A lot of people ask me how I store materials in the classroom, and many people want details. Here are some photos that show ways I organize the “hidden” materials, and in a future post, I’ll show our everyday supplies.
The simple trick to organizing is to put like things together. I know that sounds so obvious. In my Pre-K classroom, the main things I need to store are:
- materials for each center
- materials I use each month
- materials for changing dramatic play
- teacher’s supplies
First, I separate the center materials from the monthly materials from the dramatic play materials. Then, I divide those up, so that I have separate storage places for the blocks center, science center, art center, etc. Some teachers might separate their thematic materials, but I choose to put those in boxes by month.
This is what the storage space for my current classroom looks like. Instead of a closet, I have these large shelves with the cabinets on the sides.
At a previous school, I had a roomy closet down the hall, and before that I had no storage space at all. So I empathize with those who have no storage.
In the photo above, these cardboard boxes contain center materials, monthly materials, and dramatic play materials.
Organizing Center Materials
I change out some of the center materials each month, with my themes. I organize and store Center materials in these boxes. These are inexpensive (less than $1) cardboard shipping boxes that I painted white and put scrapbook paper on to decorate. I have a box for almost every center: math, literacy, science, blocks center, sensory table.
This is the type of thing I store in the boxes of Center materials. These collections of animals are stored in the Blocks Center box. I change out these and other items for our different themes.
Organizing Art Center Supplies
Since I have so many more supplies for the Art Center than any other center, I chose to use one whole closet for art supplies. On the door, I have shoe pockets with markers and a few other art supplies. The pockets on the 4th and 5th rows are where I store labels for each center.
Inside the art supply closet, I store things like extra colored masking tape, crayons, bingo dot markers, paintbrushes, colored sand, play dough, beads, craft foamies, glitter glue, liquid watercolor paint, and lots of other stuff. The inside is organized, but it is packed full.
Organizing Materials for Each Month
The boxes above the Center boxes contain materials that we use each month.
This is an example of the type of stuff I have in the April box (and each month is similar). I have Easter puzzles, play dough mats, foamies, stickers. I also have things for our Bug Theme, which we do during the month of April.
Organizing Dramatic Play Materials
This box has things like plastic flower pots, aprons, seed packs, garden gloves, knee pads, shop signs, artificial flowers, etc.
Organizing Teacher Supplies
The other closet holds all of our teacher supplies. Cleaning supplies are at the top, out of the children’s reach. This closet is also where I keep tape, staplers, scissors, hot glue gun, card stock paper, laminating sheets, pocket charts, notepads, pens, cooking kit, and more. I have these mini drawers to store things like staples, paper clips, safety pins, and other small things. The blue baskets are great for containing things like zip lock bags and the cleaning supplies.
I used an index card file box to organize the stickers. The dividers are index cards with tabs on them, and the stickers are organized by holiday or theme.
Fabric Bins: Hiding the Junk!
Here’s what happened with my filing cabinet this year: on the top, I had collected a pile of books, papers, and all kinds of stuff that comes my way during the year, and it looked junky. I had bought these fabric bins for my closet at home, but ended up taking them to school to hide all that stuff. I love the motto “everything has a place”. I just lack enough places. These fabric bins are very roomy and perfect for hiding stuff. (My file cabinet could use a makeover, but I’ll have to save that for another day.)
I previously wrote about Storage Organization here, which shows how I store my children’s books and other things I store at home. If I buy something with my own money, I store it at home. If I buy something with school money, I store it at school. No doubt about it, I own too much school stuff.