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December 4, 2015

Classroom Storage Tips: Make the Most of Tight Spaces

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    My classroom looks inviting and cozy to all who enter. Everything has its place. I have been on a mission this year to stay organized in my classroom. To be honest, this is an ongoing process for me because normally I would just put things in piles, put the piles into storage containers, and hope to get to them later. Out of sight, out of mind! I would promise myself that I would find an afternoon when I could go through these items and decide what to keep and what to throw away. But ever since I organized the teacher’s closet in my classroom, I have been making sure that materials return to their proper place.

    Along my journey to stay organized, my focus has been directed to the issues of space and storage. I have long since given up the big, bulky, traditional teacher’s desk. With the additional space, I was able to make room for my reading nooks. My work area (which I normally use to grade papers and finish up classwork) also serves as a conference table for small group instruction. I deliberately sit near the window so that I can use the ledge as a shelf. So without even realizing it, I was finding solutions to my storage issues. Here’s a few that I would like to share with you that are working well in my room.

     

    Making the Most of Tight Spaces

      

    Window Shelf

     

    Milk Crate Storage

    Milk crates definitely have a home in my classroom. They are present in the classroom library and are used as bookcases. But now, I have found a new use for them. Rather than just throwing materials on top of my cabinets, I can place them in neat milk crates. I could go above and beyond by decorating the crates with fabric as well as labeling them. But for right now I am keeping it simple.

     

     

    Student Supply Bins

    I know that this is not a new concept; bins have been around for a long time. But I found a new use when I was looking for a solution to a problem. I had an overabundance of school supplies in September and needed a place to put them. I was able to procure desktop storage bins for desk groupings. Each bin has highlighters, glue sticks, sticky notes, crayons, magic markers, scissors, and colored pencils.  Added benefit: students know that materials are at their fingertips, which saves valuable instruction time.

     

     

    Hanging Storage

    This idea was born from necessity. I have various sized colored templates that I use to label areas in the classroom. At first, I placed them by size in a resealable bag and put them away in a drawer. Whenever I needed to use the labels, I would scavenge through all of the items until I found the one I needed. I decided there had to be an easier way. I had one extra-large baggie that was too large to fit inside the cabinet drawers. It occurred to me if laying the templates flat was a problem, why not hang them using the resealable bag? I took a pair of pant hangers, clipped the bag onto the hanger, and placed in it the closet. It is easy to access and it does not take up a lot of room.



    Wall Folders

    I am borrowing this idea from one of my colleagues, Michelle Burlew, so I can't take credit for this one. She uses the outside of her closet door as a file folder holder. Expanding folders are attached to the closet door and are used to store work for her students. Cool, right? I wonder if the same idea could be used for the inside of the closet or cabinet door. I am placing this project on my list to try out.

     

    Pearls of Wisdom — Remember to take a moment for yourself during the day and breathe. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. Think about creating a daily Zen moment in your class for you and your students to help create a sense of calm especially during the hectic holiday season.

    Do you have any storage tips that work in your classroom? If so, please share! I love sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    Speaking of sharing... I would like to share a special savings from The Scholastic Store. Just use the promo code in the coupon below for great savings!

     

    My classroom looks inviting and cozy to all who enter. Everything has its place. I have been on a mission this year to stay organized in my classroom. To be honest, this is an ongoing process for me because normally I would just put things in piles, put the piles into storage containers, and hope to get to them later. Out of sight, out of mind! I would promise myself that I would find an afternoon when I could go through these items and decide what to keep and what to throw away. But ever since I organized the teacher’s closet in my classroom, I have been making sure that materials return to their proper place.

    Along my journey to stay organized, my focus has been directed to the issues of space and storage. I have long since given up the big, bulky, traditional teacher’s desk. With the additional space, I was able to make room for my reading nooks. My work area (which I normally use to grade papers and finish up classwork) also serves as a conference table for small group instruction. I deliberately sit near the window so that I can use the ledge as a shelf. So without even realizing it, I was finding solutions to my storage issues. Here’s a few that I would like to share with you that are working well in my room.

     

    Making the Most of Tight Spaces

      

    Window Shelf

     

    Milk Crate Storage

    Milk crates definitely have a home in my classroom. They are present in the classroom library and are used as bookcases. But now, I have found a new use for them. Rather than just throwing materials on top of my cabinets, I can place them in neat milk crates. I could go above and beyond by decorating the crates with fabric as well as labeling them. But for right now I am keeping it simple.

     

     

    Student Supply Bins

    I know that this is not a new concept; bins have been around for a long time. But I found a new use when I was looking for a solution to a problem. I had an overabundance of school supplies in September and needed a place to put them. I was able to procure desktop storage bins for desk groupings. Each bin has highlighters, glue sticks, sticky notes, crayons, magic markers, scissors, and colored pencils.  Added benefit: students know that materials are at their fingertips, which saves valuable instruction time.

     

     

    Hanging Storage

    This idea was born from necessity. I have various sized colored templates that I use to label areas in the classroom. At first, I placed them by size in a resealable bag and put them away in a drawer. Whenever I needed to use the labels, I would scavenge through all of the items until I found the one I needed. I decided there had to be an easier way. I had one extra-large baggie that was too large to fit inside the cabinet drawers. It occurred to me if laying the templates flat was a problem, why not hang them using the resealable bag? I took a pair of pant hangers, clipped the bag onto the hanger, and placed in it the closet. It is easy to access and it does not take up a lot of room.



    Wall Folders

    I am borrowing this idea from one of my colleagues, Michelle Burlew, so I can't take credit for this one. She uses the outside of her closet door as a file folder holder. Expanding folders are attached to the closet door and are used to store work for her students. Cool, right? I wonder if the same idea could be used for the inside of the closet or cabinet door. I am placing this project on my list to try out.

     

    Pearls of Wisdom — Remember to take a moment for yourself during the day and breathe. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. Think about creating a daily Zen moment in your class for you and your students to help create a sense of calm especially during the hectic holiday season.

    Do you have any storage tips that work in your classroom? If so, please share! I love sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    Speaking of sharing... I would like to share a special savings from The Scholastic Store. Just use the promo code in the coupon below for great savings!

     

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