Whether you are working in a large classroom with plenty of space, or a super small room with not much area for storage, making every inch count is important. This can help you keep a clean, organized classroom area that is easy for you and your students to navigate. Let’s talk about making the most of your space and organizing your classroom to work to your benefit and make each day seamless and fun for everyone! These classroom organization ideas will help you maximize the space in your classroom.
Classroom Organization Ideas to Maximize Space
These classroom organization ideas will help you maximize the space in your classroom. Try one or try them all. Or . . . let them inspire you to think creatively about your space and classroom items and create your own classroom organization idea that works for you.
1 – Ditch the Filing Cabinet
What? The filing cabinet that it meant for organization can actually cause disorganization? Yep! The filing cabinet in any classroom can easily become a catch-all and end up a cluttered mess in no time. It seems to always take up time, space, and energy when trying to dig around to find what is needed.
Paper messes are like no other, am I right? It may seem like a filing cabinet is a total must in the classroom because how else will you store your all.that.paper efficiently? I decided to ditch the filing cabinet and the paper and go digital. And this decision was long before going digital was popular. This allowed me to file with more detail and efficiency. In fact, I still use this system today for my personal and professional files.
Having everything I need on my computer has made my life so much easier when it comes to lesson planning too. No more stacks of paper or files to weed through!
Using the Libraries area of File Manager of your computer is the perfect place to start. I like to keep my school files separate from my personal files, so I started with a folder called School. Creative huh?!?
Then I start building folders inside of the School folder. For me, I started with Grade Level. I created a folder for each grade level I had taught. Then inside each of the grade level folders, I created a folder for each content area. Finally, inside each content area folder I would create folders for specific units or skills. Here’s a peek inside my Kindergarten folder.
This folders inside of folders inside of folders system allowed me to give everything a specific place. And more importantly, it made it super easy to find again. Teaching community helpers in kindergarten? No problem, I just went to Kindergarten – Social Studies – Community Helpers. Everything I had for community helpers was right there at my fingertips.
This grade level, subject matter, topic system worked well for me. But you might think differently or work in a different way. You could organize by month of the year and what you teach in those months, you could organize by the standard, or you could organize by there. Whatever works best for you is what you should do.
You can also take each folder and break it down even further, into different subject matters, topics, plans, etc. Here is an example of my Kindergarten folder. Inside the file, I have different folders broken down so I can access things easily and find what I need quickly. I have folders for different school subjects, holidays, plans, and more!
Not only does this method save me time and energy, but it is also very effective and doesn’t take up any space in my classroom. It’s a classroom organization idea that saves time and space!
2 – Bye, Bye Bulky Desk
It may seem crazy to think of a room with no desk for the teacher, but when it comes to utilizing your classroom to it’s fullest and maximizing all space, it can be done! I made this shift in steps. It wasn’t until I started teaching kindergarten that I decided to get rid of my teacher desk. But it took up so much space, and I could see that space being used in so many better ways.
I started by bringing in a small IKEA table that I used as my teacher desk. I put it near the front of the room so my computer could be used for projecting lessons and group activities. It was enough space for the computer with a little extra room. It was perfect and fit snugly against the wall leaving our space open.
When I needed to spread out, I simply used my small round table that I used for small group instruction. I added some rolling drawers and created a functional, less chaotic teacher work area. It became a dual purpose area that got a lot more use than the big, bulky teacher desk. The rolling drawers store everything I needed from my desk, plus all of my small group teaching supplies. And, since they were movable, I could easily move them around if needed.
Saying bye to the desk was a tough decision, but once I did I never looked back. I didn’t miss it at all! And . . . I loved that the classroom space was better used for student activities. This classroom organization is a no brainer! Say bye to that bulky desk that sits empty most of the day.
3 – Utilize Every Nook and Cranny
Our classrooms are filled with potential for maximizing space and becoming a fantastic environment for learning. We just have to know how to utilize what we are given and be a little creative with the space planning.
Make sure you are using every nook and cranny of your room to create a fun and engaging space for students to work. Think vertical. Any time you can create storage that goes up, instead of out, you get more use out of the space.
Get rid of any unnecessary classroom furniture that is taking up space and collecting dust. Make sure that everything in the room is being used in a purposeful way. Have an old chair that the previous teacher handed down to you that sits empty most hours of the day, get rid of it (or find another use for it).
Think about those unusual spots that could be used but often don’t. I hung a metal oil drip pan on the wall behind the classroom door. This became our magnet center. A space that was never utilized became used everyday. With a note on the door that says “please look before you enter” kids could safely work in that space.
Above the magnet center we stored our Take Home Bags. They were right by the door where we lined up to go home – so they were easy to hand out and return. And again, put in a space that was never used before.
There are so many great ways to use all those classroom nooks and crannies, get creative and find what works best for you!
4 – Think Dual Purpose
When looking to maximize classroom space, think about things that can have dual purpose. Remember the teacher work space at the small group teaching table . . . dual purpose. Have a metal filing cabinet that can be used as a magnet center . . . dual purpose. Seating with storage . . . dual purpose. Having things in your classroom that have multiple purposes is a great way to maximize your space. Using classroom items for multiple things means you can do more with less.
Have a specific classroom need? Try to solve it with something you already have and use. Need more storage? Who doesn’t need more storage. Bring in some crate seats or storage ottomans for your small group table or library. This carpet area seating is is also storage for monthly centers and books. And . . . by creating two levels of seating (chairs and carpet) it also solved some classroom management issues too!
Have storage shelves or cabinets that are in the classroom? Cover one or more with a pocket chart to create a dedicated space for a center activity. There are lots of ways to use what you already have for multiple things. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box of normal, everyday use, and you’ll be filling your classroom with dual purpose items in no time!
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Save these Classroom Organization Ideas
You can maximize the space in your classroom with these classroom organization ideas. Not sure they will work for you? Take the idea behind them and find a way to create more space in your classroom. Save these ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back the next time you are looking for classroom organization ideas.