Decluttering and organizing our homeschool supply closet has been on my to-do list for way too long. It was pure chaos in there. And worse, it was costing me money because I’d end up buying more supplies when I couldn’t find the ones I was looking for.
School supplies are one area that I struggle with when it comes to deciding whether or not I should hang onto something, because what if I need it again someday?? After all, this is only our first year and I’ve got two kids to teach.
But I knew it had gotten out of hand and I finally did something about it today.
Side note: I know these photos aren’t the best. This was originally our coat closet and it’s in an awkward nook behind our front door. I had my husband move all the shelving from our linen closet upstairs into this one to maximize storage. Just another way we’re using our space for what works in this season of life.
Here we go! Up first, the ugly before shots:
Yikes. Gives me heart palpitations just looking at it.
Before I started going through it all, I made a list of what items actually belonged in the closet. I decided on these categories:
- Art/craft supplies (glitter, pom poms, pipe cleaners, paints, crayons, colored pencils, etc.)
- School supplies (pencils, index cards, notebooks, rulers, and the like)
- Rotated toys/materials
- Board games
I tackled the over-the-door hanging organizer first.
I laid it all out on the floor and grouped like items together.
Each type of item got its own pocket, and I was very particular about which items were placed in the top pockets out of reach (ahem, glitter, fabric markers, and other disasters waiting to happen).
That wasn’t so bad.
Next, it was time to pull out the rest of the stuff. Gulp.
You know how sometimes things have to get a whole lot worse before they can get better? Yeah. Me too.
It was about this time that I would have rather poked my own eyes out than finish sorting through this mess.
But by then, my two-year-old was up and I had to act fast if I didn’t want it carted off and strewn around my house.
I did the only thing I could do – I took it one bite at a time.
Since many of our school activities are Montessori inspired, I’ve developed a small obsession with collecting baskets and trays. They are great for organizing and displaying the materials, but I had to draw the line somewhere.
See what I mean? That’s in addition to all the ones that are currently being used in our school room! I decided to donate half of these and returned the rest to the closet.
I meticulously went through all of the remaining items on the floor. So long as it met the criteria I had outlined in the beginning and I knew we would use it again, I returned it to the closet.
In the end, I wound up with one bag full of trash and two bags to donate.
Now, when someone needs a new pencil, I can open this closet without fear of an avalanche.
Do you have any tips to share for organizing kids’ school supplies? How do you decide when ‘enough is enough’? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!