Back-to-School 101 – Organizing Tip: Organizing School Supplies

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How to Organize School SuppliesDoes the thought of organizing school supplies send shivers up your spine?

Today’s post covers one of the bigger back-to-school topics: how to organize all those school supplies!

Here are a few ideas to help you get those school supplies organized and under control:

Sort supplies by type.

When it comes to school supplies, sorting supplies according to type or function can make it easy to find what you need in a pinch when you need it.

You could follow the old standby and store like with like (pencils with pencils and books with books, for example) or you could try out your own methods for sorting supplies.

Use your imagination and sort items according to your needs!

Let’s say you are a really tactile person; you like being able to organize items by touch or use and might decide to group supplies according to their tactile function for easy retrieval:

Sticky – glue, paste, rubber cement, tape, tack

Pointy – scissors, compass, stapler, staples, thumbtacks, paper clips

Smooth – writing paper, loose leaf, construction paper, writing notebooks, plastic sleeves, binders

…and so on and so forth.

You could also sort items according to class or subject (plastic bricks and compass for math class, magnifying glass and scale for science), by color, by weight, or go with the old standby of like with like.

Separate everyday supplies from project supplies.

It makes little sense to sort through a mass of supplies to find a small item that you need on a regular basis, such as a pair of scissors.

Once you’ve sorted supplies by type (see above), it’s time to figure out what items you will use on a regular basis. These supplies should be stored on top of, inside of, or kept close to the student’s desk or homework station.

Less frequently used supplies, perhaps such as glitter, fabric, ribbon or other items used for projects, presentations and other events, should be stored away from these daily use items.

You might store project supplies in a spare bedroom, empty closet, or in a corner of a room on a shelf or in a large container.

Diversify storage containers.

Over the course of a school year you’ll come across lots of different projects and supplies.

While small plastic containers are great for smaller items such as crayons, markers and the like, they aren’t too helpful for larger items such as poster board, large sheets of paper or pieces of canvas.

When planning storage for school supplies, be sure to include small, medium, large and flat storage containers.

Place items into appropriately sized containers or vessels for easy retrieval and storage–it doesn’t make much sense to store a handful of pencils into a giant five gallon plastic tub or tin!

Remember, you don’t have to purchase storage containers to organize or store items: take a look around your home for sturdy boxes, baskets, plastic containers, tins and the like that could be re-purposed.

Now to you…what school supply do you think is the most difficult to organize and/or store? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.