Friday, September 7, 2018

Organizing the Big Work Closet

Good Morning! Today's post is about one of my favorite things to do... organize. I don't know about you, but I feel SO MUCH BETTER when things are put away all neat and tidy and I know where everything is. Devin is very much the opposite of this (opposites attract??) so sometimes living with someone who doesn't appreciate my neurotic tendencies love for organization can be hard.

This upcoming school year will be my second year as the part time STEM teacher at my school. I will have to tell you the story of how this job fell into my lap one day, because it was one of those moments when I could absolutely feel God smiling down on me and saying "I've been hearing your prayers and this is my answer". I still get chills thinking about it. Anyway, last year I accepted the job literally the week before school started and was not able to get in and organize the science closet that was now mine. Throughout the year I made a small attempt here and there to alphabetize the supplies in order to make them easier to find, but other people have access to this closet too and were not putting things back in the right place. I gave up trying until I figured I would really have some time to make it perfect. This is what this closet looked like before I tackled it this summer:

 As you can see, you can't even walk in here without having to pull stuff out of your way.

Stuff thrown into boxes without lids, empty boxes everywhere, things not put back in the right boxes. I can't even begin to tell you how upsetting it was to attempt to organize it and then see that other people just threw things in here without a thought as to where it went.

Mismatched boxes without lids make it impossible to stack anything, meaning there was so much wasted space.

So my first step was to go through the closet and throw away anything that was trash, and there was a LOT of it. A lot of outdated materials that were no longer relevant, empty cardboard boxes whose supplies had been put into a classroom or another box, things we could no longer use and could be donated, etc. About a third of this stuff was given the boot. Then, I knew I wanted to be able to stack the boxes on top of each other in order to utilize as much space as possible in the closet, so I ordered some clear containers.

These are the smaller 16 qt ones, but I also purchased bigger 56 qt size too. I wanted all of the labels to have a more cohesive, uniform look so I typed up some labels to attach to the outside of the bins. I laminated all of these labels and just attached them with rolled masking tape in case we ever need to re-purpose these bins for something else in the future, this way the labels can be easily removed and replaced if needed. Here is an example label:

Here are some pictures of the MUCH improved (in my opinion at least!) closet. 

I tried to separate the supplies by instructional units (all solar system supplies together, simple machines together, etc.) and then I alphabetized the other materials as best I could. If you look in the picture below, obviously the bubbles box cannot go on top of the buttons box. I had to be flexible. The candles and chalk should be swapped with the cloth though-- oops!

We have a step ladder tucked off to the side by the door so the teachers can easily pull it out and climb up to grab some of the top bins to pull down supplies/put them away. 

It still isn't perfect, I have one corner left to organize but I figured I would share what I was able to get to so far over the summer/beginning of the school year. 

I had so much fun organizing this that now I have my sights set on one of our closets at home... but for that one I plan on buying these bins from Target:

I'll keep you posted once I get to work on that closet! Thanks for stopping by :)

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