Tuesday Tip: “Back to School” Organization for Teachers
It’s that time of year again! When parents scream, “YES! Summer vacation is over!” and teachers scream, “NO! Summer vacation is over!” Today I wanted to share some organization tips for teachers. Thanks to two of my best friends who are (amazing) elementary school teachers, I’ve come up with three types of suggestions for storing student’s supplies: (1) for individualized but centralized storage, (2) for community/shared supplies storage, and (3) a way to collect the supplies the students (are supposed to) show up with on the first day.
FOR INDIVIDUALIZED BUT CENTRALIZED STORAGE.
This is a great storage solution if your students have and only use their own supplies, but you want to keep them in one place, neat and tidy. Another bonus is that it’s got wheels, so you can easily move it about your classroom. I know teachers are on a budget and often have to pay for their own materials, so I’ve done some research regarding pricing so you don’t have to! Many websites sell this set. Depending on your location, brand preferences, discount opportunities, or shipping preferences, here are some options:
- Teacher Heaven: Item number ELR011AS – $170.00 – http://bit.ly/1pBwflw
- Amazon: Item number B000HFEM5M – $80.06 – http://amzn.to/X0fwPu
- Walmart: Item number ELR-011-WH – $74.34 – http://bit.ly/1stm44B
While the initial cost may seem high, it is certainly worth it if you consider you are using it for about 40 weeks. If you buy the set from Walmart for $74.34 (not including shipping and handling) and use it for a whole school year, you are only paying about $0.25 for each day of use! If have more than 20 students in your class, there are also 10-drawer versions of the same multi-color set that you can add on. If you don’t like multi-color, the set also comes in black or white (depending on where you purchase it from. Extra tips! For increased organization, try the following:
- Label each bin with removable labels like the ones to the left: http://amzn.to/1opxNep This way, come next school year and your new set of kids, you don’t have to worry about leftover sticker residue! They come in packs of 200 for as low as $10, so you’re good to go for a while!
- You don’t want their supplies jumbled up, so separate them with these bins from the dollar store to the right: http://bit.ly/XBZprl Head to your local Dollar Tree to buy different shapes, sizes, and textures to fit crayons, glue, and other supplies. You can even order in bulk online.
FOR COMMUNITY STORAGE. If you keep all the glues, crayons, markers, tissues and popsicle sticks in one place for all your students, this great system from The Container Store is on sale. Colorful drawer inserts are also on sale! Of course, you don’t have to go with these exact products. Your local dollar store probably has some great compartment storing options like the one I previously mentioned. Here are some compartment organizers also on sale at The Container Store that I like: Smart Store 4-Compartment Tray, Tall Smart Store Inserts, Medium Smart Store Inserts. Stores like Walmart and Target also sell clear plastic storage bins. If they aren’t the kind that are made to stack, make sure you get a thick, double sided adhesive to keep them together.
Extra tip! Label the drawers with fun chalk labels that the kids write themselves. You buy 40 chalk labels for as low as $10 here: http://amzn.to/1qVV2on and get their creativity flow going! (You can use any extra labels for your home, too. Label your spice jars while you’re at it!)
FOR FIRST DAY COLLECTION Each student usually has a list of supplies they are supposed to bring on the first day of school. If you are going to collect them all in order to put them in a community type storage, here’s an easy way to get them sorted that has an extra bonus at the end of the year – bankers boxes! Here are the reasons why:
Bankers boxes are easily put together and taken apart (no tools necessary), they are easy to store when they are folded down, and you can use them again at the end of the year to store your classroom items when you leave for summer vacation! On the first day, line up the boxes in your classroom and have each student go up to the boxes and sort their items in the appropriate box. You can label your bankers boxes with the same removable sticker labels or chalk labels I previously mentioned, or even just type, print, and tape a piece of paper to each box. You can buy a set of 10 bankers boxes for as low as $18 from Staples: http://bit.ly/1nqvTtH. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can wrap the bankers box in fabric or wrapping paper like the ones seen below. Keep in mind though, if you choose to do this you will have to remove the wrapping before disassembling the box for storage during the school year. Alternatively, you could keep the boxes wrapped and assembled and use them for storing various projects your students complete throughout the school year.
I hope this post was helpful! Of course, the sky is the limit as far as creativity and these tips are not only for teachers. The 20-drawer mobile storage could also be used at home for makeup or art supplies, the stackable plastic drawers could be used for scrapbooking supplies or clothes, and bankers boxes are useful for storing important paperwork. Please comment below if you have any other suggestions, ideas, or comments regarding back to school organization!