When I think of my struggles and frustrations from my first few years in the classroom, many of it revolved around all of the materials and resources I was accumulating and where the heck it was all supposed to go. I tend to get behind and bogged down during the year and just throw things in places for a quick fix. Then I spend way too much time in the summer trying to organize everything while also vowing to never do it again. I spend so much of my Back to School time organizing and cleaning from the previous year, and don’t spend enough time doing things that I feel like will help me make the next year better. I’ve learned a few things: I need my storage to be super affordable because I will have excuses and not buy something even if it will make everything so much better; and I need it to be a super easy to use system otherwise I won’t keep up with it once I’m in the middle of things during the year. Hopefully these quick and easy organizational tips will help you keep up with your neverending piles of “stuff” especially during this crazy Back to School season.
Coupon organizers are great storage for task cards. They have dividers so you can sort by skill. Or, you can have students store things in there and use the dividers to identify which cards they’ve finished and which they have not. It’s perfect for fast finisher activities if you use it that way. Or, you an use them to store sight word cards that students can sort known and unknown words into.
It seems that nearly every classroom has one of these toolboxes in them at this point. But, if you’ve been a hold out, take another look. These are the perfect storage solution for all of those little things that get stored and lost in your desk. My building doesn’t provide desks but gives a movable podium with 5 super little shelves in it (which you can’t pull out therefore you can’t see what’s on the shelf). I literally would never find a paperclip or a new strip of staples if I didn’t have this toolbox behind my desk. You can see the specifics on this toolbox itself, and grab my labels for free, by heading over to this post.
Photo albums from Dollar Tree are another favorite of mine. I hope these never go away due to digital photo technology because I use them in several ways in my classroom. Or, maybe I should stock up now. Especially for just $1 a piece.
I use them in my Word Work bins to store weekly spelling lists. I print them 4 to a page and then keep 4 albums in my bin. The size fits easily inside the album and students can then quickly see both current and past words. For more Word Work ideas, you can read my post here.
I also use these photo albums to store my punch out letters that I’ve bought from the teacher store. I took out the front and back cover so that I can see exactly which one is in it. Because they don’t have quite enough pages, I store some of my lesser used letters (like x and v) together. It took a bit of time to get them in there, but it’s so much easier to find letters now and I actually return them to this spot.
I also buy these little round food containers from Dollar Tree and use them to store so many things in my classroom. I originally tried storing my borders by clipping them on a binder clip and then hanging them in a closet. It worked at first. But then every time I wanted a set, others would fall off on the clip. Or if I bumped it, they’d fall. These stack so nicely, I can see exactly which one to grab, and I can store a border for like 20 cents. I’ve also heard people using frosting containers, but I love that I can see what’s in these.
To help you make your Back to School time even easier, I’d also like to give away a $25 gift cart to TpT! Enter below using the Rafflecopter and then check out the awesome posts by a few of my friends, and enter to win their gift cards too! We’ll announce the winners soon so that you can use those gift cards during the 1 Day Sale on Monday!