I’m an organization freak. I love sorting, sifting, grouping, and stacking. I’m always re-organizing this or that; creating new and better ways of organizing school supplies. Art supplies are quite abundant at our place, and though I’m blessed to have a school room, it isn’t a gargantuan one, so the organization aspect is definitely key for me if I’m going to fit in everything we have without it being a pigsty.
Here’s a look at how I organize our basic supplies:
I like things to be visible whenever possible. I used to have several big totes for my art supplies, but we had to dig through them and get everything out to find what we needed (inevitably what we needed was at the BOTTOM of the tote!). Now I use clear, labeled containers on open shelves whenever possible. If they aren’t clear, at least they’re labeled so I can see what I’ve got. I use a lot of mason jars because they are tall and can perfectly fit all those odds and ends on my shelf. In the top picture you can see all the small mason jars that line my window sill above my desk. Those are for paper clips, rubber bands, googly eyes, chalk–all those little things that fit in smaller mason jars.
I love my paper tray. It holds our lined paper, handwriting paper, construction paper, and craft papers all in one spot. Stacked right next to my paper tray are little pre-sewn books for when my kids want to write stories. You can also see my giant tub of crayons. We pull that out and set it in the middle of our work table just about daily. My kids also have their own little crayon containers at their desks.
Inside my school room I also have a closet. Most of it is devoted to the washer and dryer and our water heater, but we built this simple plywood shelves above the laundry area to house my paints, sewing supplies, play-doh, ribbons, and other miscellaneous supplies. They are all really open and visible so I can see and grab just what I need. The ribbon spools are held up by a wood dowel suspended between the shelves. The paint bins below it are sorted by kinds of paint–tempera, acryllic, and watercolor/fingerpaints.
Above the closet my husband built a little cubby hole up high for a few more clear bins. These hold the things I REALLY don’t want the kids to get into without permission–my rubber stamps, our bead and jewelry making stuff, and GLITTER!
On all my bottom shelves I store other odds and ends in clear, labeled shoe-box bins. My magnetic letters, flashcards, math manipulatives, bean bags, and all those other little teaching tools we collect. I like having these down low where even the littlies can get to them because these are all the things they are SUPPOSED to get into without permission.
Last, but not least, this set of drawers is my science set. It has thermometers, magnets, beakers, batteries, a microscope, magnifying glasses, and all of our other science equipment.
My bookshelves are also sorted by subject so I can readily find what I’m looking for. Math, writing, history, geography, science, art–all the subjects have their own shelf. I know I’m a little fanatical about where I keep my things, but it is oh, so nice when everything you need is right at your fingertips.