June 18, 2017

7 Organizational Tips for Teachers

I've had this blog post in the back of my mind for a long time, so I decided to finally do something about it!

How many times has a new teacher asked you how you "do it all?" {Frankly, I think it's laughable to think that any teacher successfully "does it all." Something always has to give.} I always suggest two things. First, do what works for you. What works for the teacher down the hall may not work for you, and the sooner you realize and accept that, the less crazed and overwhelmed you'll be! Second, get and stay organized. Again, find a way to keep things organized that works for you. I've found a few ways that I stay organized, and I want to share them with you.

At the end of this post, I'd love for you to comment with some of your most helpful organization tips!

A good, sturdy teacher bag is an absolute must. And trust me, I'm pretty sure that I've tried them all! I've used Vera Bradley bags and Thirty-One bags, but my favorite, by far, is the Scout bag.

This is the Original Deano in Chalk the Line {love the name of the color}. I bought mine at a local boutique, but Amazon carries them in every shade you can imagine. The best part? It's only $39, you can wipe it clean, and it's ENORMOUS {I can fit my personal laminator, purse, laptop, lunch bag, and papers that need graded in it.} I also bought a cosmetic bag to keep all of my pens, Post-Its, and clips in. 

OK, I know that this probably seems like a no-brainer. But, seriously: find a planner that works for you. I had a really hard time finding one that was right for me, so a few years ago, I started making my own.

This is the binder that I used for about three years. I loved being able to edit it to fit my needs!
{Click on the picture above to find this and other Teacher Binders in my TPT store.} 

This past April, I was in an inservice with other first grade teachers in my district, and I sat next to a colleague with whom I used to work before I transferred to my current school. She is a perfectionist and loves to be organized as much as I do, and she showed me her Erin Condren planner. I had resisted buying one for so long, but having the opportunity to flip through hers and see all of its benefits up close {it didn't hurt that my teammate gave me a 10% off coupon, either!} convinced me that it was time to purchase my own.
Mine obviously says "Mrs. Shafer," not "Ms. Clark." I LOVE IT!!

I also nabbed these adorable stickers from Amazon to customize my planner. They were only $15, and there are 1,733 stickers in the pack! Michaels carries this set, too, but since the closest Michaels store is an hour away, I let Amazon do the work for me.

You already knew this, right? I don't know where I'd be without binder clips, Post-It notes, clothespins, and good pens. 

I had a set like these from Really Good Stuff that I LOVED! But as I was creating my new classroom decor set, I decided to make my own!
I just laminated and hot glued these little tags on clothespins. Game changer!

I honestly don't know how I lived before Google Keep came into my life. {Wait. That's not true. I do know. I used boring old Sticky Notes on my desktop.}  My husband introduced me to it, and it has transformed the way I keep myself organized, both personally and professionally. Never heard of it? Just Google "Google Keep" and check it out for yourself!

This is just a glimpse of the lists I keep on Google Keep. You can color code, add images, and insert links. Oh, and of course, there's an app, so you can access it on all of your devices!

This is another no-brainer. I've been buying baskets at Dollar Tree for years. My baskets have baskets. It's out of control. I use them for everything. I especially love the knock-off Gladware containers for storing all of my math manipulatives. And hey, guess what?? I have labels for them in my new decor set! {Shameless plug, I know.}

Just laminate the little buggers and hot glue them to the front of the containers. I've had mine for three years, and I've only had to replace one in all those years.

I saw Teacher Toolboxes all over Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest a few summers ago, and I knew I needed to make myself one.

This is what my old one looked like. Not the cutest, but it kept all of my supplies handy!

I made a new set of Teacher Toolbox labels to match my new classroom decor, PLUS I spray painted the container black {in case you're wondering, vegetable oil gets spray paint off your hands}. I wish I had taken a picture of the final product, but I was able to get it finished before the end of the school year, so it's in my closet at school.

I made two different options, and they're fully editable, so you can change them to meet your needs.

And finally...

When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. I label everything that isn't nailed down in my classroom: cabinets, drawers, baskets, containers. You name it, I've labeled it. I started doing this about ten years ago when I was preparing to go on maternity leave with Princess A, and I wanted to be sure that my substitute could find what she needed while I was out.

 Labels for Daily Five baskets.
 Labels for Fun Friday baskets.
 Labels for community school supplies.

Number labels {in every size you can imagine}.

Phew! So, there you have it. I realized as I was writing this post that I mentioned my new classroom decor set so much, I may as well give one away! Comment below AND head over to my Instagram page to be entered to win this HUGE 140 page pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy what's left of your weekend!


  1. I love my plastic photo storage boxes for task cards!

  2. Glad this colleague convinced you to get the Erin Condren. ;-) Can you imagine the organizational trouble we could get into if we were teammates?! Couldn't agree more with your organizational tips. I've got some labeling projects on my to do list this summer. With my Pto money I bought trofast drawers from ikea and put all of my math manipulatives in them. No more plastic boxes in a tower on the shelf!!

  3. Goals, goals, goals for next year! I'm already super excited for getting organized for September and this year hasn't even ended yet!!!