An Artfully Organized Grandma!

by Kaye Swain

PInterest is a grand resource for the Sandwich GenerationHave you visited Pinterest yet? It's a fun site with so many great ideas and I'm enjoying adding to my "libraries" of ideas for such things as Sandwich Generation issues, grandparents and grandkids ideas, caring for aging parents, holiday fun, and more.

With school starting for our kids and grandkids, I've noticed a lot of great organizing ideas there, as well as at various homeschooling blogs I visited this past week. I'm especially enthralled with all the lovely, and very organized, work areas for kids and grandkids' school supplies, books, etc. In the lovely photos, you'll see a place for everything and everything in its place. Sadly, my brain rarely works that neatly. And even if it did, the Sandwich Generation issues I deal with on a daily basis don't really  "play nice" with those wonderful systems.

On any given day, you might find me working with grandkids at my house, their house, or at one of a couple of different homeschool coops. BUT I DO have a fairly organized system for our various art projects we are working on. It's been a big help for keeping me organized and on task AND it goes with me everywhere. Thus, I thought I'd share it with you in case you have similar needs.

This Sandwich Generation granny nanny LOVES these types of totes for organizing

I bought a nice medium-sized tote with handles on the side. I used Ziplok bags to bag up each type of item we are using such as:

  • glue
  • regular pencils
  • artist pencils and oil pastels
  • Crayola washable markers
  • paint pots
  • paint trays (VERY messy, I might add – I've buried those in the bottom, just for emergencies :) )
  • colored tissue paper
  • Purell and baby wipes (aren't those the handiest things!)

I put them all in the tote, along with their drawing paper (too big for my bags), any books we are using, homework notes, etc. 

This artfully organized Sandwich Generation grandmother has paint brushes in one baggie and cleaning supplies - purell and baby wipes - in another

Crayola washable markers - colored pencils - scissors - this grandma has each in their own big bags

I bagged some specialty items - like these pastels and artist pencils - together

When we are working at one of our homes or a class coop, I just pull out the items I need, and I'm ready. Sometimes I have to dig a bit (I tried alphabetizing it all but decided it wasn't worth it). Having them all in the bags makes it much easier to sort and find items AND keeps everything tidier.

After each project or class, I just gather it all up, toss them into the tote willy nilly, and make sure I tidy and rebag it all later when there are fewer distractions and less supervision needed.  I just need to clean it BEFORE the next time I need it. :)

I do have to be sure I get all their work papers and books back into the tote immediately each time we work so I don't repeat my first week when I left their workpapers for a class at my home and didn't have them for their coop class!

This Sandwich Generation grandmother and caregiver does get lots of interruptions so I have to be sure to put things away ASAP before I forget

Overall, though, this has been a big help and I've enjoyed having everything ready and easy to find each time we have an opportunity to work, no matter where we are. I'm going to have to set some more of these up for some of our easy crafts projects we love! How about you? Do you have any great organizational tips for all of us in the Sandwich Generation? And/or are you on Pinterest? We'd love to hear!  And, if you'd like to find other grandparents online, check out GRAND Social and Grandparents Say It Saturday. Also…

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P.S. Thank you so much for your comments. I enjoy them very much and read each one. I also love the grand ideas so many of you share that help and encourage other readers. Thank you.