What I am about to say might be a little divisive… I am over the Pinterest Perfect Classrooms. Classroom organization is more than just a pretty classroom! In order to create a clutter free classroom, you don’t need Pinterest perfection. You need classroom organization supplies that will actually help you get (and stay!) organized.
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If you are looking to spruce up your classroom organization, then this post will help you figure out what supplies and tools you need. You don’t need to run out and buy all the things to completely makeover or redecorate your classroom.
Instead, take time to really clean things out and organize your materials into themes. Everything in your classroom needs a home. This list will help you create homes for all of the various supplies you have in your classroom. Plus, if I link to another blog post be sure to check it out because I likely have more information on how to use that classroom organization supply.
Classroom Organization Supplies
These are the top-of-the-list classroom organization supplies I’d suggest you add to your Amazon shopping cart to help get more organized.
The biggest rule to being organized is to make sure everything in your classroom has a home. Organizing bins are the “homes” you give all the things in your classroom. Bins of all shapes and sizes are great and they came in super handy when I was told at 8:30 on a Friday morning that all cabinets touching an exterior wall needed to be emptied by 3:30 PM so construction could be done to our water damaged walls over the weekend.
Everything was in a crate of some sort which made unloading super quick. I snapped a picture of the cabinet before I unloaded them and this helped me (and my students) assemble the cabinets back quickly on Monday morning.
1. Milk Crates
Milk crates are the holy grail of classroom organization. They can literally hold pretty much anything. Here’s a few examples of how I used milk crates in my classroom:
- To hold indoor recess games- only this crate needed to come out during indoor recess
- Station activities that were not being used
- To hold all of my P.D. books that I didn’t use frequently enough to be out on a bookshelf
2. Plastic Drawers
My favorite plastic drawers are the ones pictured below. I used them to house all of my lesson plan materials for the upcoming week.
I also recommend smaller and larger sized plastic drawers. They can go inside cabinets, under desks, on top of desks…really anywhere! Remember to give the drawers “themes” so you don’t end up putting random junk in the drawer.
3. Shoe Boxes
Every teacher (and person who lives in a home of any sort) needs lots of plastic shoe bins. If you watched the popular Netflix show “Get Organized with The Home Edit,” you heard them talk about containing things.
Shoe boxes offer containment for a wide variety of things from classroom library books to extra student materials. They are also great because you can put them inside of cabinets and stack them easily.
*Make sure to organize the inside of your cabinets with bins. Shoe bins are great but so are Amazon Prime boxes. The bins inside your cabinets don’t have to match. Learn more about classroom cabinet organization here.
4. Y-Weave Baskets
When it comes to the bins you organize items that are out in your classroom, you want them to match as much as possible. Mismatched bins (color-wise) add to the visual clutter of your classroom.
If you are able to, I recommend spending money on these baskets from Amazon. Here are the big ones (great for picture books) and the smaller ones (great for stations) They are cute, affordable, and come in an array of sizes. Try to order a neutral color if possible. They match with all decor styles and reduce visual clutter.
5. Printable Labels
The next rule to giving everything a home is to make sure to label everything. You can most definitely get cute labels off TPT if that’s your jam. But, if you want a quick and efficient way to get your bins labeled then printable labels like these are easy to use.
6. Hanging File Folders
You always need a set of hanging file folders. Most milk crates come with a ridge inside so you can hang files in the crate. This is how I stored my station materials.
I also used a big plastic tub (legal size) like the one pictured below with large hanging file folders as my student mailboxes.
7. 12-Drawer Rolly Cart
You have seen these rolly carts all over the internet and they can be used in a plethora of ways. Emily, my sister, uses here set of drawers for lesson plans, extra paper, and grades.
Teacher Organization Tools
8. Divided Caddy
Remember, everything needs a home! So divided caddys are the perfect way to contain and organize all of the things you have on your desk. And, I suggest for yourself, going with the caddys, like these, that are designed for utensils. They are usually cuter and are better for organizing writing utensils.
9. Accordion File Folder
I used my accordion file folder to organize all the papers I needed to grade. This helped me transport papers to grade to and from home and in an organized fashion. I never lost student work and had a place to house papers to be graded, papers that were already graded, and papers that needed corrections.
10. Flair Pens
What teacher doesn’t love flair pens? Yes…they are pretty! But the real reason flair pens work well for classroom organization is because they help you color-code things in your planner.
11. Large Sticky Notes
If you watched my video on how to lesson plan quickly and efficiently than you saw me share these large sticky notes. They were perfect because they were big enough that I could write all the materials needed for the upcoming week on one sticky note.
(Fast forward to the 6-minute mark to see how I used these sticky notes)
Since they are sticky, they can easily be stuck to next week’s lesson plans as I get all my materials prepped.
12. Cricut Machine
This might be a bit extra. I wouldn’t suggest getting one of these just for the purpose of organizing your classroom. But, if you do love to label and think you can use the Cricut machine for more than just your classroom, then it’s worth the splurge!
13. Desk Drawer Organizer
Just like a caddy, a desk drawer organizer will help you give homes to all of the things floating around inside of your drawers.
A lot of teachers use the fishing tackle boxes to organize all these little things. I think it’s really cute but it takes up more desk space than it’s worth, adding to more visual clutter. If you’re asking me, go with the desk drawer organizer!
14. 3 Tiered Rolly Cart
I’ve been asked a handful of times how to organize materials for teachers who have to move classrooms throughout the day. And here’s my answer!
I also suggested using these 3 tiered rolly carts for teachers who are having to move classrooms during social distancing measures at school.
15. Teacher Backpack
Teachers are always looking for a great bag to carry stuff to and from work in. My sister sent me a picture of this backpack, her new favorite teacher bag. It’s super cute and she said “this backpack is awesome!”
For Emily to use that level of enthusiasm is saying something. 😉
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Student Organization Must-Haves
16. Dry Erase Pouches
These dry-erase pockets are a life-saver and a great way to save paper. I used these for my math and literacy stations. The kids loved them because it was fun to use erase-able markers and I loved them because it meant less papers for me to grade!
17. Quality Pencil Sharpener
A good pencil sharpener is worth the money spent. Just be sure to buy one that is highly reviewed. This would be a great one to purchase. While a little pricey, it will come in handy as one of the most used supplies in your classroom.
Be sure to utilize classroom jobs and have a student whose job it is to sharpen pencils at the end of each school day.
18. Colored Stock Paper
Color coding, like we talked about with the flair pens, is really helpful! By printing team activities on colored card stock and/or paper, you can easily tell what goes where. Besides, everything is prettier on a pop of color!
19. Mini Trashcans
I learned this tip in my year in Teacher Fellows and it was SO smart. Each table got one small “trashcan.” This was stored at their team’s cubby (the blue box in the picture below), but it made cut and paste activities wayyyy cleaner!
The “trashcans” I used were from the party aisle at Hobby Lobby. I can’t access a link to find it, so here is an alternative for mini-trashcans for your students.
20. Pencil Boxes
This could be, potentially, a pricey option as well. However, my first year of teaching my mom was at CVS shopping when she saw a bunch pencil boxes on sale for a buck a piece. My mom, being my mom, went and asked the manager if she could buy them all for a discount. She ended up getting them for around 29 cents a piece!
A class set of pencil boxes were a great way for me to organize community supplies. They stayed back in each table’s cubby (red box pictured above) and we only got out what we needed when we needed it. I liked this option instead of a caddy full of markers, crayons, scissors, glue, (read: distractions) at all times.
21. Large Ziplock Bags
When I started teaching, I bought a class set of book boxes. They lasted two or three years so it wasn’t a bad purchase. However, when I started teaching more than one class I wasn’t willing to buy another class set.
In search for a way for students to hold on to their classroom library books in an organized way, I came across these large Ziplock bags. They lasted all year and fit easily into students’ desks.
Ready to get your classroom organized? Then purchase the Classroom Organization Guidebook where I show you how to use these supplies (and more!) in your classroom. With over 40 pages covering 20 different areas in the classroom, you can clear the clutter in your classroom and work in a much more organized space!
Until next time,
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