Hi, my name is Tara and I love to organize. I have learned so much about organization and children from the teachers in my life, which means teachers have an extra special place in my heart.
This summer here in Birmingham, Alabama, a group of organizers and volunteers wanted to help a school and some teachers in need. I’d love to share that story while pointing out some of my favorite organizing tips.
We had over 25 volunteers including a bunch of kids (mine included!). That brings me to my first tip: kids can organize. In fact, when equipped with some bins and a label maker, kids actually love to organize. We had three girls ages 8, 9, and 12 work on several drawers of school supplies in the counselor's office and they nailed it.
The girls started by emptying the drawers, and this is my second tip: empty the space. It is nearly impossible to organize with stuff in place. Emptying the drawer (or cabinet, or shelf) provides a ton of clarity.
Third tip: sort like with like. Pencils with pencils, tape with tape.
Fourth: divide up the space with containers. In these drawers, the girls used some flexible drawer organizers to separate pencils, white-out, and other supplies. To create those divisions, I suggest baskets, small drawer units, shoe shelves, and lidded bins.
To top it all off and to increase the sustainability of the organization, label everything. It might seem crazy to label each divider, but not only will it help the counselor or teacher remember where things are, anyone can open the drawer and know where to find something or where to put something new. For labeling, I like to use clip-on labels for baskets and plastic label tape for my label-maker.
After the counselor’s drawers were finished, we got to work on her storage shelves. She keeps a stash of hygiene supplies and clothing for kids who need them. But, she inherited this office from someone else and the shelves were a disaster, simply from lack of time to deal with it. We took the organizing tips from the drawers and applied them here.
Now the counselor can see her inventory at a glance. She can find things quickly and she will also know when anyone category is getting low. No more accidental over-purchasing!
Our volunteers moved on to a new kindergarten teacher’s classroom. Here’s how we implemented those organizing tips! (And don’t forget that kids can organize!)
What are some of your best organization tips for the classroom? Share with your fellow teachers down in the comments!