Simplify Homework : Put Supplies in a Caddy

Simplify + Organize Homework - Put Supplies in a Caddy - Clean Mama

One of my favorite kids’ organizing projects ever has been our homework caddy.  It’s a take on the caddies I had at each of my student tables when I was an art teacher.  I loved having everything accessible for my students – it kept them at their spots and engaged in the activities at hand.  Using this same idea, I put together this little caddy with my oldest kiddos a few years ago and every year right around school supply time we assess it, refill it, and get it ready for the next school year.  I posted about it 2 years ago – you can see that post here.

The great thing about a homework or crafting caddy is that it can work for kids of all ages – toddler-high school and beyond that if you are an adult that likes to craft, it can work for you too.  Think of what your kids use daily for crafting and homework and gather those things into one place.  I use a divided cutlery caddy – you can use a bin, a box, a basket, or any other type of container you can think of.  I added mason jars so the kids can grab just one thing from the caddy at a time.  We put the caddy on the middle of the kitchen table for homework time and one kid will grab the markers and the other will grab colored pencils and another will grab a pencil.  For some reason that one step of extra containment works better for keeping it neat and tidy, easy to clean up and put away.  If you don’t want to use glass, use plastic cups for the same idea.

Gather your supplies:

  • caddy/box/basket/bin
  • jars to hold the supplies
  • markers, pens, pencils, crayons
  • rulers, scissors, glue, sticky notes

Homework Caddy - Supplies - Clean Mama

Put your caddy together:

While you’re picking up all the school supplies your kiddos need for the school year, pick up a couple extra boxes of pencils and markers and make a little homework caddy.  I’ve found that keeping homework supplies in a caddy makes  homework time a little easier to start and finish.  My kids come home from school, have a snack, and start in on the homework.  We try to get everything done right away while we’re already at the kitchen table and having a tote-able homework caddy helps us stay organized and efficient.  This year I tweaked the caddy and system and thought you might want to see what I put together.

Caddy - Clean Mama

Then I just loaded it up with the supplies that my kids seem to use on a nightly or weekly basis for homework and crafting – markers, pencils, erasers, glue, Post-Its, and scissors.  I don’t think we’re ready for back to school quite yet, but at least we have our homework caddy ready!

Homework Caddy - Clean Mama

Fall Organizing Mini Challenge

I’m challenging myself (and you!) to a little fall/back to school organization this next week!  Follow along on Instagram for each daily challenge.  Every fall I tackle a couple areas that need to get whipped into shape and this year I’m making it public 🙂  I’ll be showing you my completed challenge in our home ‘live’ as it’s completed each day and sharing a couple posts throughout the week as well.

back to school

The premise is that with about 15 minutes each day, we can put a couple simple systems in place that will carry us through the busy months ahead.  Most of these topics I’ve talked about on the blog before and they’re systems that WORK! I’m linking up some posts here that will be helpful if you’d like to check out what I’ve said before on the topic.  I’ll be posting all of my live progress on Instagram so follow along or peek over there each day.  If you don’t have kids heading back to school, the ideas are still applicable, just adjust it to fit your needs.  For instance, instead of putting together a homework caddy or area, organize your desk or get your planner ready.  Instead of working on kids clothes you can do a little purge of your own clothes.  I’ll be doing more of these mini challenges – I hope you enjoy it!

Make sure you sign up for my posts too!

Ready for a mini challenge?  Here are the tasks for each day:

MONDAY – Homework caddy

A Simple Homework Caddy via Clean Mama

TUESDAY – Snack and Lunch Prep

How to Organize Snacks + Lunches via Clean Mama

WEDNESDAY – Kids’ Clothes

How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets via Clean Mama

THURSDAY – Command Center

3 Things Every Command Center Needs - Clean Mama

FRIDAY – Clean/Organize the Refrigerator

The Best Way to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama

5 Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Fall

5 Simple Ideas to Organize the Family For Fall via Clean Mama

With fall on the doorstep, it’s helpful to prepare the house for the new schedules and routines.  I’m working my way through this little list and know that the effort will pay off in time saved in the months to come!

3 Things Every Command Center Needs via Clean Mama

Organize or put together a Command Center – start with these 3 things every command center needs.  Having a command center is really helpful but only if you’re using it wisely.  Take the time to put one together and you’ll be glad you did!

How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama

Clean and Organize the Refrigerator – use a couple simple steps to get your refrigerator clean and organized for the busyness that fall brings.  Clean thoroughly, adjust shelves if necessary, and group like items together to keep your refrigerator tidy this fall.

Gather School Supplies to Make a Homework Caddy

Put together a homework station to make homework an easier process.  I keep our supplies mobile with this simple homework caddy.  All you need is a caddy, some canning jars, and school supplies.  This is much cheaper to put together now that school supplies are so inexpensive!  Click through to see the completed caddy!

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Do a quick clean of closets following this simple method for organizing and maintaining them.  I detail kids closets in the post but you can apply the techniques and steps to your own closets and drawers.

Toys Out - Toys Put Away via Clean Mama

Practice One Task to Keep Your Home Clutter Free – it’s so simple!  Take it out, and put it away.  Keep this in mind this fall and I bet you and your family will appreciate taking that little step to put things away.  It’s so simple but so hard to keep up with unless it’s a conscious decision.

What’s on your list?  What would you add to make your life a little easier into the transition to fall?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama


How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets

How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets via Clean Mama

If you have children and they have a closet and/or a dresser and clothing, chances are there are some issues regarding clothes, organization, and laundry.  While teaching kids to be tidy might be important to you, it’s probably not on their radar.  Instead, doing a couple things to set them up for success is probably a better idea.  So today I’m going to share some ideas for quickly organizing kids’ closets and dressers in ways that make it easy for them to maintain themselves.  What better time than fall and back to school season to give a little thought to the organization in their closets and drawers.

How to Organize Kids Closets via Clean Mama

First things first, a couple ideas to keep in mind when organizing for and with children:

  • Keep things easily accessible – hang items at their level so they can take them out and put them away easily.
  • Group like items together – the key to keeping things organized works SO well for kids.  Group everything and it will be so much easier.  Label if needed with words or pictures, whatever works for your kids.
  • Keep often used items in plain sight so they are easy to find and put away.  Storage without lids is great so they can simply see where the item belongs and put it there.
  • Stay on top of outgrown clothing.  Have a system for storage of outgrown clothing is key.  I keep a bin in each child’s closet for anything that’s outgrown.  Once it’s filled up it’s either passed down to a younger sibling or cousin or it’s donated.  If you have younger children, keep only what you need and know your next child will use.  Put the clothing in storage bins and clearly label them so it’s easy to find the clothing when they are needed.  I find it really helpful to either have one large bin of clothing for a specific age OR to have one bin for fall/winter and one for spring/summer clothing.
  • Teach your kids to de-clutter clothing and toys together so they understand this process.  I find that it’s also especially helpful for kids to see how quickly they become disinterested with toys and clothing so they are more selective about new toys and clothing.

Step One:

Empty the closet and any drawers completely.  This is always my method when cleaning and organizing ANY space.  Once you have emptied the entire space clean and wipe down any shelves and drawers.  Vacuum if necessary.

Step Two:

Sort Quickly through Clothes via Clean Mama

Sort through clothing quickly – what fits, keep.  What doesn’t fit put in one of 3 categories: pack away, toss, donate/sell.  Use this simple method for all clothing sorting and organization – it works!  If there are outfits or clothing that your child no longer likes or never liked but it still fits, either pack it away or donate/sell it.  It isn’t worth taking up space if it isn’t an outfit or piece of clothing that will get worn.

Step Three:

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Group like items together – long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, pants, shorts, pajamas, undies, socks, etc.  Keeping everything grouped together makes it SO much easier to put away and to find certain articles of clothing in a hurry.

Group Like Items Together via Clean Mama

Step Four:

Hang or fold (almost) everything.  Here’s the thing.  If you want to get your kids involved with doing their own laundry or some part of the folding and putting away process and you want to start at a young-ish age (like 3+), having everything hung, folded, and put away neatly may or may not work.  When I am doing little ones laundry and they aren’t helping, everything gets folded and put away standing up.

Folded Clothes in Drawers via Clean Mama

I’ve done this for years for my own clothes and for the kids and it works great for limited storage plus you can easily see everything at a glance.  My oldest can keep up with this but my younger two cannot and I don’t expect it from them.  I am just happy that one can fold his own clothes and put them away and the younger one can choose his own clothes and get dressed by himself.  Point being, don’t expect perfect and figure out ways to let the kids take some responsibility.  For example, kids’ socks and undies go in small bins in their dresser drawers unfolded.

Keep Socks and Undies in Containers in Drawers via Clean Mama

If needed, use the door for storage – I put an over-the-door storage hanger over the back of the door for my daughter’s doll clothes – it’s a great way to keep them accessible for her and they’re also easy to put away.

Use the Door for Storage via Clean Mama

Now for maintenance. Keeping a closet neat and tidy will need some supervision, but start with an accessible laundry hamper and making sure clothes are folded and put away where they belong is key.  If the location of the clothing makes sense to your child and it’s easy for them to access, then they will have success!  We do a big closet clean out in the spring and fall and this seems to be all that’s necessary.

What’s your best tip for organizing and maintaining kids closets?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama

Three Easy Ideas for Back to School

3 Easy Ideas for Back to School via Clean Mama

I was an art teacher for almost 10 years.  I always felt a little grumpy, and yet excited, at the beginning of August knowing that my summer was nearly over (yes, I know not everyone gets a couple months off a year but I still felt grumpy).  Now as a mom, I have that same feeling of excitement for what’s to come and that grumpy feeling.  Instead of letting the grumpy feeling get the best of me I’m focusing on a couple tangible things that I can do to get this year off to a great start.

Today I’m sharing my 3 favorite ideas and tips for back to school….perfect for any age or grade level and family dynamic.  Try one or all three – they’re guaranteed to get you moving in the right direction.

MAKE A LIST –  It’s amazing to me what a difference a list can make in the scheme of things.  Just putting pen to paper and taking your ideas out of your head and on a piece of paper is huge.  Nothing is forgotten, everything’s accounted for, you have a reference and starting point.  It’s obvious by my site and business that list making is important to me, I encourage you to try it.  One of my favorite teacher colleagues used to wear a notepad necklace – as a 22 year old, I thought that was quirky and fun, but now I get it.  I don’t do the necklace but the paper and pen and awesome list?  You bet.  Need a whole plethora of list making goodies?  Grab the Back to School Printable Bundle before it’s gone (ends 8/9/14).  I love the Back-to-School Planning Kit (pictured below and included in the Back to School Printable Bundle) from Aby at Simplify 101 – full of step by step methods for a successful start to the school year – I’m working on my errands list for next week.

Simple Back to School Tips via Clean Mama

ORGANIZE SOMETHING – Do something little or something big –  spending as little as 10 minutes to sort something out can make a big difference.  You’ll reap the benefits for longer than the time you invested into the project.  Not sure where to start?  Here are some quick back-to-school organizing project ideas:  make a homework caddy, sort through kid clothing and pack away/donate outgrown clothes (make a list of what you need), set up a back pack station, sort through shoes and pack away/donate outgrown shoes, set up a lunch making station in a cupboard or pantry (include easy to pack food items, silverware, napkins, etc.), stock the snacks for after school and sports.

Load the Caddy Up with Supplies via Clean Mama

COOK OR BAKE SOMETHING – Putting food ‘up’ is a great way to prepare for the upcoming school year.  I’ve been sharing a couple ideas on Instagram (you are following me, right?)  But making food ahead is an easy way for me to prepare for the busy-ness that’s to come.  I added a make ahead + freeze board on Pinterest and am frantically (not really) filling the freezer with breakfasts and dinners to feed us this fall.  A couple favorites are baked ziti, prep ahead proteins, and lots of muffins, oatmeal, smoothies, and breakfast burritos.

3 Easy Ideas for Back to School - Breakfast Burritos via Clean Mama



A Simple Homework Caddy

A Simple Homework Caddy via Clean MamaIf you’re looking to add a little organization in your school and homework days, put together a little homework caddy.  It’s a great way to get your kids ready for school and keep them organized all school year long.

While you’re picking up all the school supplies your kiddos need for the school year, pick up a couple extra boxes of pencils and markers and make a little homework caddy.  I’ve found that keeping homework supplies in a caddy makes  homework time a little easier to start and finish.  My kids come home from school, have a snack, and start in on the homework.  We try to get everything done right away while we’re already at the kitchen table and having a tote-able homework caddy helps us stay organized and efficient.  This year I tweaked the caddy and system and thought you might want to see what I put together.

Gather School Supplies to Make a Homework Caddy

Add Canning Jars to the Compartments to Keep Supplies Separated via Clean Mama

I started with two of my favorite organizing products – a cutlery caddy (from Target, in the seasonal outside entertaining section) and Ball canning jars.  I love having the jars in the caddy because a jar can be removed and brought somewhere else for a project and it just plain looks cute.

Load the Caddy Up with Supplies via Clean Mama

Then I just loaded it up with the supplies that my kids seem to use on a nightly basis for homework and crafting – markers, pencils, erasers, glue, Post-Its, and scissors.

How to Make a Simple Homework Caddy Step by Step via Clean Mama

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama

FAQ : Back To School Printable Bundle

Are you experiencing troubles or do you have questions about The Back to School Printable Bundle? Take a look through these frequently asked questions. Please look over the questions and answers on this page BEFORE emailing. If you have not found your answer on this page, please email us at To ensure that your question is answered in a timely manner, please take care to email at the bundle address (not our personal email address). Please note that due to high email volume we will do our best to respond in 24 hours – thank you for your patience!

I paid for my bundle but haven’t received it. What do I do?

  • Check your spam folder and double check your receipt to see what email address you used.
  • You will receive 2 emails from ejunkie – one is a thank you email with a link to this FAQ page and the other is the email that directs you to your download screen.
  • If you have not received your bundle and you have a paypal receipt that says PAID please forward your email to and we will respond within 24 hours. Thank you!

Important Details:

  • The Back to School Printable Bundle is only available from 8 a.m. EST on August 1st to 11:59 p.m. EST on August 9, 2014.  There are no exceptions.
  • PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THE BUNDLE WITH ANYONE ELSE – it is intended solely for the person who purchased the bundle. Please be respectful of the authors’ copyrights.
  • After purchasing, you will automatically receive an email (to the email address you provide) containing the download link. Please check your spam folder if you cannot find the email.
  • Please download and back up your Back to School Bundle purchase. You have 5 download attempts to access your files. The download link expires on 9/01/14. After that date, we will not be able to provide new links to download. Please remember to back up your files. We are unable to send you copies of the printable bundle that have been deleted or lost.  PLEASE take responsibility for your purchase and back up your files!
  • Due to the digital nature of this sale, there will be no refunds.
  • If you have any questions or issues with any of the printables included in this bundle, please contact that author directly.

You will receive your Back to School Printable Bundle as a ZIP file. Not sure how to open a ZIP file?

You need to open and save the zip file in order to see the nine amazing printable tools.

  • PC – right click on the folder and select open – you should see the digital items in an open folder. Save to your computer or cloud storage and enjoy!
  • MAC – save the zip to your desktop or downloads folder. Double click on the zip file and it should automatically extract the files. If it doesn’t automatically extract/open, open with your zip application or converter.
  • iPad – download WinZip from the app store (free) and then open in iBooks or Kindle App or alternatively you can open the zip on a computer and attach and email the pdfs to yourself and open and read using your favorite app on your device. Here’s a great tutorial on how to get pdfs on your iPad or Kindle!
If you still don’t understand how to do this, please use your favorite search engine and look up “how to download a zip file” on your specific platform before emailing us.

Some Printable Tips:

  • Did you know that if you have a tablet, like an iPad you can use printables paperless with an app like Notability that lets you digitally write on your pdfs? If you have a Kindle you can use Note Everything for a similar result.
  • Most of the printables in this kit are formatted for 8.5×11 and aren’t designed to be reduced unless you have a printer that can accommodate – here are two posts that give a little more explanation. RESIZING    2+ TO A PAGE Try it out with a free printable or two and see if your printer accommodates.
  • You need Adobe Reader to access the printables. Make sure that you have the most updated version – FREE – here:
  • If the printables look different than what you thought you purchased, make sure you don’t have them in ‘preview’. Some platforms default to preview instead of Adobe Reader.
Thanks for your purchase!! Enjoy your Back to School Printable Bundle.
~Becky & Toni

Back to School Checklist – FREE Printable

It’s that time of year – back to school!  If you’re short on time and needing a little structure (like me), taking some time to get a couple systems in place will make the transition from summer to fall easy.  I created a checklist to keep my goals in order and on track.  I chose five projects that have made a huge difference in our house when it comes to organizing the back to school madness.

  • Lunch and Snack Station – setting aside a little pantry space for quick access to every day lunch items is a huge help.  Littles can pack their own lunches and everything is where it’s supposed to by for the mad dash to the bus.  We have containers for applesauce, cereal bars, other snacks, hand wipes, napkins, and zip top bags.
  • Homework Station – corral a couple supplies in a caddy or bin.  Pull out the caddy after school and let the homework begin!
  • School Papers – figure out a system for school papers and artwork now before they come flooding in.  It’ll save a lot of annoyance in the long run.  Here’s a post on school memory boxes with free printables you can use too!
  • Organize Clothing – this is a great time to pack away the outgrown clothing and out of season clothing.  Make it easy for your kids to choose their own outfits by grouping like items together.
  • Start/Update Binders – sometimes I feel like my binders are an extension of my brain.  If you have never tried a homekeeping binder or just want to see mine, you can go here and here to see my cleaning binder.
  • Everything Else – that’s just the spot for all the other back to school preparations that come to mind.

Back to School Checklist - FREE PRINTABLE - Clean Mama

Want one for yourself?  Go here to start your back to school organizing!

Weekly Lunch Plan - Free Printable - Clean Mama

Having a hard time getting in the groove with what’s for lunch?  Here’s a fun little lunch planning printable for back to school.

back to school pinterest - clean mama

Up for some Pinspiration?  Check out my back to school board here and follow all my boards here.

Like these free printables?  You’ll love my shop!

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