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March 6, 2017

5 Classroom Storage and Organization Tips

By Tiffani Mugurussa
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    As a busy classroom teacher, I am always looking for or creating solutions to everyday time-wasting situations in my kindergarten classroom. I need practical storage and organizational ideas that are easy to implement. My time is valuable; I can’t afford to waste a second searching for materials and supplies.

    Today I have five storage and organizational tips to share. These ideas have all helped to make my classroom run a little more smoothly.

    1. Floor Puzzle Storage

    After several years of use, I found that the boxes of large floor puzzles tend to become weak, torn, and somewhat destroyed. I needed a better system to store them. I also needed a way for the system to contain the pieces and still allow me to stack everything neat and tidy. I made a trip to our local dollar store and found containers that would fit the pieces for my large floor puzzles. I saved just the tops of each box for the students to use as a reference when building the puzzles. Next, I created labels for the front of each container. This helps me identify what is inside each container when they are stacked inside my cabinet. The new puzzle storage actually takes up less space than the large oversized puzzle boxes. For me it’s a win-win — everything is organized and I have more space.

    2. Binder Clips

    When it comes to securing a stack of papers together, I prefer binder clips over paperclips. Binder clips have come a long way from the plain boring black kind. You can now buy colorful fun ones prints or sayings or if you prefer, you can make your own with washi tape or labels.

    Having a variety of binder clips can be especially useful if you use a color-coded system in your classroom. For example, all of your math papers could be clipped with blue clips and science resources with green.  Then, when searching for something, it’s easy to identify subject matter resources by the color of their binder clips. This same method could be applied should you choose to create your own using washi tape.

    Binder clips can be useful in many other ways too. I use a binder clip to hold my laptop power cord in place at my teaching station. This prevents the cord from falling down to the floor and keeps it right where I need it so my laptop can be charged and ready to go.

    As a kindergarten teacher, not a day goes by that I don’t find myself having to cut things out. Many times, I am having to cut out multiple stacks of the same items. Binder clips are perfect for this task. By attaching binder clips to the sides of the papers to secure from shifting, I can quickly snip off the edges. This saves me so much time!

    3. Big Book Storage

    I currently own over 100 big books. Having this many is a blessing and a curse, especially when it comes to  handling the management of them all. Finding a storage solution that also allows me to have easy access to them has been quite a challenge. I wanted my students to have access to them as well. They really do enjoy reading the big books. My solution is rectangular laundry baskets. The books fit into the laundry baskets nicely and the students are able to pull out a book to read, and then put it back when they are finished. I rotate the books within the basket that is kept near our classroom rug and keep the other baskets and books in storage. I also keep a bucket of reading pointers nearby because we all know how much kindergartners love to use pointers when they read.

    4. Library Book Browsing

    To keep my library organized I have created a system that is very simple for my students to use. Each student is given a shelf marker. I make them using paint sticks that I spray painted with chalkboard paint. Then I write each student’s name with chalk markers.

    While looking for a book, students place their shelf marker into the book bin. When they are ready to return the book, they place the book back into the bin and retrieve their shelf marker. Now, if their shelf marker happens to fall out or if someone else removes it, it is not a problem! All of the books are labeled with a book box number and a corresponding photo. The shelf markers let me know who has a book and I can quickly tell by scanning the book tub labels what kind of books my students are interested in at the moment.

    Next year, I can erase the names off of the shelf markers and write the names of my new students.

    5. Ditch the File Cabinet

    For years I was a huge fan of the file cabinet. I had beautiful color-coded hanging file folders that were stuffed full of master copies. On top of the cabinet was a very large bin that read “TO BE FILED.” My biggest problem was I never had time to put those copies back into their hanging files.

    One day a friend showed me her system. All of the master copies were in plastic sleeves organized in binders. Being a person who likes everything organized, I knew this was a system for me. What I love most about this is the convenience of it. Everything is within in reach. I no longer dig thorough endless files searching for a paper. Now I just pull out the binder, flip through to the page I need, and off to the copy machine I go.

    To make my planning time efficient, I keep sticky tabs in the front of each binder. I then tab the pages I need to copy, and then take the binders with me to the office. When I am done, I merely place the binders back on my shelf.

    I hope you have found some helpful ideas or some inspiration to try a new organizational technique. What tips do you have? I’m always looking for new ideas.

    As a busy classroom teacher, I am always looking for or creating solutions to everyday time-wasting situations in my kindergarten classroom. I need practical storage and organizational ideas that are easy to implement. My time is valuable; I can’t afford to waste a second searching for materials and supplies.

    Today I have five storage and organizational tips to share. These ideas have all helped to make my classroom run a little more smoothly.

    1. Floor Puzzle Storage

    After several years of use, I found that the boxes of large floor puzzles tend to become weak, torn, and somewhat destroyed. I needed a better system to store them. I also needed a way for the system to contain the pieces and still allow me to stack everything neat and tidy. I made a trip to our local dollar store and found containers that would fit the pieces for my large floor puzzles. I saved just the tops of each box for the students to use as a reference when building the puzzles. Next, I created labels for the front of each container. This helps me identify what is inside each container when they are stacked inside my cabinet. The new puzzle storage actually takes up less space than the large oversized puzzle boxes. For me it’s a win-win — everything is organized and I have more space.

    2. Binder Clips

    When it comes to securing a stack of papers together, I prefer binder clips over paperclips. Binder clips have come a long way from the plain boring black kind. You can now buy colorful fun ones prints or sayings or if you prefer, you can make your own with washi tape or labels.

    Having a variety of binder clips can be especially useful if you use a color-coded system in your classroom. For example, all of your math papers could be clipped with blue clips and science resources with green.  Then, when searching for something, it’s easy to identify subject matter resources by the color of their binder clips. This same method could be applied should you choose to create your own using washi tape.

    Binder clips can be useful in many other ways too. I use a binder clip to hold my laptop power cord in place at my teaching station. This prevents the cord from falling down to the floor and keeps it right where I need it so my laptop can be charged and ready to go.

    As a kindergarten teacher, not a day goes by that I don’t find myself having to cut things out. Many times, I am having to cut out multiple stacks of the same items. Binder clips are perfect for this task. By attaching binder clips to the sides of the papers to secure from shifting, I can quickly snip off the edges. This saves me so much time!

    3. Big Book Storage

    I currently own over 100 big books. Having this many is a blessing and a curse, especially when it comes to  handling the management of them all. Finding a storage solution that also allows me to have easy access to them has been quite a challenge. I wanted my students to have access to them as well. They really do enjoy reading the big books. My solution is rectangular laundry baskets. The books fit into the laundry baskets nicely and the students are able to pull out a book to read, and then put it back when they are finished. I rotate the books within the basket that is kept near our classroom rug and keep the other baskets and books in storage. I also keep a bucket of reading pointers nearby because we all know how much kindergartners love to use pointers when they read.

    4. Library Book Browsing

    To keep my library organized I have created a system that is very simple for my students to use. Each student is given a shelf marker. I make them using paint sticks that I spray painted with chalkboard paint. Then I write each student’s name with chalk markers.

    While looking for a book, students place their shelf marker into the book bin. When they are ready to return the book, they place the book back into the bin and retrieve their shelf marker. Now, if their shelf marker happens to fall out or if someone else removes it, it is not a problem! All of the books are labeled with a book box number and a corresponding photo. The shelf markers let me know who has a book and I can quickly tell by scanning the book tub labels what kind of books my students are interested in at the moment.

    Next year, I can erase the names off of the shelf markers and write the names of my new students.

    5. Ditch the File Cabinet

    For years I was a huge fan of the file cabinet. I had beautiful color-coded hanging file folders that were stuffed full of master copies. On top of the cabinet was a very large bin that read “TO BE FILED.” My biggest problem was I never had time to put those copies back into their hanging files.

    One day a friend showed me her system. All of the master copies were in plastic sleeves organized in binders. Being a person who likes everything organized, I knew this was a system for me. What I love most about this is the convenience of it. Everything is within in reach. I no longer dig thorough endless files searching for a paper. Now I just pull out the binder, flip through to the page I need, and off to the copy machine I go.

    To make my planning time efficient, I keep sticky tabs in the front of each binder. I then tab the pages I need to copy, and then take the binders with me to the office. When I am done, I merely place the binders back on my shelf.

    I hope you have found some helpful ideas or some inspiration to try a new organizational technique. What tips do you have? I’m always looking for new ideas.

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