Organizing School Supplies (for Home Learning)

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Our usual Back to School preparations involve haircuts and shopping for school supplies. This year is a little different since school will be virtual and at home. Keeping school supplies organized for home learning is essential.

Organizing school supplies can be overwhelming, especially for parents tackling home schooling for the first time. Get ready for Back to School at home.

**Disclosure: This post contains links. Some are affiliate, some are not. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission. I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I may or may not receive.

Use What You Have

I’m trying really hard to not think about all those fresh boxes of crayons just sitting in the aisles of Target, all those fresh boxes of pencils, and blank notebooks.

Using what you have before you purchase new items isn’t a new concept. It makes total sense, is good for the Earth, and is a key pillar of “adulting” but it still feels REALLY WEIRD to be doing it for school supplies.

Evaluate Your Needs

Organizing school supplies can be overwhelming, especially for parents tackling home schooling for the first time. Get ready for Back to School at home.

With three kids, we needed a combination of community storage and personal storage for school supplies. Our homework station, which we built last summer, has since turned into a homeschool station and seems like it will be for the foreseeable future. I store most of our supplies next to the homework station to keep the work surface clear.

My kids love to create, so we needed to store a lot of items. They enjoy using different papers and mediums to color. They also love to tape and glue everything they can. And, after they create a masterpiece, they want to keep it FOR. EV. ER.

I considered all this and then made some decisions. Then I got busy organizing school supplies.

Large, Medium, Small Storage Solutions

When organizing school supplies, you’ll want to start big and get smaller.

Organizing school supplies can be overwhelming, especially for parents tackling home schooling for the first time. Get ready for Back to School at home.

Large Storage for Everything

You’ll want a large storage space to store all the supplies.

Large Storage Ideas

  • A spare cabinet (kitchen, laundry room)
  • A shelf
  • A rolling cart

Our Large Storage

We decided on a shelf for our supplies. I purchased a 2 by 2 cube unit from Ikea and assembled it. These units are less than $40 each — well worth it. They hold a lot of supplies and can be repurposed in countless ways.

Medium Storage for Papers

Medium storage solutions will be perfect for papers, coloring books, and completed art projects.

Organizing school supplies on one large shelf with smaller bins for papers and even smaller jars for pencils is quite a handy system.

Medium Storage Ideas

  • Baskets
  • Magazine Files
  • Plastic Bins
  • Vertical Paper Sorters

Our Medium Storage

I used The Container Store’s Multi-Purpose Bins in multiple sizes. I chose charcoal to match our decor and to camouflage the chaos inside (kind of).

A combination of two small bins and one medium bin fit perfectly inside each cube and worked well for our supplies.

Each of my children got their own bin for their coloring books, completed pictures, and in-progress pieces of art.

I used smaller bins for lined paper, plain paper, graph paper, scrap paper, stickers, and stencils.

Open, labeled bins for school supplies allows for easy access to whatever your child needs.

Large labels tell everyone what’s inside so they can find what they’re looking for. EVEN BETTER — it holds them accountable for putting things away! I made the labels with my label maker, but there are tons of great labeling options to make your style and your life.

For easy access and a fun pop of color, construction paper got sorted into a vertical paper sorter — in rainbow order, of course. Keeping it vertical allows kids to grab what they want without toppling the pile or digging through a basket.

Organizing construction paper in a vertical divider is both practical and pretty.
This vertical paper sorter holds all our construction paper.

Small Storage for Writing Utensils

You’ll want smaller storage containers for all the writing utensils, scissors, glue, and erasers.

Small Storage Ideas

  • Mason Jars
  • Cups
  • Small metal buckets
  • Tupperware containers
  • A divided caddy

Our Small Storage Solution

Keep organizing simple. Shop your home for jars to hold writing utensils.
Simple mason jars in different sizes hold all the writing utensils and glue.

The top of this cube shelf is just the right height for all the little things like writing utensils, glue sticks, and scissors. In the theme of keeping it simple, functional, and cute, I shopped my house for suitable holders for all the things.

Simple mason jars I found in the cabinet hold most of our writing utensils. Pencils, colored pencils, and skinny markers are in taller jars. Shorter mason jars hold glue sticks and children’s scissors. Metal buckets leftover from a birthday party hold crayons and fat markers.

To prevent them from getting knocked over the edge of the shelf, I added a metal tray I had in the dining room. It was a perfect fit!

Why this School Supply Organization Works

It’s Simple

  • Bins act as drawers by sliding in and out and allow easy access to items.
  • There are no complex rules or sorting.

It’s Practical

  • Removable and rearrangeable bins make clean up quick and simple.
  • The papers are vertical, so it’s easy to leaf through to find something specific.
  • No piles mean no toppling

It Sets Limits

  • Each child can keep as much artwork that will fit in their bin. When their bin is full, it’s time to purge.
  • Each mason jar can only hold so many markers.

It Fosters Independence

  • All the items are accessible so kids can create what they want, when they want.

The Cost of Organizing School Supplies

This combination works for our space and works for our lives. Not including the actual supplies and mason jars I found in the kitchen, this whole setup cost less than $100. The best part is, as our children grow and their needs change, we can adapt these pieces to meet their needs.

School Supply Organization

Organizing school supplies doesn’t have to be complicated. In a world where so much is overcomplicated, it’s nice to keep school supplies simple. Use bins that don’t have to be arranged perfectly. Find jars you already own. Apply quick and simple labels.

Got Papers? Here’s how to decide what to keep and what to toss and here’s how to make a memory box for those keepers.

How do you organize school supplies?


4 thoughts on “Organizing School Supplies (for Home Learning)”

  1. It looks great! Love the simplicity too!
    Where did you find the canvas with the United States? It’s super cute too and adds a pop of color.

  2. Where did you purchase the table/desk and chairs? Do you recommend kids sitting at the same table? I have twins with the same teacher, trying to determine if I keep them on opposite sides of the room or together.

    1. Hi Sarah! The table is actually a countertop. It’s from Ikea and so are the chairs. Alllllll the details are in this post!

      The second part to your question depends on the kids, I think. I put my youngest in the middle to separate my two oldest. My 10 year old is focused and independent. My 8 year old is… not. Having a buffer between them is helpful. They also aren’t on the same schedule, as your kids would be. I think it depends on whether or not you think they would use teamwork and collaborate well or if they’d get on each other’s nerves. Good luck this year!

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