August 12, 2020  

Creating A Portable Homework Station

Get ready for back to school with this portable homework station. If you don’t have a lot of space, this is a great way to organize school supplies at home.

toddler holding notebook and pulling paper out of her homework caddy

Today we’re talking about something that’s on the mind of every parent: back to school. 2020 sure has brought on a lot, and figuring out schooling arrangements has not been easy on anyone.

That’s why I’m teaming up with 14 fellow bloggers to share back to school (at home) decorating and organizing ideas to help you as you figure out what doing more or all schooling at home this year. I’ll link to everyone’s creative ideas at the end of this blog post so you can go check out what they’re doing to make the best of back to school this year.

Although I don’t have school-aged kids, Chloe turns 3 this fall and is already accumulating an astonishing amount of papers, workbooks, art projects, and craft supplies. We need a quick way to clean up the table before dinner and contain all of her things so they’re easy to get back out again later. I imagine you can relate!

My solution is a new portable homework station! This is a simple organizing idea that will work for any age kid. It’s more of a crafting/coloring station for us right now but can grow into a learning station and homework station as Chloe gets older. Ready to see it?! It’s so useful yet SO SIMPLE (always a win in my book!).


image of homework caddy with text overlay
Sources: Large Divided Bin | Small Baby Bins

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Setting Up A Portable Homework Station

Gather Up Supplies

First things first, round up everything you need to store or make a list. Do you have a ton of small office supplies? What about workbooks? Do you need a spot for a Chromebook to live?

This was easy for me, I just went to our dining table and sorted through the mess of papers and coloring books and crayons😂. My goal was to create a home for basic school supplies with enough room for several notebooks/activity books

toddler coloring at kitchen table

Choose A Container

Now that you know what types of school items you need to store, the next step is to locate a container.

Some things to look for in a container:

  • Handles – helps make your container easily portable
  • Size – you probably want something big enough to hold notebooks and paper, do you need it to be a little bigger to also fit Chromebooks and binders?
  • Not Too Big – you want to keep the size small enough that it’s light enough to carry around and small enough to live on a shelf or sit on a table.
  • Sturdy – workbooks and electronics can get heavy, so look for a container that’s durable enough to hold up to a lot of use

Your container doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, you might already have something that could work!

For Chloe’s portable homework station, I used one of these large bins from The Container Store. I actually just used one of these to organize under our kitchen sink last week, and I absolutely love the size!

It’s wide enough for notebooks and has a removable divider that works well for separating paper and notebooks from smaller supplies.

And if you need extra space for school supplies, you might consider a bin for paper/notebooks plus a Lazy Susan like I used as Chloe’s art caddy.

homework station filled with school supplies and notebooks
Sources: Large Divided Bin | Small Baby Bins


That brings me to the next step: compartmentalize! Add smaller containers, pencil cups, or pencil cases to organize all of those school supplies so they don’t get lost.

I recommend using something that can be easily removed from your container, like a big pencil cup that can be set in the middle of the table during the day. If you don’t have removable bins, make sure your kid can easily reach all of the supplies inside of your homework station.

I dropped in 4 of these little baby bins that are designed to be a perfect fit inside my large bin. They have a few different sizes and heights so they’re really versatile. See how I used a taller one as a pencil cup and shorter ones for other supplies? They keep things organized and easy to grab.

hand pulling small container of pencils out of larger container holding school supplies

Fill With School Supplies

Now for the easy part…fill up your containers with all the school supplies your kiddo needs! In addition to the obvious supplies, you might want to add a printable assignment tracker or monthly calendar to a clipboard to keep things extra organized.

Chloe’s portable bin is stocked with notebooks and coloring books in the back half. And the smaller bins are filled with all sorts of basic supplies (though the big bottle of glue is 100% only in there for photos, no way am I giving my toddler that unsupervised!).

toddler coloring at table with portable homework station in the background

Add Labels

I’ve never met a label I didn’t love, so of course I went a little extra with a few quick labels for things. This is totally optional, but really cute and could be handy if you have multiple kids all working in one space.

I added Chloe’s name across the front of her homework bin using Cricut vinyl (FYI I have a whole video tutorial on that process). Can’t you see a row of these bins sitting on a bookshelf, one for each kid in the family?

toddler holding notebook and pulling paper out of her homework caddy

Give It A Home

Lastly, designate a permanent “home” for your newly organized homework station. This is portable so it’s meant to move around, but that also means it should have a home to live in between work sessions.

Give your portable homework station a spot that’s near where most of the schoolwork will happen and ideally somewhere where your kid can reach it themselves (or not, if you’re like me and have an almost-three-year-old who can’t be trusted on her own with red markers😉)

Ours is currently living on this little cabinet next to our printer. It’s next to the kitchen so easy to carry over the the dining table when we need it, and quick to pack back up and put away.

portable homework caddy sitting on a cabinet next to a printer
portable homework caddy with small compartments filled with school supplies
Sources: Large Divided Bin | Small Baby Bins

Now who’s going to assemble a portable homework caddy like this ASAP?! So helpful, no matter your kid’s age. Extra helpful with more schooling at home, but also useful in a normal year.

My friends are sharing some awesome back to school ideas this week, go take a look at their tips and projects!

back to school (at home) title graphic
Back to School (The At-Home Edition!) Blog Hop

Looking for more back to school inspiration? Take a look at these blog posts:

Have a fantastic day!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a working mom juggling two young kids, a corporate job, and all that goes into managing a home. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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  1. Emily, I love this cute portable school supply box! You’re so smart to put smaller containers inside the larger one — that definitely helps keep everything more organized (and easier to find!).

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