If you are a busy family like us, you often find yourselves driving here and there on a regular basis. Pick up the kids from school, take Billy to karate, take Suzy to soccer, Mitzi goes to piano, and so on and so forth. Often, the kids not involved get dragged along either because they are too young to stay alone, or you just don’t have time to take them home before the start of their sibling’s activities. But then they get BORED! (Say that to yourself in a whiney voice to get the full effect. I’m sure you have heard it before.)
Me: “Well, do your homework!”
Whiner: “I can’t….(whine, whine)….I don’t have a pencil.”
Me: “Don’t you have one in your backpack?”
Whiner: “No. I don’t know. Maybe. But it’s not sharpened.”
Me: “There must be one somewhere in this van!”
And then we…or rather, I…spend the next 20 minutes sifting through the van-clutter in search of a pencil with a point. I say “I” because seldom is the child eager to work on his or her homework.
I have come up with a solution. It’s not a stroke of brilliance nor do I assume it to be original, but it has helped us in these situations. Every year, on the new school year supply list is inevitably a pencil box. And every year, I buy a new one, despite the fact that we have several floating around in the house-clutter that could be re-used. (Chalk it up to back-to-school excitement.) I have taken one of these previously-used plastic boxes and filled it with school supplies to keep in the van. Pencils, pens, a glue stick, scissors, tape, and an assortment of crayons. I even added a pencil sharpener (not pictured) to solve the dilemma of broken pencil leads.
The boxes are roughly 8″ X 5″ and cost about $.50 during the back-to-school sales, or about three times that at other times of the year. Even if you don’t have kids, it would be a good idea to have something like this in your car. I can’t count the number of times I have pulled into the bank drive-thru lane and scrambled around looking for a pen. There have been times I have needed scissors in the car to cut off a tag or open a package. Other things you might want to keep in your box are a calculator, sticky notes, stamps, nail clippers, or whatever you think you might need.
We now have one in each van and these boxes have proven very useful. It’s really a simple idea, but I thought I would share it because it took my awhile to come up with it. Maybe someone else will find it useful, too.