Welcome to part 4 of my teacher organization series! Today we will be talking all about teacher storage ideas! We’ve talked a bit about storage options in other posts, but I want to really hit it hard today and specifically talk about systems that worked well for me.
Remember, what works for me may not work for you, so take my ideas and make them your own! My goal is to inspire and give ideas, NOT to tell you that this is the only or best way to do it.
Teachers have a lot of different materials in their classrooms. It is important to have a strong storage system in place for the various materials you use throughout the week. To help you get started, I’ve put together a list of my ideas and the solutions that worked for me.
Note: If you are looking for tips on how to organize paper clutter, that was in Tuesday’s post! Today we are specifically looking at teacher storage ideas for organizing materials and manipulatives.
Teacher Storage Ideas
Disclosure: This section contains some affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Centers and Games
If you’re like me, you’ve collected TONS of games of centers. It took me awhile to come up with the best way to organize these, but I eventually came up with a system that I loved. I found it worked best for me to organize my various math games and centers topically. That way, if we were focusing on a certain skill and had a few minutes, I could easily find a relevant game to play.
I used one of these 10-drawer rolling carts that I received from a DonorsChoose project. I created labels for the various topics I had games on (two for addition & subtraction because that’s a HUGE skill in 2nd grade). To apply the labels, I removed the knobs from the drawers and hot glued the labels on. You can get these editable labels for free in my TpT store.
On the right, I did the same thing to organize my manipulatives. I’ll talk more about that in the next section.
Since my math games are mostly print-and-go, I stored them in these poly envelopes I got from Dollar Tree. They come in packs of 3 and are fairly sturdy! I like that they are transparent enough that I can see what’s in them, and they keep everything together and protected. You can also use gallon sized Ziploc bags, but I prefer these since they are sturdier.
Then I just stuck each envelope in the appropriately labeled drawer. This system made my life so much easier anytime I was frantically searching for a quick game or activity to throw in at the last minute!
I used a very similar system to store all my math manipulatives (pictured above on the right). Since I had two of the rainbow carts, I used the second one to divide up my manipulatives. Then I labeled each drawer according to the manipulative or type of manipulative that was in it.
My “Counters” drawer is where I kept all of my mini erasers from the Target Dollar Spot. I kept these separated by type in snack sized Ziploc bags.
I’ve organized my craft supplies in a few different ways. Initially, I used this 3-tiered rolling cart as a craft cart.
I ended up switching this to be my library the next year, but I still love the idea of having a craft cart! However, because I didn’t use most of this supplies very often, I ended up changing it to a similar system as the centers and manipulatives above.
I received this set of black drawers (similar ones here) from a coworker who was leaving the classroom, and decided to move my craft supplies to it. This freed up my 3-tiered cart to act as my library, as shown in the picture.
Again, I organized the craft supplies by type into each drawer, and then used my free template to make the labels.
My favorite part about this set of drawers is that it made it really easy for me to allow students to pass out or turn in their supplies. They knew exactly where to find or put something away!
I don’t know about you, but I always end up with a TON of extra school supplies! Not that it isn’t welcome, but it can be a pain to store – especially in a small classroom. Thankfully, my classroom had built in shelving on one of the walls which came in handy. I found the best solution for storing my extra school supplies was in labeled bins placed on the shelves.
The bins are from Dollar Tree and have held up nicely over 4 years! I downloaded the labels on TpT years ago and printed on label paper. Labeling is essential for me, because I will never find anything if I don’t label. I simply made a label for each type of school supply and slapped it on a bin. This made it easy to find new supplies as we ran out of things.
Other Teacher Storage Ideas
Here are some of my other favorite storage options and how I use them! There are many ways to use each, though, so get creative!
Photo Storage Boxes
I’m pretty sure teachers use these things more than anyone else! Photo storage boxes are great because they are sturdy and the perfect size for storing things like tasks cards and writing prompts. You can get them in 4×6 or 5×7 sizes, in clear or color, individually or in larger sets. They are perfect for everything!
I like to use them to store my Math Writing Prompts and Math Toolboxes.
I personally use the clear Iris USA 4×6 photo boxes, but there are many options out there! You can also get these at Michael’s, but wait for a sale!
Portable Project Cases
I LOVE these Iris USA Portable Project Cases! These are great for storing larger centers, papers, projects, etc. I personally use them to store my Interactive Math Review Activities, but they are pretty versatile!
I love Sterilite drawers! Clearly, I use them to store all the random stuff I don’t have another place for. But they are also the perfect size for storing papers! The ones pictured are the medium 3-drawer unit, but I also have a couple of large units as well which I used to store copy paper, notebooks, and other things.
These exact labels and an editable version are available for free in my TpT store.
Divided Organizer Boxes
These boxes actually have a lot of different names and can be used for many different things! I’ve seen people use them to sort letterboard letters, mini erasers/counters, dice, and more. I found this one perfect for storing my class reward coupons.
I purchased mine at JoAnn’s, but here is a similar one on Amazon. I highly recommend getting one with adjustable dividers so you have more versatility!
Hopefully these teacher storage ideas have given you some great ideas for organizing your classroom! Good storage is key to getting any classroom organized, but please remember that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Don’t forget to check out the other posts in the series:
Part 1: Organization Basics
Part 2: Organization on a Budget
Part 3: How to Organize Paper Clutter
Part 4: Teacher Storage Ideas
Part 5: Teacher Time Management
Part 6: Teacher Organization Tips