Homeschool Organization at the Kitchen Table

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.

It’s about time for another edition of homeschool organization. Laura and I decided to add this topic about once a month based on the feedback received last time but also taking into consideration those who don’t need this type of information. One size doesn’t fit all, so my hope is that once a month isn’t too much or too little for anyone!

Homeschool Organization at the Kitchen Table

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get exhausted looking at beautiful pictures of color coordinated pristinely organized spaces that look rather expensive to create. You could spend a mini fortune just organizing your shoes! Life, with it’s reality of budgets and kids and messes and changed plans and nighttime fevers, doesn’t always look as organized in my home as it does in magazines. The more I accept this season, the less exhausted I get looking at those pictures.

Educating at home includes toddlers who de-shelve all our work in minutes, food crumbs stuck to the back of school papers, and mothers (or fathers or grandparents) who forge ahead in spite of it all. That said, I want this post to offer you a big hug of encouragement, because your homeschool corner may not look like a magazine, but it certainly can be organized to suit your purposes!

Ironically, after saying all that, I’m about to show you our homeschool shelf all pretty looking because the last thing you need to see is my mess! The picture below is how it’s suppose to be when everything is picked up and put away properly, BUT remember that it doesn’t always look like this. Messes come and messes go in our house, the key to keeping homeschool organized, especially at the kitchen table, is to have a place to put things away at the end of the day. Things get spread out all over the table and even migrate into other rooms of the house. The main goal is to have a central location where everything belongs once we’re finished for the day.

Here’s where I keep all our daily homeschooling “stuff” (for lack of a better term). Oh, and a sneak peak of my fall coffee vignette that has nothing to do with homeschool. 🙂

Keeping homeschool organized at the kitchen table

It’s simple and only two little shelves. There isn’t a major wow factor, but it works for us. This shelf is the end cap of my kitchen island, right next to the kitchen table. Never underestimate the power of containerizing on a nearby shelf, because that’s how I’ve managed to keep things tidy smack dab in the center of our home.

Organizing homeschool at the kitchen table

The biggest workhorse in this school zone are a few sets of magazine holders from Ikea. Sure, they’re cardboard, but they’re cost effective for me and add major organization in this small space. I especially love the little handles on them, making it all the more easy to pull what I need off the shelf.

Best way to keep homeschool subjects organized and tidy!

The handle portion comes fitted with a built-in label, which makes things even better for those of us with a label addiction. 😉 I actually just taped a piece of washi tape here for a splash of color that I can change out later if the mood strikes.

labeling with washitape

Inside each magazine holder are workbooks, maps, folders, and/or related textbooks all categorized by subject. For example, I have one holder for handwriting, one for math, history… etc. I even keep one holder dedicated to completed work that I need to keep track of for school/state purposes.

Ikea magaine holders work amazingly well to keep homeschool subjects organized

One magazine holder is dedicated to my “teacher aids”. Things like a mini dry-erase easel (found at Michael’s craft store) and master copies of printables all go in this magazine holder, basically the miscellaneous and necessary things.

Things I keep inside the magzine holder for teacher supplies

My favorite kitchen table homeschool tool!

Teacher Supplies for homeschool store easily in a magazine holder from Ikea

For loose printables, I keep the master copy along with several copied versions of that page inside a plastic page protector, one for each printable/master set.

Multiple copies of printables store easily in page protectors

Sometimes I label them with a piece of removable washi tape along the side margin like pictured below.

Keep printbles and multiple copies in plastic page protectors

How things work: I pull out the magazine holder with the subject we’re working on along with the “teacher supplies” and put them on the table while we’re schooling. Once the subject is finished for the day, it returns to the shelf and we move on to the next area. The homeschool caddy (read more HERE) remains on the table for all subjects and if I’m being totally honest, sometimes remains there until dinner time. 😉

How I keep our homeschool life organized at the kitchen table

So, the top shelf holds all the books, pages, and general materials grouped together by subject. On the bottom shelf, I keep a box filled with math manipulatives. We use these almost daily but the plastic tub they came in didn’t fit on my shelf. Thanks again to Ikea, I found a box with the same handy handle to match the top shelf.

Ikea products are cost effective and organized for a homeschooling family

All the Saxon brand manipulatives fit inside this box. I keep them separated with zip-top baggies inside the box.

Saxon math manipulatives fit inside this Ikea storage box

I also keep my daughter’s art notebook I wrote about last year (read HERE) to help organize loose papers that she wants to keep or show off.

One example to help organize your homeschooling paper clutter

The last thing on the lower shelf is the homeschool caddy I previously mentioned (HERE). It may not match my kitchen decor, but I’ve learned to have different priorities in this stage of motherhood. So, yes, here in my muted neutral kitchen is a splash of rainbow bright… something I doubt we’d see in a magazine. 🙂

using a homeschool caddy helps keep things organized at the kitchen table

These are just the things we use on a regular basis but not everything I own related to school (more on that later).

I said it before and it bears repeating – never underestimate the value of an inexpensive container on a nearby shelf! By keeping most of the school supplies grouped in magazine holders, I have instant organization and visual appeal at a low cost. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be in a dedicated room or cabinet (although nothing wrong with that method either!).

Think about keeping your most frequently used items in one location near your homeschool work station and consider how you could “clean-up” some of the randomness with a few labeled containers.

Again, this is how I do things at our kitchen table. I’m currently invading my friends’ homeschool zones and taking pictures of different solutions we come up with for those who have bigger work zones and more kiddos. So, keep your feedback coming because I’m not finished with this topic yet. Until next time, what are some homeschool organizing “trouble spots” you experience at home?


In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughter. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours!


Filed under: Containerizing, Guest Bloggers, Kid Stuff, Paper Organization, Rachel, School Stuff


10 Responses to Homeschool Organization at the Kitchen Table

  1. 1
    Sinea Pies says

    I love binders. Using all the same color makes everything neat and tidy! Thanks for sharing some great ideas.
    Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row

  2. 2
    Anne says

    They make spray paint now for metal. I love the caddy idea. Maybe you could just paint it to match. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3
    Anne says

    P.S. How did you make the easel? It looks great =)

  4. 4
    evi says

    I actually like the rainbow-colored bin. I am all for white binders (I have a ton of the KASSETT-bins as well) but the bucket is a fun splash of color.

  5. 5
    Bonnie says

    Thank you! I bought the KASSETT box and magazine holders. Both of my kids are in special ed and they have a lot of papers and workbooks. You inspired me to organize all their school stuff. It looks great!

  6. 6
    Anna Wegner says

    Just yesterday I was cringing over my less than perfect school area, and reminding myself that it works. The kids aren’t going to keep things looking like a picture, but if they can find their school items, and then put them away, that’s all we need. 🙂

    I have some black magazine files, but I keep them facing the other way. It’s been perfect for those floppy workbooks & folders that don’t sit on the shelf just right. We have some for certain subjects, the kids each have one for their own language arts workbooks & folders. Makes putting things away work well for them. 🙂

  7. 7
    Brandy says

    Thank you for this great post! I have been trying to figure out how best to neatly organize the plethora of workbooks and manuals we have between my two boys and I. I love the idea of the magazine holders because then each child can pull his holder for his specific subject and then easily put them back AND it also leaves our shared space looking neat, organized and non-primary school-esque. lol Thanks again for sharing!

  8. 8
    Jodi | Kitchen Table Classroom says

    I love seeing how everyone else “does” school. Last year (our first) I set up shop at the kitchen table and worked there with whoever needed me at the moment. This year i felt like I was spending too much time “shushing” whoever I was not working with. I set up a card table in the laundry room and rolled my little book cart in there. So far it’s working great and I’m working on a more permanent set up. It’s hard to know how some,thing works till we have actually tried it out for a few days!

  9. 9
    kaci says

    I have two in school so we use crates to hold their work and books. My twin toddlers have a toddler box that they play in during school time :). Love those Ikea folders! In 13 weeks baby number 5 will be here and i will have to reorganize again I’m sure ;).


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