stuff that Leah had brought into the kitchen over the last few months as part of her office. Paper, coloring books, markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue, scissors, stickers, notebooks, journals and various other items filled a little end table beside my kitchen rocking chair. The overflow covered one end of our kitchen table, and many of her supplies were strewn on the kitchen floor.

So I put it all in one big laundry basket.

Leah's office

Saturday morning I took that basket downstairs to my schoolroom, and got to work on our school supplies. I began by noting that we had way too many!! In fact, I recently bought more school supplies during my monthly trip to Walmart.

sacks of school supplies

I love school supplies, and this time of year when they put everything on sale for such a low price, I have a hard time resisting! I did need glue, glue sticks, and pencils. I did not need markers, crayons, notebook paper, or folders (which I bought anyway because of the low, low price). I actually didn't realize that I didn't need those items until I began cleaning out and organizing my school supplies.

I think I found 1000 markers!

We had markers in the kitchen (Leah's office), markers on the kitchen table (in a silverware caddy), markers in individual boxes stored in the den for our daily Bible lessons, markers in individual boxes on the schoolroom shelves, markers in the children's work buckets, and unopened markers in my supply cabinet in the schoolroom.

I dumped all of the markers on my schoolroom table (except for the unopened boxes) and one by one I tried them. Yes I did. I threw the dried up ones and the ones with smashed tips away, and the rest I sorted. I made a set of one of each color for each child's work bucket (in a school supply box), I put two of each color in the silverware caddy on the schoolroom table, I put two of each color in a bag along with a couple of spiral notebooks and a word search book in a bag inside the van (for times when we have to wait somewhere), and the rest of the markers filled a shoe box sized plastic container! I plan to take that box of markers to Granmomma's house to be enjoyed by all of the grandchildren.

My schoolroom shelves...before I started cleaning out. Most of those clear boxes with green lids contained markers! The two pink lidded boxes contained markers and crayons too. I removed all of the books (curriculum for next year) from the top of the shorter shelf, and I took out the green crates. I plan to take down that poster, and use that wall (now without the green crates) for Sam to count the 100 days of school this year. We put up an index card with a number for each school day, up until 100.

This is my table where I sorted everything out.
I hadn't dumped out the markers yet!
I drank 3 cups of coffee (see my Starbucks mug) while I did this!

Next, I tackled the crayons.....I only kept the crayons that were in packages. I stored all crayons in my school supply cabinet. I plan to purchase a set of Twist Up crayons for Leah and Sam to use for their schoolwork. Leah has had a set of Twist Up crayons that she uses during our church service for 3 years now. Three years. Those are good crayons!

Colored pencils were gathered and sorted next. I made a set (one of each color) for each of the children to use during our daily Bible lesson. I stored them in boxes with their names on them in the kitchen--in the little end table that formerly was Leah's office. I also had enough colored pencils to make a set for the four older children for their school supply box inside their work buckets. The leftover colored pencils fit nicely inside one plastic cup in the school supply cabinet.

the top section of the school supply cabinet
The top shelf has rarely used items (gel pens, crayons, boxes of markers, foam stickers, and those wonderful Hamma beads.)
The middle shelf stores folders, spiral notebooks, notebook paper, composition books, stationery, and the children's art binders.
The bottom shelf has labeled cups that store two sizes of scissors, colored pencils, specialty markers, rulers, and extra pencils. The clear containers hold glue, jumbo poster markers, clothespins, erasers, compasses, index cards, etc.

The bottom section of this cabinet holds paper. I put one color of copy paper in each section along with notebook paper, one tray of construction paper, decorative copy paper, and stencils. Since taking this picture yesterday, I have purchased a few colors of paper that we were missing.

To finish the organization of the school supplies, I made a list of a few (really just a few) items that we were lacking, and then filled a school supply box for each child to keep in their work buckets. Each box contains scissors, markers, crayons or colored pencils, regular pencils, and a compass and protractor for the older children.

Next project: sorting and storing last year's schoolwork, followed by planning for the upcoming year.


  1. You are way too organized. LOL! Is there such a thing? I think everything looks great and maybe I will be inspired to do the same this week. Missing you and your kids. Hope to see you soon.

  2. All of our markers, pens, colored pencils and pencils are kept in attractive baskets on our school cabinet. I, too, went through every basket eliminating markers and pens that didn't work, pencils that were too short and added topper erasers on the good pencils that didn't have an eraser. How does that happen? I go through the baskets about two times a year. Love, love, throwing things away! You would think I wouldn't buy anything if it is only going to go to the trash. I do have crayons though that are still good from when Lauren was a toddler. I don't throw things away that are still workable. Need to finish getting my house in order tomorrow and then praying to start on school plans Wednesday. We cleaned out the master bedroom yesterday and emptied the boys room and cleaned it real well, but my dining room and hallway are filled with a huge bookcase, a wagon full of miscellaneous toys and about 40 boxes of various sizes of legos, lincoln logs, knex, fischertechnic, erector sets, magnetics, marbleworks, tinkertoys, etc. The big boys are too big for them and the little boys are not big enough for most of them. I am afraid if I put them in the attic I will forget all about them! I need a bigger house or fewer things!

  3. Thanks for sharing these organizing/getting ready for the next school year posts. It has been so helpful to me as we approach our first year!

  4. Makes me miss school already! I, too, went through the school supply aisle and saw great deals on books at Goodwill. I'll post soon about what I decided to do. :) Have fun getting ready!

  5. I'm exhausted just reading this ;)

  6. That is beautiful and I think what my dreams look like. Wow, you are so talented!

  7. The organizations makes me happy! Love it!

  8. Love all your ideas/organization and would love to have the room to do it all or have the time. You talk about the kids work buckets, could you talk more about the buckets and show a picture of what the buckets look like. Any tips that you could give to get more organized when you don't have a lot of space and you have little ones that still pull stuff off the shelves

  9. I have the same question as one of the other commenters - what are work buckets? I really enjoyed reading your post - it made me antsy to get organizing in my school room! I was planning to work on it today but I ended up spending the day in the kitchen. (I did some extra cooking for the freezer and made some muffin mixes in addition to the regular cooking.)

    If you like the twist up crayons, you would probably adore the twist-up colored pencils. They are definitely my children's go-to choice for any schoolwork that involves coloring. I know you don't need more school supplies, but still......


  10. You are SO organized! :) Leah's "office" makes me smile. Lydia was cleaning out my dried up markers today making a card for her great-grandmother. I hope she didn't throw out any good ones!

  11. I love order ..I am working on my school room right now and I Love it! SOOO much fun! Beautiful! :)