March 15, 2011

Organized Classroom = One Happy Me :)


You guys, I have a confession...I'm obsessed with...(no, not another horridly acted TV show or trashy YA book, believe it or not) storage bins.  Yup, storage bins.  I feel that I am most definitely not alone among the teacher readers here.  In fact, I believe that the second you obtain your education degree, you begin to experience an inexplicable itching to get your hands on as many plastic bins as you can.  You find yourself wandering The Container Store, drooling and gazing at the walls of storage containers as though viewing priceless art.  You "discreetly" empty out tubs of knicknacks at garage sales and beg the homeowners to sell you the container (no, you don't want what it was displaying).  You scour walmart and target every summer for cheap plastic tubs of varying sizes--score if they come in bright colors!!!

It's true, my love for bins is intense.  So is my love for organization.  You might be thinking that I have one of those FABULOUSLY organized classrooms where boosk are never in the wrong genre section, all supplies are numbered and arranged carefully, and every bin has a colored, laminated label.  Wrong.  I DREAM of being one of those teachers.  Literally: it would be a dream come true.  I really try, but as a young teacher, I am most definitely still figuring out what works for me in my classroom.  When I moved into my classroom last year, I inherited a TON of crap from its previous occupant.  I am literally still sorting through it, a year and a half later.  (You can imagine the recycling)  Also, last year was so stressful that I'm lucky I filed or stored anything in a semi-coherent way.  It's far from well organized, though.
In the past few weeks I've been struck with an overwhelming spring-cleaning bug.  I am DETERMINED to get my room organized, including (and especailyl!!) the cabinets, files, and my desk.  To get the ball rolling this weekend, I treated myself to a stack of new bins from IKEA and (drumroll) a LABEL MAKER!!!!  (cut to me grinning uncontrollably and breaking into a silent cheer)  You guys, I have wanted a label maker for about the past 10 years.  (Yes, I was THAT KID.)  I finally decided it was TIME.  After telling several people about my exciting purchases, I have come to the following conclusion: Teachers GET this love.  Non-teachers never will.  For example: one of my fabulous non-teacher friends joined me for my IKEA adventure.  Thrilled when I saw EXACTLY the right bins, I started grabbing a huge stack.  She asked me what I was planning on using them for, and seemed confused about why I was buying them when I explained that I had no specific purpose.  I tried explaining that I just NEEDED them, and that they would find an immediate use upon entering my room.  And it's true!  I've already used all but one, and I have at least 5 other uses in my head...time for another trip I guess!!  I also started using my fancy schmancy label maker, labeling the binders I've made of literacy and math transparencies and originals.  Pictures to come of my lovely shelves. :)  

Another exciting moment today was that I got the go-ahead from Mister Principal to order some new book bins for the kiddos!!  I use book bins for my Daily 3 instruction, and the kids keep their reading 
folder, reading record book, and several Read to Self books in them.  We started the year with these IKEA cardboard magazine files (-->), which worked well...for awhile.  Then the destruction started.  Even though MOST of the kids are really careful with them, it was only a matter of time before they all became a big torn mess.  Packing tape is literally the only thing holding 80% of them together at this point!!  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve awaiting the arrivial of my FABULOUS new (and hopefully indestructable) book bins from Really Good Stuff:
So pretty!!!  I can't wait to post a picture of them filled with books when they come!

Even though there is more work to do on the Spring Cleaning front, I definitely made a dent today.  I figure that if my classroom is organized, not only will things be easier to find, but I will just feel that much less stressed out overall.  And THAT my friends, is a good goal. :)  And so, I do NOT regret that I spent 2 hours after school organizing my room when that time PROBABLY should have been spent grading papers and prepping lessons.  Because this just is so. much. more. satisfying.

What do you do to keep your classroom organized?  Any products/systems to recommend?


  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I LOVE LOVE LOVE an overly organized classroom. Too bad it doesn't stay that way for long. Maybe someday...

  2. I had those same white holders from IKEA and they didn't last long. I would buy them again in a heartbeat but I would use them for ME and not for the kids so I could organize my own things. The nearest IKEA to me is across the state so I bribe a really good friend with family over there to pick up my stuff for me ;)

    I have similar bins to the colored ones you show. I got mine at Lakeshore through Donor's Choose and I LOVE THEM. They *are* practically indestructible. I think I will have them forever. I ♥ storage bins an containers!

  3. I LOVE my RGS colored book bins... you will love your too...I have had mine for going on 3 years adn have only had one break on me... and I do NOT put the kids names on them I #ed them and assigned #s to the kids...makes it one less thing you have to label at the beginning of the year!!!

  4. Yes!! I hear you :) I'm obsessed with organization (and jealous of your label maker) even though I'm not the most organized!!

  5. I love your blog and I completely relate to your post! I SO wish I was one of those teachers. I've been at it for awhile now so I can't blame being a new teacher, I am just not an organized person! Going for a run is so much more fun than going in early to organize books that the kids will destroy in ten minutes. I do share the love of bins though!


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