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28 Classroom Organization Ideas to Make Your Year Easier

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After a long day of teaching, the last thing you want to do is stick around all evening to clean up and prepare for the next day. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways classroom organization can save time and resources — so your whole day runs smoothly.

For those of you who will be in the classroom when school begins this year, we gathered the best classroom organization ideas created by teachers like you, and shared for teachers like you. 

Don’t let a messy, unorganized classroom take up all your time. Take a weight off your shoulders and try these 28 easy classroom organization hacks. 

Classroom library organization

Keep your books and papers tidy with these 7 tips to organize your classroom library!

1. Use book bins

Bookshelves are great, but the time it takes to find the book you’re looking for? Not so much. 

To make things easier, use book bins. Grab some labelled bins and organize your books any way you want. Alphabetically, by reading level, by subject — the choice is yours!

In the video above, teacher and YouTuber, Early EDventures, shows how she organized her books by genre. Now she can easily find specific books for lessons, and her students can choose which kinds of stories they want to read. 

You’ll need:

  • Individual boxes or bins
  • Sticker labels (or paper and glue)

 2. Store papers in library pockets  

Keep track of all your papers with library pockets that contain related worksheets and resources, like these DIY ones.

DIY library pockets

If you really want to take your organization to the next level, sort the library pockets into book bins. You’ll have no problem finding the right one when you need it! 

You’ll need:

  • Manila envelopes, file folders or portfolios 
  • Sticker labels (or paper and glue)

3. Laminate worksheets and reuse them

When teaching basic concepts through repetitive practice, this trick is a lifesaver — and a paper-saver. 

Laminate any worksheets you want to reuse, keep them in your library pockets, and give students dry-erase markers to fill them out. Then when they’re done, erase and reuse!

You’ll need:

  • Worksheets
  • Laminator (or take your worksheets to a business that offers laminating)
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Cloth or eraser

4. Color-code your books

With a class of multiple students, keeping track of individual workbooks, notebooks and journals can feel impossible.

To overcome this, try color-coding the spines of each book to categorize them. Or, use different colored binders and bins to store them.

Color-coded bookshelf with different colored binders and bins

Split your students into different “color groups” to make collecting, handing out and finding specific students’ books a breeze!  

You’ll need:

  • Colored duct tape, washable paint, or binders

5. Store extra anchor charts in a laundry hamper

Unless you have infinite wall space in your classroom, it’s not feasible to keep every anchor chart up all year. But, chances are, you’ll want to reuse them later. 

Anchor charts stored in classroom

Try this trick: laminate your anchor charts, roll them up and store them in a laundry hamper.

This teacher also labeled her anchor charts to make them even simpler to find. This idea makes it super easy to retrieve old anchor charts. Plus, your hampers will be nice decorations in the classroom! 

You’ll need:

  • Tall laundry hamper 
  • Laminator
  • Labels 
  • Clothespins (to secure labels)

6. Replace paper with dry erase placemats

With all the activities you do in one school day, you can waste tons of paper. Instead, stick dry erase placemats on tables and desks. Students can write out their thoughts, erase, and repeat!

Plus, you never have to hand them out — they’re always right there for your class to use. 

Desk with laminated placemats for math work

You’ll need:

  • Large dry erase tabletop stickers (or laminated paper and double sided tape)
  • Dry erase markers
  • Cloths or erasers

7. Use storage clipboards for individual students

Keep track of individual student goals and learning materials with storage clipboards.

Storage clipboards for individual student data

This idea is especially great for teachers with lots of IEP students. Quick access to personalized materials will help you support student needs right away. 

You’ll need:

  • Storage clipboards
  • Paper

School supply organization

Now that your library is organized, what do you do with your glue sticks? Pencils? First aid items? Try these 10 tips for organizing supplies and materials!

1. Color-code your electronics

We know electronics are never fun to lose. Fortunately, you can avoid this with some simple color-coding! 

Bin with color-coded devices

This teacher color-coded her Google Chromebooks, so every device had a designated spot and a matching cable. And, as an added bonus, the pop of color made her cart look fantastic!

You’ll need:

  • Colored tape
  • Number labels

2. Make a designated supply station

Put an end to the mystery of the disappearing stapler, once and for all! 

Classroom supply station

Give your supplies their own designated station and make sure they're tracked. Students must go over to the station and check what they need on your list. 

You’ll need:

  • Labels for supplies
  • List for tracking supplies

3. Decorate your classroom with a teacher toolbox

Say goodbye to sorting through a sea of pencils and markers in the search for one yellow highlighter. Instead, store your supplies in their own designated drawer and label it.

Labeled teacher toolbox

Try a teacher toolbox template like this one!

The best part of the teacher toolbox is that it's decorative and useful. Your classroom looks great and you’re never fumbling for the things you need. Win-win! 

You’ll need:

  • Bins with lids or drawer sets
  • Sticker paper, sticker labels or regular paper and glue

4. Label your lids

It's another all-too-common vanishing act. Glue sticks, markers, white-out, you name it — if they come with lids, those lids will likely go missing. 

Instead of constantly replacing these items, try labelling your lids.

You’ll need:

  • Numbered labels (or a sharpie)

5. Store pencils in toothbrush cases

This idea is a great alternative to keeping spare pencils loose. 

Toothbrush holders labeled with student names for holding pencils

Put pencils for each student in their own toothbrush travel cases to contain and keep track of pencils with ease. 

You’ll need:

  • Pencils
  • Toothbrush travel cases
  • Sticker labels (if you want to add student names)

6. Create a DIY medical kit

Keep a decorative medical kit in your class (like this one) for small issues that don’t require a visit to the nurse. 

Create a kit that’s your own style and let it complement your classroom theme! 

You’ll need:

  • Storage crate or box
  • Paint
  • Stencils or sticker labels (for labelling the kit)
  • Basic medical supplies -- ex. bandages (of various sizes), tissues, thermometer, tweezers, hand sanitizer, distilled water
  • Student allergy list 

7. Think outside the storage box

Sometimes you can find a perfect fit when you look beyond traditional classroom storage.

For example, kitchen storage items can be effective for storing classroom supplies. This photo shows a coffee pod carousel used to store Play-Doh tubs. 

Coffee pod carousel holding tubs of play dough

8. Promote desk organization

“But I can’t find my [school supply that’s definitely hidden somewhere in a messy desk]!” 

Organization shouldn’t be your responsibility alone. Provide a handy guide on an anchor chart to help students keep their desks neat and tidy, and encourage individual accountability. 

You’ll need:

  • Anchor chart paper
  • Markers

9. Turn chairs into storage spaces

Another way to organize students’ individual supplies is to go beyond the desks and use chairs as storage.

Place velcro on the backs of student chairs and on important supplies like rulers, number lines, multiplication charts and more. 

You’ll need:

  • Sticky-back velcro tape
  • Laminator (if adding velcro to printed sheets)

10. Keep an emergency supply

You might not want to tell your students about this particular idea (unless, of course, you feel like sharing candy with 20 kids). 

These “teacher survival” kits can be a great gift for colleagues, or just a way to help you through that post-lunch exhaustion. 

You’ll need:

  • Small sealable containers
  • Sticker labels (or paper and glue)
  • All the candy!

Tracking student information

It’s your job to ensure that students are safe, happy and learning more every day.

Luckily, these 5 tips for keeping track of student information can help you take care of such an important task!  

1. Use lanyard lists for essential info 

Keep important lists on hand at all times with DIY lanyard lists.

Not only do you save on paper, you’ll also have a much easier time finding the information you need right away. 

You’ll need:

  • Laminator
  • 1-hole punch
  • Lanyard or keyring

2. Make a systematic student data binder

Student data is plentiful and always changing. Your system for filing data should reflect this. 

A thorough student data binder like the one above should include all your student data forms, tabs with student names and blank spots to easily switch goals and add new notes. 

You’ll need:

  • 3-Ring binder
  • Divider tabs
  • Sticky notes or adhesive pockets

3. Make a yearly birthday board

Never miss a birthday with adorable birthday boards to remind you and your students whose birthday comes next.|

For a design like this one, you’ll need:

  • Small wooden gingerbread men
  • Hooks and eyes
  • Board and vinyl lettering
  • Paint

4. Track patterns with an attendance record book

With an attendance record book, you won’t miss a beat. 

Log student names and attendance on each day of the year. Then, you can easily look back and track attendance patterns for future reports. 

You’ll need:

  • Log book or notebook, or an online log book
  • Colored pens/markers/highlighters

5. DIY hall passes

Make one-of-a-kind hall passes so everyone knows which students belong to your class!

Laminated DIY hall passes

DIY passes make it easy to keep track of why students left class. Plus, they look much nicer (and are much easier to clean in between student use) than regular hall passes. 

You’ll need:

  • Laminator
  • 1-Hole punch
  • Lanyards

Organizing your day

Try these 5 organization tips for lesson prep and daily schedule tracking! 

1. Keep a morning cart by your classroom door

Meet your new morning sidekick: the morning cart

Morning cart with labeled baskets

Add anything you need to your cart — for example, a space for students to hand in and pick up work, your day’s lessons and resources or any supplies your students will need for the day. 

Place the cart outside your classroom door, so students can be ready for the day before they even step into the room. Suddenly, morning routines will be a breeze!   

You’ll need:

  • Utility cart 
  • Baskets 
  • Labels for baskets

2. Use a hanging calendar

Effortlessly change and track the date with this handy accessory for your wall. 

Now, instead of writing out the date every morning, just flip your calendar to the next day! You’ll need:

  • Hanging bar or rod
  • Binder rings
  • Labels 
  • 1-Hole punch

3. Display the daily schedule with magnets

This makes a great addition to your hanging calendar, while also making it incredibly easy to display your schedule and make changes as needed. 

Whiteboard with labeled magnets to track schedule

For a magnet schedule like this one, you’ll need:

  • Labelled magnets or chalkboard magnets 
  • Chalk

4. Make a sub tub 

You can’t always plan for your absent days. Sometimes things pop up out of nowhere, and that’s why it’s always best to be prepared. 

Make a sub tub to ensure your substitute lesson plan for the following day is always ready to go. 

"Sub tub" with labeled sections for lesson plans and more.

Once you have your sub tub, get into the habit of updating it every evening before you leave — just in case. Include anything you think will help your substitute teacher understand their responsibilities for the day. 

You’ll need:

  • Basket or tub
  • Labels
  • Schedules, outlines and supplies

5. Plan lessons with a digital rotation chart

Digital rotation charts are helpful because:

  1. They’re harder to lose — you’ll always know where to access the schedule and plan.
  2. They keep students on track — Display your schedule so students know exactly where they’re going next and what they need to be working on. This way, as soon as one group gets done playing Prodigy, they can swiftly move on to their independent work time without any confusion or hesitation. 
  3. They’re easy to organize — With a digital format, you can efficiently color-code, add links and sort students into groups.

Try it and see for yourself! 

You’ll need:

  • A digital presentation program such as Google Slides or Keynote

These classroom organization tips will keep your work day productive and your classroom looking great. But don’t forget the most important one:

Set boundaries for yourself

You have so much to organize every day — it can become overwhelming at times. So take some time for yourself and try to set limits. Right now, it's more important than ever to make sure you put your health first.

Teacher sitting at her desk and grading work

An organized school day leaves you more time to do what you’re best at: shaping young minds, so every child you teach can reach their fullest potential. 

Try out your favorite classroom organization ideas from this list and share some of your own tricks to inspire other teachers. 

Happy organizing!

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