Thursday, August 8, 2013

Preparing to Impress {Organizing Supplies}


If you aren't careful, toys and craft supplies can take over your home.  And as we talked on Monday, it is important for the success of everyone in our family to keep our homes organized.

Today, I want to focus on craft supplies as they are using with the ABCJLM curriculum as fine motor skill activities, creativity, and to further the learning.  But what can do know so that you can quickly grab what you need to use these items?

1)  Organization Does Not Have to Cost Money
I will admit that having color-coded Rubbermaid containers looks really cool and it feeds my OCD and Type A personality!  (I have a friend who has everything in containers and pretty baskets.  I struggle coveting when I walk in her closets and garage.)   But there is a large cost in all of that.  Nice and aesthetically pleasing, but not necessary for organization. 

The toys in our home are organized in Avon boxes.  (Our neighbor happens to sell Avon and receives boxes by the UPS truck load each week.)  I also use shoe boxes, formula and Gatorade cans, diaper wipe containers, as well as containers that I have picked up at garage sales.

A recent All You magazine had the idea of using a cut milk jug to store pencils and scissors.  And it is super cute!  

I keep a small assortment of sturdy boxes and containers with lids.  While sorting through items, I can easily grab what I need to hold the supplies.

2) If you are going to purchase some organizers, here are the ones that I suggest.

3 Storage Drawer Organizer - This works well for smaller items like staplers, paper clips, pens, etc.
Magazine File - A great way to store the Book of the Week, Curriculum or Workbooks.
Storage Box- Plastic boxes with lids stack easily and neatly.  The more expensive ones are almost indestructible.  Unfortunately the cheaper ones will crack with time.  The clear boxes are great because you can see the contents.  The clear boxes are bad if you are concerned about decor because you can see the contents!  :)  
An Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer is a fabulous way to organize a plethora of small things without requiring a lot of space.  Each pocket or group of pockets can hold like items together.  Again, the really cheap organizers tear easily especially under any amount of excess weight.
 I found a couple of Plastic Tote Caddy organizers at a garage sale.  These are great for glue and paints.  I can easily pull out the supplies when needed and place them out of reach the rest of the time. The tote caddy also works well for holding crayons.  Place small containers inside the caddy to hold the different colors. 
Expanding Files are great for holding worksheets and tactile letters/numbers.  We have been given several worksheets from former teachers.  I divide the worksheets into categories so that when we are covering a topic and a child needs further learning I can quickly locate a worksheet.  Also I place ideas for different concepts that I find along the way in magazines, on the web, or hear from others.

Here is a list of my main categories:
  • Letters (sets of letters - A-D, E-H... - per file folder)
  • Numbers (sets of numbers)
  • Sorting
  • Shapes
  • Name Activities
  • Colors
  • Seasons
This could also be used to separate activities for each week's ABCJLM lesson plan.  This would especially be helpful if you purchased the ABCJLM Workbooks.  Separate the worksheets (roll the binding off) and place into the week's folder that they will be used.  Place the reused worksheets in a separate folder with a clear reusable dry erase pocket.
Underbed Storage Tote can be lifesavers if you leave in a small home or apartment.  They easily slide under beds and high furniture.  (Measure to make sure)

  Almost all of our books are kept in crates that line a bedroom wall.  Plastic storage crates or the wooden ones stack very nicely and hold a lot of books. We also have an old bookshelf that was found at a flea market and renailed together.

3) Put like items together. 
This sounds elementary but it is so true.  Put the paints with the paint brushes.  Put all of the glues (glue sticks, liquid glue, rubber cement) with the glitter.  Place pencils with erasers.  Construction paper in a folder. 

4) Choose Wisely Where to Store the Supplies
With Little Man in our home I thought everyone had to place craft supplies high and out of reach. And if you have a spirited child like us, you know that where you place your craft supplies (especially markers, scissors, paint, and glue) is extremely important.  But, I have learned that some kids don't struggle with having craft supplies in reach.  If this is the cause in your home, place the craft supplies in the area where you will be doing the activities.  This makes them easy to reach and minimizes the "search" time. 

5) Organize Books
Since this is a Bible based curriculum, it may be helpful to organize all Bibles and Christian books together.  Keep sets of books together (My First Steps Books).  Because we have older children who are reading, I organize our books by reading level.

6) Make Sure it Makes Sense to You
Every kitchen you walk into is a little different.  The basic kitchen items will be in the same general place but overall everyone places their supplies where it best works for them.  Craft supplies are the same.  Each family will use different supplies at different times and in different amounts. 

With this in mind, organize in a way that makes sense to you.  And as you get deeper into the learning process, move the supplies closer to the front that you use more often.  Time is often the best decision maker. 

I pray that this has been helpful.  If I didn't cover a specific question that you have, be sure to leave a comment!

Tomorrow:  Home Hints

How do you organize your school supplies?


  1. Thanks for this post. I get so overwhelmed every year with all the school supplies, so it is so helpful to see all the advice.
    We do quite a bit of the same things.


The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.