With 25 little ones in your classroom each day, staying organized isn’t always easy. Books are laying on the classroom library shelves, center pieces are on the floor, and your desk is cluttered with stacks of paper. Use these tools for classroom organization to make sure there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place.
Top Resources for Classroom Organization
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School budget orders are due soon. At my school, I get $100 a year from the district and $125 from our home-school association to spend on supplies. I almost always spend my money on items for classroom organization. I love having a neat and organized classroom where my students and I always know where everything is located.
These are some of the products I’ve invested in over the years (or I’m purchasing this year) that keep me from being a disorganized mess. I can’t survive without them!
#1 – Book Boxes
Since my district moved to Lucy Calkins Units of Study for reading, book boxes are a necessity. Reading workshop requires my students to have several books at all times. The book boxes keep them organized and hold everything they need.
- At least 3 books
- A reading workshop folder
- A reading log
That way they can stay in one place for the entire 30 minutes of reading workshop.
My first few years of doing reading workshop, I bought cardboard book boxes. They were less expensive, and I allowed my students to decorate them and take them home at the end of the year. However, a few months into the school year, they were falling apart. Plus, buying them every year proved to be more expensive than buying good quality book boxes.
Finally, I gave in and spent the money for these plastic book boxes. I’ve had them for five years now, and they are still in great shape! These were definitely one of the best investments I’ve ever made for classroom organization.
#2 – Clipboard Organizer
My students use clipboards for everything!
- Task cards
- Partner reading around the room
- Writing workshop
- Unlock the Box Mysteries
I used to store the clipboards in baskets on the side of the room. However, they didn’t fit very well. They fell out all over the place, and it drove me crazy!
This double clipboard stand is the perfect place to store all of the clipboards. My students can get them and return them when needed. An added bonus is that this organizer can also be used for whiteboards. I just might have to get a second one to organize those.
*Helpful Hint: Stock up on clipboards at the Dollar Tree. They even have some with pretty colors and cute designs.
#3 – Hanging Center Organizer
One of my biggest organizational issues has always been keeping my centers organized. I put them out for my guided math groups, and inevitably pieces always get lost. That’s why I invested in these hang-up totes and sturdy rack. It fits perfectly on my windowsill and is easily accessible to all my students during centers.
All the materials my students need are inside the bag. They take it to their table, do the activity, and put everything right back into the bag. This organizer has significantly cut down on missing center pieces.
#4 – Classroom Papers Organizer
I like to spend my special on Friday making copies for the following week. The only problem is that I have to put them somewhere until I need them. In my early teaching years, there were many times when I set a stack of papers somewhere and couldn’t find it when I needed it.
This classroom papers organizer solved that problem. It has a shelf for each day of the week. Papers I need on Monday go on the top shelf. That way, Monday morning all I have to do is grab the stack, and I’m set for the day.
This is also great if you need a last-minute substitute. Everything is ready. Just type your sub plans at home and have a colleague print them out and grab the stack of papers. Your sub is good to go.
I’ve also created a 5-Step End of the Day Organizational Checklist. I have it laminated on the side of my desk, and before I leave school each day, I make sure 5 things are done. That results in a stress-free morning. Be sure to download the checklist at the bottom of this post. You can edit it to include your 5 important things to do at the end of each day.
#5 – Student Mailboxes
In addition to finding a good place to organize my papers, I also needed somewhere to organize my students’ papers. Returning corrected math homework, distributing picture forms, and sending home newsletters always took forever. Plus, the papers would end up on the floor or shoved in my students’ desks.
This classroom mail center is one of my favorite organizers in my classroom. In the morning, I put all the papers my students need to take home, including their math homework, in their mailboxes. At the end of the day when we’re packing, they get their mail, add it to their folders, and it actually makes it home.
#6 – Earbud Park-and-Store Pocket Chart
This is another item that is added to my budget request for this year. My school district supplies earbuds for each student at the beginning of the year to use with their Chromebooks. Those earbuds get shoved in their desks and 50% of them are broken by the end of the first month.
I need a better way to organize them, and this park-and-store pocket chart seems like the perfect solution. Each student will keep the earbuds in a pocket, and that way they won’t get all tangled and stuck on things in their desks. I may also keep my students’ password cards in these pockets so they don’t get lost.
#7 – Rolling Learning Center
This active learning center was actually a Christmas present from my mom several years ago. Is it weird that I ask Santa for school supplies?
I had so many materials for my Daily 5 centers, and I didn’t have anywhere to store them. The baskets in this learning center were perfect! I kept paper, pencils, and crayons for work on writing in one basket. Headphones and CDs for my listening center were in another basket. Magnetic letters were in a third basket for word study. An added bonus is that the front of this card is a magnetic whiteboard. My students just stayed right there for their word study center.
Now, we’ve moved away from Daily 5, but this learning center still provides tons of storage. Plus, the top of it is a perfect location for my document camera.
#8 – 10-Drawer Rolling Organizer
My teammate across the hall has one of these 10-Drawer Rolling Organizers. She uses it to store all the different math manipulatives her students need. I love the way it looks and how organized it keeps the supplies.
Right now, my problem is that I don’t have space for it in my classroom. However, as soon as I clear an area, this will be my next purchase.
#9 – Poster and Chart Folders
Since we started reading workshop this year, I have so many anchor charts that go along with the Lucy Calkins lessons. I don’t want to throw them away and remake them every year. These poster and chart folders are just what I need.
They will keep the chart papers in order and prevent them from getting bent. Since the set comes with 6 folders, I’ll even be able to organize them by reading unit and have a few left over for writing charts.
#10 – Desktop Organizer
I have to admit that my desk used to be one of the messiest parts of my classroom. There were piles of papers everywhere! Then, I bought a desktop organizer, and my desk stays much neater.
The one I have is larger than this one from Really Good Stuff. However, sometimes I wish mine was smaller. It makes it hard to see my students if I’m sitting at my desk. I don’t sit very often, though, so it’s not a huge issue.
What I love about this desktop organizer is that there are different sections for all your papers. Put your grading in one section, substitute information in a second, and papers to copy in a third. Plus, the shelf on top is perfect for storing your stapler, tape, and other office supplies. This will protect your desk from becoming cluttered!
Bonus: Desktop Prop-and-Park Tray for Your Students
Now that your desk is organized, help your students keep their desks organized, too. These desktop prop-and-park trays stick to the top of your students’ desks and hold their pencils, erasers, and even water bottles. I don’t know about you, but pencils and water bottles are constantly rolling around my classroom floor!
I haven’t invested in these yet, but they’re definitely on my must-have list.
An Organized Classroom
All of these organizational supplies help to keep me (and my students) organized. I’m a lot less stressed when I know where everything is and I don’t have to search for things.
Don’t forget to scroll down to download my 5-Step End of the Day Organization Checklist. Doing just 5 things before leaving school at the end of the day can make your mornings so much less stressful.
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What Do You Think?
How do you keep your classroom organized?
Let me know in the comments below.
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Plus, get this 5-Step Organization Checklist. By doing these 5 things at the end of the day, your mornings will be stress-free!