Classroom Organization Tips From A Professional Organizer

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. classroom organization kids can organize

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.classroom organization label everything

classroom organization before and after 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!)

classroom organization tips From a professional organizer

 

What are some of your best organization tips for the classroom? Share with your fellow teachers down in the comments!

 


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7 Comments

  1. D. Mak on May 25, 2022 at 5:05 am

    Did you buy all the containers before doing the work???

  2. Dr. M. Young on August 20, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Great ideas and process! Very helpful for new teachers as well! Thank you for sharing

    • lfanning on August 20, 2021 at 11:34 am

      Thanks for reading! We’re glad it was helpful!

  3. Sarah on August 19, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    Do you come to other classrooms? I can organize and am very good at it, but I still need help. 🙂

    • lfanning on August 20, 2021 at 11:33 am

      Everybody needs a buddy when it comes to organizing. Tara is based in the Southern part of the US. Feel free to contact her if you’re in her neck of the woods (@House.Peace on Instagram)!

  4. Kallie on August 17, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I recently did this and was super proud of how it turned out. I’m unfortunately that teacher that gets moved around every year or even within the same year. I have in turn collected so many things that it could be considered hoarding. I never know what grade I’ll teach so I try to keep a few things from each grade but it’s gotten a bit overwhelming. A positive from the vivid year is that each student on campus was given a stackable plastic drawer to put their items in when we returned from virtual only to both last year. Fast forward to this year everything has gone back to normal 😩 so the drawers aren’t going to be us by students anymore so I took them clean them and started labeling and organizing all my things in them. Now I can just stack my belongs up and move out. Now if someone can teach me how to organize papers I will be great

    • lfanning on August 20, 2021 at 11:32 am

      Funny you should mention it – we just posted something about organizing papers digitally. It won’t solve the stacks on your desk (believe me, I know), but it might help you get them wrangled. Check it out here!

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