If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you may remember that back when my kids were first starting school I set up a homework and craft cabinet for them. (If you’re looking to set up a homework cabinet, check out this post.)
As part of our back to school prep each year, we declutter the craft cabinet, discarding dried out markers, no longer loved art projects, and stubby pencils. In short, we get the space ready for the upcoming school year. This year was no exception—the craft and homework cabinet needed a little organizing intervention.
As I was decluttering, this organizing principle kept swirling through my mind…
When life changes your organizing systems need to change too.
Life has definitely changed since my kids first started school. My kids have changed and so has their schoolwork. So the start of a new school year offered a great opportunity to reevaluate the homework and craft cabinet and figure out what organizing changes could be made to better reflect their lives and homework now.
If you have an area of your home that used to work organizationally but doesn’t work any longer, here are some tips to help you update your organizing system.
- Identify what is still working. Often, even if an organizing system doesn’t work as well as it used to, chances are good that there are still pieces of it that do work. Before scrapping everything and starting from scratch, take a few minutes to identify what does still work. In our case, the basic idea of the homework and craft cabinet still works, though only my youngest child uses it. My son has a new desk that is perfect for high school (if not a job at a large corporation.) So all he might use this area for is grabbing a few extra supplies. But, my daughter Kailea still prefers to do her homework at the kitchen table, so I updated this space with her in mind.
- Identify what isn’t working. The big thing that didn’t work organizationally in our craft cabinet was that there weren’t homes for new items that had come into our lives since we originally set up the space (like duct tape.) Another problem was finished projects and papers which clutter-up the space during the school year.
- Eliminate the unnecessary to create space for the new. To address what wasn’t working, I took stock of which items were no longer being used. Play-Doh and pony beads were eliminated. I asked Kailea about the crayons and some of the other crafting items. The crayons made the cut this year…but I think their days are numbered. Still, enough space was created to address what wasn’t working.
- Keep doing what works. Once you’ve identified what is working, make sure to keep this intact when you reorganize the space. In our case, the basic storage pieces worked great. The small drawers for pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, etc. allow for easy access. And I still like how it looks, all these years later. The metal buckets filled with often used writing utensils also works well. Kailea can help herself to a single writing utensil from the drawers, or pull out a bucket when she’s working on a project.
- Fix what is broken. I added a paper sorter to hold finished projects and scrap paper, and I gave the duct tape a home.
- Update to reflect now. Pony beads and Play-Doh have given way to protractors and compasses. In the space I freed up by decluttering, I added a bucket of homework items like the protractor, compass, erasers, and scratch paper.
- Communicate the new system. My kids are very independent when it comes to getting their homework done, but when they need help with math homework, Jay is there go-to guy. (I seriously don’t know how I got so lucky.) I showed Jay the new arrangement which includes easy-access to scratch paper for working through math problems. And I showed Kailea the spot to store her finished papers, so that they don’t work their way into all of the open crevices in the craft cabinet.
And so we’re ready for another year of homework! Yay, team. By the way, want to know Kailea’s favorite part?
Yep, the cup of sharpened, green pencils. I guess a love of fun office supplies runs in the family.
Where do your kids do their homework? How do you organize their supplies? Thanks for sharing!