Back to School Organization: The Homework Caddy

It’s coming. Back to school. I know it’s the beginning of August but before you groan hear me out. This year I have three out of four kids going to school, two of which are in grade school and now need extra supplies, and one who is just starting school and needs everything. So by necessity I have to plan early and stretch that loonie as far as I can. For all you non-Canadian readers, it’s what our one dollar coin is called. I’m breaking up our back to school shopping into two chunks. The beginning of the month is school supplies: pencils, sharpeners, crayons, backpacks, pencil cases, markers, the list goes on and my newest kindergartener’s running shoes will get lumped in here as she needs both an indoor and outdoor pair. The end of August will be for lunch bags, one new outfit and the other two kids indoor shoes.

Last year my eldest entered grade one. It was foreign territory. Literally, as he was entering into the French immersion program at our local school. It also came with homework which was also new. Add on moving into a new house over the summer and I was sporting a six-month-old baby and I was completely off my game and forever playing catch-up. One of the many things that irked me last school year was not being prepared for the homework situation. I never thought ahead to clear the kitchen table, we could never find a sharpened pencil and forget ever finding a sharpener, I didn’t know where to place papers that would come home so they were just strewn all about the house. It was chaotic, frustrating for both me and my little learner. I was purposeful that over the summer I was going to make sure I was a bit more organized practically. As for the frustration that comes forth from my heart in the after school dinner prep pressure cooker,  I know it’s going to be a matter of being diligent to set aside time to pray for the Lord to do a mighty work in changing my tired and irritable heart. I have to be proactive to quiet the house and turn off my mind from all the to-dos in order to get ready to receive joyfully three equally tired and irritable individuals.

To the drawing board. Enter Pinterest: The World’s Catalog of Ideas. I began to research how people have set up their homeschool rooms, study desks and kitchen tables in an attempt to find something that will work for my family and the different ages and grades that collect around our kitchen table. Then, I came across the “homework caddy”. (Check out my School Years Pinterest board for more ideas) It corrals all the necessary paraphernalia to complete the tasks that are sent home. The more I searched for this “caddy” the more excited I got because it can be also used for arts and crafts at home. It can be easily toted to the backyard, camping or cottage. It has so much great potential.

This week Clean Mama on Instagram started a Fall Organization Mini Challenge to make the hustle and bustle of back to school simpler and less stressful. Her first post was about A Simple Homework Caddy. I decided that this was the perfect time to take the challenge and make one.

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Shower Tote from Solutions Canada

It all starts with an unassuming shower tote. You can also use a cleaning caddy or also called a utility bin. I have seen them on Amazon and Bed, Bath and Beyond. The best part is all the back to school sales on right now. This bad boy was regularly $14.99. I snagged $9.99. But check this out…

The center piece comes out. Perfect for things that get the most use. You can remove it without having to lug the whole caddy around. Better yet it allows for easy sharing. No fighting… well maybe reduced fighting. I’m all about making things easier, convenient and super accessible.

So what did I fill my homework caddy with?

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Everything!

I love how Clean Mama divide up her caddy with mason jars. It makes things even easier to take out one group of items that is needed. So I shopped my kitchen. It took some trial and error before I found the perfect size of containers to house all our stationery.

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The jar in the back is an old peanut butter container. Then two mason jars. Lastly, the front one is one of my kids cups. They have so many. Then I filled them.

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At this point I am getting very excited! Next is to put it all into the tote.

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The pencils and markers in the mason jars go in the one half.

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The peanut butter jar of pencil crayons and battery-operated sharpener fit perfectly in the other half.

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The little blue cup of twistable crayons fits snug into one half the removable portion of the tote along with some Post-it Notes. These are not really for the kids but I though it would great to jot a quick note to teachers and stick in the kids agendas or on their homework if communication is needed.

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The other half of the centre divider has some cute compartments. I’m housing erasers, glue and scissors in this half. Speaking of the scissors they fit perfectly into the holder for a razor.

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The kids are loving it. Things are now easy to find and easy for them to carry to the table.

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I hope this has inspired you to take a step towards preparing and organizing for your littles or bigs to go back to school. Happy organizing!