Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monday Made It: Sanity Saving Storage & A Freebie

Okay, I'm just going to confess and be done with it.  I AM TERRIBLE AT MAKING DECISIONS.  Seriously.  I am the world's slowest lesson planner and classroom organizer.  All my teacher stuff has sat for months in stacks in the office closet (and the office floor... and the office couch...) because I couldn't decide how I wanted to organize it.  (And let's not even talk about my classroom- I STILL can't figure out how I want it to look.  I've changed my color scheme three times!)

But today I'm happy to announce I figured it out, thanks to some great Pinspiration!  :)  Here's the ideas and considerations I hashed out.  Just click on the pictures to find out more! (Warning: This is a long post.  But I promise there are freebies to see you through!)

To File or Not to File?
This actually was the easiest decision to make.  I hate filing cabinets- always have, always will.  I think they're ugly and heavy!  Plus I am so bad at keeping up with them because I'm a total stacker by nature, not a filer.  Besides, as a PreK/Kindergarten teacher I've found I have too much bulky stuff to fit into file cabinets, and I want to keep everything in one place.  So there.

[End Rant]

But if you do like file cabinets, here's some ideas for ya:

Literacy & Math Worksheets Organized by Skill (Mrs. Terhune)

Read Alouds Organized by Month (Colleen @ Fun and Fearless in First)

Colleen also organizes a TON of other resources in file cabinets.  You really should check out her post!  It almost converted me to file cabinet-ism.  :)

Binder vs. Tub Storage
This one was a toughie because I love binders and tubs!  There are lots of great ideas for organizing center materials in binders, including...

Lesson Plan Binders Divided into 9 Week Chunks (That's So Second Grade)

Lesson Plan Binders Divided by Theme (Mrs. Terhune): FREEBIE!

Monthly Lesson Plan Binders (Sue @ The Very Busy Kindergarten)

Center Binders using Page Protectors to Store Things Like Game Pieces (Sunny Days in Second Grade)

Lastly, I'd be very remiss if I didn't mention this fabulous resource and freebie!  You MUST read Brooke's post.  I almost went with binders because of her.  Her fabulous freebie includes binder covers and spines organized by month and content area!  (And I love how she coordinated her labels for Teacher Read Alouds with the binders!)

Project Binder-ize (Brooke @ Once Upon a First Grade Adventure: FREEBIE!

But again, due to the various bulky hands-on materials I have for my kinders, I decided binders weren't the best option.  Tubs it is!

Monthly vs. Theme Storage
Yay two decisions down!  (Feels like fifty million more to go...)

Center Materials by Month (Mrs. Fultz's Corner)

Center Materials by Theme (Kathleen @ Growing Kinders)

There were a couple of deciding factors for this one.  First of all, I haven't done much long-range planning yet, so I'm not sure which themes fit with which months at my new school.  Secondly, upon sorting through my materials I realized I had way too much stuff to fit together in just one monthly tub.  So theme storage it is!  If this option is for you, you should definitely check out Katie's great freebie below.

Theme Center Tub Labels (Katie @ Kinder Warriors): FREEBIE!

Rub a Dub Dub Let's Look Inside the Tub
The next roadblock I hit was figuring out what to put into the tubs!  I went back and forth with whether or not I should separate out things like seasonal math manipulatives (e.g. valentine dice, counters).

Math Manipulative Tub Labels (Colleen @ Fun and Fearless in First): FREEBIE!

But in the end I went for keeping everything together in the theme tubs.  I decided I'm too busy to run around finding and pulling out several tubs every time our theme changes.

But how to organize the actual paper centers inside the tub- like recording sheets, play-doh mats, etc?  I found some more great ideas!

Laminate/Velcro Manila Envelopes (Dandelions and Dragonflies)

Ziploc Center Storage (DeAnne @ First Grade and Fabulous)

Ready for some pictures?

Before: YIKES, get me out of here!

During: YAY new laminator!


I ended up making my own labels to accommodate for the variety of tub sizes I had (mostly 16 and 32 qt. Sterilite containers).  You can grab your FREEBIE of these cute labels by clicking on the image below!


  1. You go girl!!! At the end of this year I actually ended up putting ALL of my books into a filing cabinet. Best thing I ever did! Luckily my filing cabinet is hidden! :)
    I also use binders AND tubs. All of my station activities for themes are in the tubs and my binders hold all of the sheets, etc.

    It looks great. Can't wait to see classroom pics!

    Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten

    1. Thanks Nicki! :) I can't wait to get my classroom finished so I can post pics!

  2. Hey I always check out your blog! I wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for the Leibster Award. Details are on my page.


  3. You have got some really great organizing and storage ideas there. I do not personally like the file cabinet concept either, but after looking at the way the labels and filings work cohesively together, I might just change my mind. I think colors and creativity play an important role to change the overall outlook of the entire storage and organizing system.

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