Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Jules Kendall

Jules Kendall shares the sweet and savory at her blog, Pancakes and French Fries. She almost never writes about food. Instead, she focuses on her improving her health, decluttering and simplifying her home, and life with two loud boys and one quiet husband. She is the creator of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that encourages people to have nothing in their home they do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

Visit Pancakes and French Fries »
Top Picks
  • Almost a year ago, a reader tipped me off to an ingenious school organization trick: the homework drawer. I ran with it, and I haven't looked back. Now that the school year is about to begin, it's time to clean them out and start fresh. This time with their new grade levels and school supply lists in mind.

    You need one drawer for each child, or at least one drawer for each grade level. (More on that later.)
  • unorganized drawers
    Photos: Jules Kendall
  • My eldest son is going into fourth grade, so his drawer was straightforward to clean. It just needed a general purge of trash and old or broken supplies.

    My youngest is a pack rat, so there was considerably more trash to clean out. And, while my fourth grader was able to reuse many of his supplies, the supply list for first grade is much different that what it was for kindergarten.
  • paper
    Photo: Jules Kendall
  • The idea is so simple I shouldn't find it so revolutionary, but I do. Line the drawers with colorful scrapbook paper or easy-to-wipe-down contact paper. But for now the scrapbook paper works.
  • organized drawer
    Photo: Jules Kendall
  • After that, it's time to fill the drawers. Each child gets their own drawer, and inside is everything they need to do their homework. They have their own set of pencils, scissors, erasers, and other general homework supplies. I use small trays to corral these items together, though a traditional drawer organizer is great if you have the room. In addition to that, each drawer has items specific to each child. For example, my fourth grader will begin geometry this year so his drawer will have graph paper and mechanical pencils. His teacher also requested we buy Meriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and non-click red ink pens. This is, by far, the most detailed and specific supply list I have received. I'm curious to see how this year goes! 
  • organized drawer
    Photo: Jules Kendall
  • My first grader's list was more straightforward. His teacher teaches the kids certain mathematical concepts with playing cards and loves to do math drills. (She's a former math teacher.) In this son's drawer is his own deck of cards and a set of flash cards that used to belong to my brother. When school starts, I'll add the writing tablets his teacher asks him to use for homework. Those can only be purchased through the school, or they'd already be in his drawer.
    And that's it! So simple, so worth it. The boys take ownership of their supplies, they know where to go when they need something, and homework time is (a little bit) more relaxing. It's still homework time. The drawers are great, but they're not made of magic.
  • ServerT:0.66518592834473