For Moms

How to Organize Homeschool Supplies If This is Your First Time

Are you “team organized” or “team laid-back?”

Do you like everything in its’ place, or do you even have a place?

I’m a retired homeschool mom – after 13 years of homeschooling our baby graduated last year!

Probably one of my favorite things about homeschooling was getting ready for back to school and setting up the school supplies and books.

I’m a little OCD, and I got to put that to good use!

So, yes I’m “team organized,” and in this post, I want to help you learn how to organize homeschool supplies!

I also want to touch on how to make the most of your homeschool space – whether you have a dedicated homeschool room or just the kitchen table.

First, let’s dive into organizing those supplies!

How to Organize Homeschool Supplies

As homeschoolers we have all kinds of school supplies – scissors, tape, paper (all kinds), crayons, markers, you get the idea. And we have books! Maybe you use textbooks (Abeka, BJU, Math U See) or workbooks. Or maybe even DVDs and CDs.

Plus we have our own “homeschool mom” books!

There are tons of things to set up and have ready at the beginning of each year. It can be a little overwhelming too.

I don’t know if you’re a Pinterest addict like I am, but I love to look at ways to organize.

All those picture perfect shelving units with cute, colorful totes that are hand labeled – love it! Cute little wire baskets with quirky cat figurines guarding all the multicolored folders. Everything has a place. And it’s all clean, fresh, new.

I want that school room!

The Reality

My homeschool area ended up a little less than “Pinteresty.”

In one house we lived in, we used the kitchen table and a bookshelf nearby. Where we live now, and where I did most of our homeschooling, I had one kid at the eat-in dining room, one in the formal dining room, and one in the study.

We weren’t cute, fresh, or very organized.

The Science Behind Organization

In her blog post, 10 Reasons You Should Stay Organized Based on Science, Karo cites different studies that show how being organized helps us. Some of the reasons are:

  • staying focused
  • relieving stress
  • saving time and money
  • improving relationships

I think all of these apply to those of us who homeschool. And they can help us.

Anything that helps relieve stress, I’m there. If our kids are better focused, that’s a win. Saving time and money is always a plus. And improved relationships are probably top of the list.

Practical Ways to Organize School Supplies

Pinterest does have some really practical ways to organize homeschool supplies. You can save money by buying things at a thrift shop, a garage sale, or dollar store. Upcycle them with paint or stickers or even shelving paper. Make your homeschooling room or area look how you want!

Bins, shelves, tubs, glass jars, even oversized coffee cups make great storage containers. I have the cutest dino planter I bought from that awesome area in the front of Target that I use for pens!

Depending how many kids you homeschool and what kinds of supplies you have will guide how you organize. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Try not to overwhelm the kids – if you have a library area, you don’t have to put all the books out at once. Pick a few and rotate them.
  • If you have multiple kids, you can group books by age group.
  • For manipulatives – same concept as with your library area. Rotate them out. Think of multiple ways to use 1 kind of manipulative. Lisa of Maggie’s Milk offers lots of ideas in her post Creative Ways to use Mega Bloks for using building blocks in math and language arts. A dry erase marker can turn manipulatives into all kinds of learning tools!
  • Group like things together – put art supplies in the same bin or tub, wide ruled paper in a separate container from graphing paper, etc.
  • Use wire baskets for paper and folders – things that won’t go through the wire holes! Save little things and art supplies for solid bins.
  • If you have little ones, durable plastic storage containers are your best bet for the money. Littles lean on things to get up and have no concept of their body weight! Some older kids do the same.
  • Use the glass containers on your desk. See note above. 😉

Where Do You Homeschool?

Do you have a particular area you do most of your homeschooling? Many people don’t! You may car school, school outside, or use wherever you are for learning.

What I’m saying is, you don’t have to have a dedicated homeschool room to be a great homeschooler!

If you do have a main area, you can set your supplies and books up in there. When I had a kid in three different rooms, I kept their things in the room they used and some joint supplies in one area. My kids were at the age and stage where they didn’t want to see or hear each other.

(Fun times! Thankfully, they grew up.)

Options for Schooling in a Small Area

Some suggestions I’ve seen for schooling in a small area or not having an actual room are using backpacks or rolling carts with shelves. Using the idea I gave above on not putting everything out at once helps too.

You can also use a small rug to mark a kiddo’s school area. I’ve had friends with multiple kids in one room use partitions between desk areas. Schooling online also saves a lot of space.

Overall, I think simplifying things is key when space is limited.

How Do You Organize Homeschool Supplies?

How are you feeling about organizing your homeschool supplies? Ready to jump on the “team organized” wagon? I hope my ideas gave you some ideas!

What works for you? What organizing tips do you have? Do you have a dedicated homeschool area? I’d love to hear your suggestions and solutions in the comments!

Jen Dodrill "retired" after 13 years of homeschooling when her baby graduated in 2020. She has been married 35 years, has 5 amazing kids and 2 adorable grandkids, and she homeschooled her three youngest children. Jen loves to help the homeschooling community and to provide great homeschool curriculum. She enjoys writing, creating curriculum, and she also teaches Oral Communication as an adjunct instructor. When she’s not working, she’s spending time with her family or curled up on the couch reading and drinking a mug of dark roast coffee. Check out Jen's shop on TeachersPayTeachers, her blog Jen Dodrill History at Home, and connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and her favorite place – Pinterest!

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I could almost smell the stationary aisles reading this post 🙂 One thing I’ve found super annoying over the years is re-discovering ‘lost’ resources I’ve put in a safe space for later, too late for them to be useful anymore! This rarely happens these days, my solution – a simple notebook for all things home-ed. Having a dedicated place to keep lists of stuff I’ve stored away, resources I want to strew and extra supplies I’ve already purchased has really helped free up some space in my brain! Some fab ideas around rotation and storage in this post, and I’m keen to follow that link and learn more about the science of organisation, love that. Thanks Jen 🙂Reply to Hayley
Yes, I love that smell!! 😉 That’s a great idea to keep a list of things you have. That really helps! One time I found a whole bin of school supplies – in the attic! Oops! Thanks for commenting!Reply to Jen