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Most kids of school age have a pencil case of some kind.  A pouch or a box, it’s just a given that they need something to keep their things in rather than have them dumped into the bottom of the book bag, never to be seen again.  My kids don’t.  We just don’t have the room for three of them, even three (or four, if you count one for me) small cases take up space we simply can’t afford.  Needing something to hold all the little odds and ends that going in to a typical grammar school kit, I went searching for something more practical for my homeschooling family, and that’s when I found it: Snapware. For this Works for Me Wednesday tip, I give you stackable, snapable boxes.

I like how it's almost glowing in this picture, because it's that awesome.

It’s nothing amazing, nothing earth-shattering, but it is one of the most useful items I own and I seriously don’t know what I’d do without it.  For a couple of years, I kept my crayons in a coffee tin, my scissors in a drawer, and my pencils — don’t even get me started on the sorry state of my pencils, scattered here and there about the place, never where I needed them to be (you know, as in anywhere near the kitchen table at school time).  One day, I had enough.  I couldn’t deal with the lack of organization anymore so I headed out, to Target (as I usually do, because it’s convenient).  I checked the stationary department, and then back-to-school aisles, and nothing looked like it would suit my purposes.  Finally, in a moment of desperation, I headed back to the storage bins, waaaay in the back of the store, thinking perhaps a large-ish plastic shoe box would work.  As I was about to give up, there it was, staring me in the eye, saying, “Don’t give up, Bridget.  I’m here for you, and I’ll fulfill all your school supply needs.  Take me home with you, please, for both of us.”  At least, I’m pretty sure it said that.  I was too stunned by its sheer perfection to really pay too close attention.  It was exactly what I was looking for: three separate boxes, that stack and snap, with a lid with a handle.  There were even smaller, removable compartments (which I have removed because I didn’t need them) that could be used for things like paper clips and staples.  I grabbed it and headed for the register (stopping of course at about every shiny object I passed on the way. Have I told you I’m part ostrich?).

When I got home, I plotted out my course of action for filling this wonderful find.  I didn’t want a box for each kid, because eventually I’d then need more containers, so I decided to sort based on use instead of person.  In one box went all the markers.  In another, the crayons.  In the third, the various and sundry things one needs for little kid school work: scissors, glue sticks, pencils, playing cards, erasers, stickers, dry erase mitt, the “good” crayons, etc.  Up they stacked, together they snapped, and on went the lid.  Voila, ta-da, ooh la la.  Perfect!

Everything in it's own little place.

I cannot tell you how much I love this thing or how much easier it has made my life having all of the school supplies together, but organized, in an easy to use container.  I used to keep the crayon tin as far out of the kiddies hands as possible, bringing it down only when begged to by one of the kids, feeling a need to watch them like a hawk to make sure they all got put back in and away.  There as no lid so I was constantly worried the whole thing would get knocked over and there’d be a huge mess (crazy, I know, to worry about something so silly).  No, the box is left on an easy to reach shelf with the paper and coloring books nearby, and the only rule is: don’t touch the top box!  They all know that the top box is mine, for the actual we-need-these-or-can’t-do-our-work-and-Mommy-will-yell stuff (see here) and for the most part, they actually don’t touch it.  They take out the crayons and markers, use them, and put them back, snapping them all up when they’re done.  Honestly, I think they just like the snapping part, but I’ll take what I can get.  End result? My homeschool supplies are always ready and waiting for me, and to get them, I just “grab the box”.

The "snaps"...just be careful they're snapped or disaster may ensue.

This little Snapware box works for me.  What works for you to keep your school supplies organized and at hand?