6 Tips for Classroom Organization

Hello friends, and happy summer, for those of you on break! I have been out for about a five weeks now and it’s been glorious! We took a trip to Florida and I’ve been spending a lot of time catching up with friends. I’m trying to relax as much as possible this summer, but work will be sprinkled in, of course! Which leads me to today’s blog post: “6 Tips for Classroom Organization.” We are not allowed into our school during the summer months, but I know many of you are. I have seen some teachers working in their rooms already this summer! I’m hoping that today’s post will help inspire you with your organization journey! Enjoy my top tips!

Let’s face it: containers are expensive! However, in my opinion, purchasing high-quality containers that will stand the test of time is a much better investment than purchasing cheap $1 containers that break after one year of use. I’ve been there and done that. Clear containers allow you and your students to see what’s inside. This allows everyone to find what they need quickly! Personally, my favorite containers are the following:

Sterilite Latch Boxes-I love these for storing curriculum supplies and recess toys. In terms of curriculum, I sort materials by skill and use the skinny latch boxes for skills I have a small amount of materials for. For recess toys, I use these to store puzzles, animal figures, markers, Play-Doh tools and more. They stack so easily and the lids are easy for little hands to take off and put on. *These boxes come in a variety of sizes and latch colors.
Sterilite 16 qt. Storage Boxes-These are also fantastic (and a much better price-point) for storing curriculum materials. I store heavier first grade skill content (think addition/subtraction, place value, sight words, etc) because I have many supplemental materials for them! *The lids on these boxes are white. Grab my skill tub labels by clicking the cover image below.
Sterilite Flip-Top Clear Boxes-These are great for manipulatives. I have a whole cabinet full of these and each container holds a different Math manipulative. The flip top lids are awesome! The Math manipulative labels are from Cara Carroll.
Iris File Boxes-These large boxes are great for placing hanging file folders housing materials inside of them. I use mine for holiday/theme materials. I have one for every month and place games, centers, art projects, etc…that pertain to the month inside.

Knowing how to organize your classroom materials can be overwhelming! Store like-items together so you can quickly find what you’re searching for. Keeping materials that focus on a specific skill together will make it simple for you to grab what you need when planning a lesson. Personally, I love having separate tubs for my holiday materials as well, so as a holiday or special day approaches, I can grab my tub and not forget to use what I have.

Label all the things! If you’re lucky enough to have cabinets in your room, stick labels on the outside of them so you’re not opening every single cabinet when searching for something. Label your bins. Label your student supplies. Hello, print-rich classroom! Use large and clear font so you can see what’s in your bins from afar. There are TONS of great labels in a variety of fonts, colors, and patterns on TPT.

Let’s face it: many teachers are hoarders! Hahaha! We just can’t pass up a good deal or something spotted on social media. At the moment, the purchase sounds great, but after it sits in a cabinet for 3 years, we regret ever buying it. Although it seems wild, purging your classroom every.single.year is well worth it and will make you feel so much better! Laying out everything you have and looking through it is a great strategy. I like to ask myself the “Have I used this in the past 2 years?” question. If the answer is “No,” it’s not going back into my container/cabinet. Making room for what you actually use will help you find things quickly and an added bonus is that you’ll most likely feel much less stressed! Clutter and excessive “stuff” can be overwhelming to many people.

Most schools have a “free table” in their lounge. Someone may want your purged items. *If you are the one putting the stuff on the table, you better not take anything! Garage sales, FB marketplace, and Ebay are great ideas in case you wish to make a few bucks off your items.

Digital vs. paper is definitely a personal choice! I’ve used binders, file folders, and bins. I am a combo of both. It’s great to reference a hard copy of something when I pull a skill or holiday bin. I am also a digital hoarder, so it’s difficult for me to remember what I have! Regardless of what you choose, having a digital backup is a great idea. Cloud services and/or external hard drives are fairly inexpensive and so worth it!

Not everyone is uber organized and that is perfectly fine! However, if you take small steps to work towards improving your organization, you’ll notice that it becomes habit. One small step you can take is to put items back shortly after use…This could be during the day while your students are working, during your plan time, or at the end of each day after students have left. I keep a bin on my back counter that’s labeled “to file” and it houses anything I couldn’t put away immediately. I try to empty it once a week.

I hope you found this post helpful! Happy Organizing!


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