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Classroom Organization Tips for the Frugal Teacher, Part 2

By Allie Magnuson on October 31, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K

In Classroom Organization Tips for the Frugal Teacher, Part 1, I gave you ideas for organizing teacher and student supplies. In this second installment, find out how to contain all those arts and crafts materials with clever reuses of standard materials and how to keep them from creating messes. Plus, check out my ideas for organizing your centers.






Arts and Crafts Materials:



Salt shakers sprinkle glitter lightly. Parmesan cheese cans — which have different-sized holes — are good for dispensing sequins. And one shake of a Tic-Tac container distributes a small amount of confetti.


Ketchup squeeze bottles control messy paint and colored sand.


Coffee cans and pencil boxes hold larger items like pom poms, foam letters, and watercolor sets, while plastic condiment cups with lids contain small items like wiggly eyes.


Spice jars are perfect for corralling a collection of beads or buttons.


Wide fried onion containers store craft sticks upright.


Wet wipes containers hold pipe cleaners, and keep yarn from unraveling while allowing it to be pulled through the opening.


  Center Materials:



For a maintenance-free, hands-on literacy center that allows students to be independent and creative, fill a sensory table with manipulatives like magnetic letters, sight words, game pieces, and small books.


In your math center, store worksheets, work mats, and game pieces inside manila envelopes, and flash cards in travel soap dishes with lids. Potato chip cans serve as simple storage for rulers, and swizzle sticks in a cup are perfect for tally counting.


Grab some matchboxes to use as specimen boxes for your science center, and then fill them up with rocks, shells, magnets, seeds, insects, tiny magnifying glasses, eyedroppers, and more.


Instead of dictating a theme, equip your dramatic play center in a way that encourages imagination. Hang clothes and costumes from a garment rack. Keep dolls and their clothes in laundry baskets. Put toy dishes and utensils in a dish drainer, and place things like cookbooks, telephones, cash registers, doctor and veterinarian sets, and stuffed animals on a bookshelf. Don't forget trays for paper lists, greeting cards, envelopes, and stickers.


Once you've got it all organized, sit back and enjoy a well-deserved break!

Comments (5)

Hi everyone - thanks for reading. I love the Crystal Light containers. Thanks for another idea!

Thank you for sharing some great ideas.

I love using the Crystal LIght containers. They can be used for lots of storage and center activities....easy to carry for little ones and the lids are easy to manipulate. I do word family activities with them.

What activities do you do for the word families and the Crystal Light containers? Always looking for ideas with word families...especially for Kinders.

I love all your frugal ideas, Allie! I think I will use some of your ideas in my own classroom.

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