One thing you all ask for more of is just a simple update or check-in on past organizing projects, and how they have maintained or held up. I have been thinking a lot about how we tend to blog about our projects instantly as we do them, whether it be DIY or organization, and we may really love something right after it is complete, but find ourselves changing things down the road for various reasons. Knowing that, I would like to be better about either waiting to post about something until we have lived with it for a short while and worked out any kinks, or just be sure to be better about following up on things as they evolve or change over time.
When I posted about my all-time favorite organizing tips, I received a lot of emails about our docking/charging station. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do another post for anyone newer around here, or for those wondering how it has worked for us over the years.
We have a cabinet located in a sideboard in our dining area that we dedicate to all things technology and school. I am a really big fan of creating zones in our home dedicated to specific tasks, and because we go through schedules and homework and do school-related projects at our dining table, this cabinet has been so very valuable and handy to us over the years.
This is one of those projects where I can honestly say, that other than some supplies, not much has changed in what we keep here or how we utilize the original systems in place. That makes this a true thumbs up of a project that has remained extremely useful as our boys have gone through elementary, middle, and now high school.
Before diving into the specifics of the cabinet, a key partner to the setup is the drawer located just above, which I stock with fresh supplies at the beginning of each school year.
This drawer typically contains erasers, paperclips, Post-its, stapler, scissors, pens, rubber bands, color pencils, page flags, a ruler, hole punch, pencils, sharpener, glue, and tape.
These are items that seem to be required to accomplish the majority of their homework and projects.
Now, back to the cabinet…
We built a paper sorting inbox for the kids to manage any necessary school paperwork: newsletters, calendars, details about extracurriculars and athletics, lunch menus, etc… (find the paper sorter DIY tutorial here.) Once a week I just go through each slot and recycle anything that is no longer relevant. Because it is currently summer break, we only have a few college (!) related materials that we need to keep track of.
I received a lot of source questions specifically about the tiered charging station. I love this thing, and would you be surprised to know I just purchased an office file organizer? Yep! Which means you really can use it to file paperwork and charge your electronics if you wish! All in one very handy spot!
There is an outlet in this cabinet that allowed us to feed cords into the sorting tray and run them into each divided compartment through an opening in the back (we used a USB strip to cut down on bulky bricks). The tray is wide enough we can fit 2-3 phones in a single slot.
Most importantly, we try to keep bedrooms tech-free at bedtime, so this setup allows the boys to charge their devices in a single spot overnight. The tray is able to accommodate Chromebooks, Bluetooth accessories (keyboard/headphones/battery cells), tablets, and phones. We found that some of the universal cords also work to charge a variety of other small household electronics/devices out of sight as well, which is just a happy bonus.
(I used my label maker to label each tier of the organizer, you can find all of those details in this post here.)
Because we quickly realized that there are times the kids still need a charge during the day or while they are traveling, we store some spare bricks and cords in the cabinet as well.
Quick Tip: I have used a lot of ties and cord wranglers over the years, and have learned that rubber bands and/or hair ties easily and inexpensively do the trick just as well as anything.
Lastly, we have accrued quite a few random colored pencils and markers over the years, so they all get tossed in some lidded bins that can easily be transported to desks or the table as needed.
And that is it, not complicated but really useful. I think the tiered paper organizer works so well due to its overall size and narrow slots, which is something to keep in mind if you are looking for alternative trays/organizers to do a similar task. And if you don’t have Chromebooks but are searching for a similar charging option, this docking station appears to be something that can hold quite a few tablets/devices as well. Either way, it’s always great when you can “take charge” of the technology situation!