Monday, May 27, 2013

Storage Organization

I tried to post this yesterday, but my internet was down... Oh, the joys of the Philippines...

This weekend was my last weekend here before I leave for the summer. I wanted to take advantage of my time and make sure I have everything in my classroom organized so that when I return at the end of July I won't have any messes to clean up and can jump right into the new school year with a fresh start. I spent many hours trying to clean out and organize all of my (two) storage cabinets. Because of the limited space, I tend to try and cram way too much into way too small of an area. At the start of the year, both were neatly organized, but as the year progressed, I began to haphazardly add things anywhere I could fit them just to get them out of sight. The result:

Overflowing plastic containers, piles of different types of paper, bags of art supplies, games and puzzles hidden in the far corners... It wasn't pretty. I headed over to Ace Hardware and stocked up on some more storage containers to try and make sense of everything I have. I started from the top and worked my way down, and now it is looking so much better!

My top shelf is now dedicated to all office supplies, each in their own closable container! Imagine that.

On the shelf below I added a stackable paper tray that has white copy paper, white cardstock, colored copy paper, and colored cardstock. I left the rest of the shelf empty because I am going to add a set of three drawers for my guided reading supplies (one drawer for each group) along with all of my other guided reading materials. My guided reading table is right in front of this cabinet, giving me easy access to everything I will need when working with my guided reading groups.

The third shelf is all of my construction paper (arranged by colored) and cartolina paper. Construction paper doesn't exist here (I shipped mine from the States because I couldn't live without it. What teacher could?) and instead everyone uses what is called cartolina. It is comparable to very thin posterboard and comes rolled up very tightly making it difficult to flatten. I am not a big fan of the stuff when it comes to craft projects, but it is perfect for anchor charts.

The fourth shelf is home to all of my art supplies. The shelves go back further than they appear; there's a second row of containers behind what is visible. I have a large stock of pipe cleaners and googly eyes, both not sold here either.

Underneath has all of my math manipulatives and games that are not currently in math stations. I sorted everything by topic (addition/subtraction, number sense, time, and so on). Below that I stored all of my Language Arts materials.

The last two shelves holds some bulletin board materials, holiday items (Easter eggs and witches cauldrons) and a lot of empty baskets and plastic containers. Who knew I had so much extra space!

Once I have the momentum going, it is hard for me to stop, so I moved on to my file cabinet next. I do not have easy access to a printer so I like to keep master copies of most worksheets so that I can make copies if and when needed. I did have separate folders for different subjects and themes, but it was difficult to find particular folders because I never knew what color I was looking for. That's when I had my AH-HA moment and decided to color code by subject. Yellow is Language Arts, green is Math, blue is Science/S.S., red is thematic units, and orange is miscellaneous papers such as assessments and homework assignments.

The bottom drawer holds my Homeroom File, student portfolios, and scrap paper (arranged by color). I also cleaned off the top of the filing cabinet. I have a magazine box for each day of the week where I can put everything I need for the day in one place. The colored folders in each box also correspond to the different subject areas.

I am so relieved to have one less thing to worry about next year when I return. The last two years, I started in new classrooms and had to spend the days leading up to the first day of school de-cluttering all of the things the old teachers left behind. I feel so much better knowing that when I come back at the end of July this year, I will be all set to go!

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