Five months ago:
“Where are all our pencils! Didn’t we just buy a whole bunch?”
“Yes, we did. Four dozen. There is no way we’ve run through four dozen pencils since September.”
“Well, I can only find four. Better order some more.”
So I did.
Three months ago:
“Sara, we’re out of erasers.”
“Impossible! I bought three dozen at the beginning of the year. What are the kids doing, eating them?”
“I don’t know, but I can never find one. Can you please order more?”
Of course I could. So I did.
Four weeks ago:
“Eema! I can’t find any of my mechanical pencils! I had ten of them and I’m the only one who uses them! Where are they?”
“I’m willing to bet that if we cleaned up around here, we’d find all of them,” I said drily.
And I did—today.
After more hours of mind-numbing curriculum research I decided to give my brain a break and tackle something physical instead: our messy, disorganized supply drawers. I had them nicely organized at the beginning of the school year, with containers for pencils, pens, markers, erasers, and rulers; but of course it got messier as time went on. I decided a few weeks ago that we needed a better system, because things kept falling between the containers instead of into them, and then we’d have to take the containers out to retrieve what had fallen, which we never did.
The supply drawers occupy the spaces where our kitchen could have had corner cabinets, but I decided to install cabinets accessible from the living room instead. It was a genius decision that I’m happy with every time I go to use them. Because they’re from IKEA’s kitchen cabinet line, it’s easy to swap out the drawers and organizers for different ones any time I want.
On Thursday I ordered two shallow drawers to take the place of a single deep one, along with cutlery trays that fit exactly (with no gaps for stuff to fall into.) I also bought a couple of magazine racks to use in our paper drawer. Today I got it all assembled, installed, and arranged. I cleaned out the old drawer and reorganized the supplies.
Do you know what I found? Piles of pencils. I mean, easily six or seven dozen. There were so many pencils I couldn’t even fit them all in the pencil section of the tray. I also found several of K’s mechanical pencils that she couldn’t find. The dry-erase markers with erasers in their lids, of which we were missing fourteen? I found ten. I also found dozens of erasers. I discovered no fewer than five protractors, three compasses, and four rulers. My kids (and, let’s face it, my husband also) couldn’t find any of these things. How could they? The stuff was under all the empty containers in the drawer.
Sometimes happiness is a newly-organized drawer; today I have four. Sure, I can’t decide on a fabric for my window seat or a writing curriculum for my kids, but at least I can find the pencils… all six dozen of them. And now everyone else can, too.
Image description: Pictures of the interiors of four drawers. Two have divided trays full of school supplies sorted by type, one has several slanted paper trays, and one has a combination of paper trays and a divided container.