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Back-To-School: Setting Up Your Home Office Space for Success

Back-To-School: Setting Up Your Home Office Space for Success

“Good order is the foundation of all good things.”

— Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France


As we prepare our space, our minds, and our lives for the “back to school” season, many of us our preparing a home office space. And let’s be honest, where you study is important.

The following information has been published previously in a book that I co-wrote with Claude W. Olney: Where There’s A Will, There’s An A. I am including organization, adequate supplies, and on-the-go supplies for your home office success.

Getting organized in your home office

Home office space should include:

  1. Good lighting

  2. Quiet & free of distractions – yes this includes distracting devices.

  3. Access to plenty of school supplies

Home Supply List

  1. Lots of pencils

  2. Mechanical pencils

  3. Red & black pens

  4. Highlighters (3-6 colors)

  5. Sharpies (3-6 colors)

  6. Thick black Sharpies and thin black Sharpies

  7. Colored pencils, crayons, magic markers

  8. Pencil sharpeners

  9. Scissors, glue, binder clips, small & large paper clips, correction fluid

  10. Sturdy tape dispenser and rolls of tape

  11. Stapler, staples, staple remover

  12. Calculator (Texas Instruments TI-30X is a simple, inexpensive option; many of our kids are required to have TI-83 or higher calculators by high school – and these are NOT cheap)

  13. Graphing calculator for kids in Algebra or higher

  14. 3×5 index cards (colored & white but mostly white)

  15. Self-adhesive labels (for labeling folders)

  16. Self-adhesive index tabs (for dividing notebook sections)

  17. Rubber bands, “reinforcement sticky circles” (used for ripped holes in papers)

  18. Sticky notes — small rectangular & square

  19. Paper (lined, graph, plain)

  20. 3 hole punch

  21. Dictionary & thesaurus

  22. Clipboard

  23. Plastic basket to store everything

Personal Applications for your Home Study Space

  1. Find the best place for you to study at home. Be sure you have good light and a sturdy surface to write on.

  2. As you use your home study space, keep your study supplies in one place. Eliminate excuses for not getting work done. Have everything that you need where you can find it.

What you need in your office

Having your office ready with the right supplies is necessary for your success. Make it a daily practice to keep your supplies in proper order. Here are a few steps to stay in order:

Personal Applications for your Home Study Supplies

  1. Review your list of supplies included in this post. If you’re the student, ask your parent to take you shopping for the items you are missing.

  2. When you get home, decide where you want to keep your study supplies.

  3. Put your study supplies in a portable container.

We recommend engaging your student in this process to provide ownership which often increases success.

What you need On-The-Go

Short study bursts are effective and a great way to fill time while driving between games, lessons or to the store. Keep a small container under a seat, in the car, or in the glove box so you can study while you are on the go.

Personal Applications for your On-The-Go Supplies

  1. Prepare an on-the-go study kit and keep it in our car.

  2. A suggested list of supplies includes: a. Sharpened pencils b. Pens c. 3×5 cards d. Lined paper e. Portable desk or clipboard

  3. Have a short study session the next time you drive in your car. Study five vocabulary words. Memorize one math formula.

On The Go Supply List

  1. Portable lap desk

  2. Clipboard

  3. Small book bag

  4. Pencil box or pencil pouch

  5. Sharp pencils/pens

  6. Lined paper

  7. 3×5 cards

NOTE: Check to see what homework needs to be done before you leave the house and grab the necessary supplies from your home basket. Just make sure you put those supplies back when you get home.

What You Need In Your Backpack

The movement of material from your home to school and back again is important. Most students use a backpack to do this. The backpack, just like your home, needs to be organized and equipped with the right supplies.

Backpack/School Supplies

  1. Sturdy zip-up backpack OR book bag with adequate closing mechanism

AND one of the following:

  1. 3 ring zip-up binder or a basic 3 ring binder (you can also have 1 binder for A day & 1 binder for B day:

  2. 2 pocket folders (1 for each solid class) — try to find plastic folders with two pockets. The are more durable.

  3. Sturdy cloth zipper pouch

  4. Pencils, pens, highlighter

  5. Calculator

  6. Sticky notes

  7. Extra labels

  8. Colored pencils

  9. Check with teachers for other supplies–only stock what is necessary for school


  1. Accordion folder or briefcase (this is my least favorite method if a student has trouble staying organized)

  2. Writing utensils go in front pocket

  3. Paper goes in back pocket

  4. Label the pockets as necessary (ask teacher)


  1. 1 inch binder for each class

  2. Make sure it has 2 built-in pockets

  3. Divide it up according to how the teacher wants it


  1. 5 subject spiral notebook (or individual subject notebooks) — Make sure they have pockets in them

There are many great tips for creating success in your back to school transition. For more resources and tips for back to school, click here.

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