My Favorite Organizational Systems (Photos)

Hello everyone!! I've missed being on here and talking with you so much! I think I am getting into a groove now and should be able to come back more often to share happenings and organization from our class.

And I thought I would share some of my favorite organizational systems for this new school year today!

We've been back to school for a couple of weeks now and I've been anxious to see how those summer projects have panned know how sometimes the seemingly best ideas from the summer don't always work out how you imagined? How quickly things can get ruined or misplaced, despite all of your careful planning?? I can't even tell you how many times that has happened to me! 

Well, I'm happy to say, here are a few systems that have worked well in our room:

Student Toolboxes
I know I shared a lot about these toolboxes over summer and I just have to tell you...


And, more importantly, so do my students! These toolboxes have kept our tables completely clean and organized-looking, all throughout the day...
 (labels for the Student Toolboxes can be found in my store here)

Right before school started, my sister Melissa had the fantastic idea of adding some old pencil baskets I had from Really Good Stuff to the tops of each of my student toolboxes (of course, they color-coordinate with the table signs):
Now my students truly have everything they need for the day, right at the fingertips. I haven't had to pass out a single crayon, marker, highlighter, or anything during the day--sheer joy!!

The folders on the back have been helpful as well. I will admit I am not quite to the point where the work is always available in the folder throughout the day BUT I do always have the morning work all set to go the night before (which is the lovely Stephanie's Calendar Math!):
Color-Coded Subjects
I have a lot more to share on this one, so there will be a separate blog post on it very soon. 

Early in the summer, I decided I would color-code everything this year. I've always had a colorful room, but I wanted the colors to be more purposeful this year, as well as a visual tool for my newcomer English Language Learners.

So our room is entirely color-coded according to the five brights:

Reader's Workshop
Writer's Workshop
Social Studies

We have a bin for each subject area, to turn in notebooks if I'm checking them, or just our papers:

And the notebooks for each subject (from Walmart) were the luckiest find of my summer, since they match perfectly!

As much as I love making labels, I was relieved to not have the need to do so for these notebooks...the color really is the perfect visual reminder for both organizing and locating the right notebook!

Weekly Papers
This is an idea I learned about from a very dear friend...Kim over at Finding Joy in 6th Grade. Sweet Kim has a wonderfully organized method of managing papers to be sent home: My First Monday Made It!

Our weekly papers are sent home in Wednesday Folders, so I set up this crate:
Again, I was lucky to find some coordinating folders at Walmart...because you know how important that is!
I used to have one of those large shoebox organizer things, but I really prefer this because it takes up less space and it is portable.

Ready to Go Dry Erase Boards
Like so many bloggers out there, I decided to try some dry erase boards right on my tables this year. I first read about this wonderful idea from Kinder Keri's brilliant post on Dry Erase Circles. And my sister decorated her tables with them last year and loved them: Built in Whiteboards.

They've worked like a dream! My students use them for math work, spelling practice, drafting ideas before many ways I didn't even think about originally!

My other project from the summer was the 2-in-1 Clipboard and Whiteboard:
Thanks to these dual-purpose tools, I have been able to donate my old, clunky whiteboards and clipboards and open up some more space in our room. My students love to use these while working in groups on the carpet or sofa (oooooh...did I tell you about that yet??? More to come soon!).

Ok, I hope I didn't tire you out with too many photos...and I hope your school year has been going very well!! Take care and I will be back soon! :)


  1. Love the organization and the bright colors. You always inspire me! Thanks for sharing Kristen. I always think the more photos the better.

    Swimming into Second

  2. Oh my gosh Kristen! You amaze me. I am drowning this year - like broke down crying on Friday. I've been printing and laminating all morning to get them and myself even more in gear this week. I don't know if your room make me feel better or sad, but I strive to be you (and at my school I am deemed queen of organization - so what does that tell ya). Ha. You're great. I want all labels. Off to wal-mart, Target and Staples.
    :) Sydney

  3. I love the big numbers you used on the file boxes. I use a number system too but use those little tabs that come with the folders. I think I may try this looks nice and is easier to read.

  4. Love that your clipboards and whiteboards are all in one! I've also gone to a drawer system for storing most of my supplies and I love it! It keeps my tables clean and my students have done a fantastic job with keeping everything organized!

    Thanks so much for sharing these helpful ideas :)
    My Shoe String Life
    Follow Me on Bloglovin'

  5. I love your ideas :) When I have more funding, then I think I'll make the toolboxes for next year. Did you buy all those composition books for your students?? My school is low-income, and funding is super limited. Do you have other ways to color coordinate if funding is low?

    1. Hi Leanna, I did buy them myself. I usually purchase binders but decided to go with the color-coded notebooks, so that was my big supply-splurge this year :)

      As for other ways to color-coordinate with lower funding, I'm a big fan of those colored dot labels...they're quick and easy and they can be numbered if you number your students. I use them in my library:

      I hope this helps, thanks for reading! :)

  6. The student tool boxes were such a great idea. Your color coordinating is amazing! I love all of it!

    Fit to be Fourth
    Follow me on Bloglovin

  7. Love all your colorful organization! I love the color coding and the black! Our school also does Wednesday folders. Would you be willing to share? :)

    I've Got It Made in Second Grade

  8. You are super duper organized girly! I have to ask where or what machine you use to print your labels? Your stuff is so clear and perfect! I feel like sometimes when I print it looks not as crisp!

    1. Hey Kelley, thanks! I just print them on my printer at home and laminate them. For the labels that I keep for years, I do print them on the "best quality" setting, it makes them so rich in color!

      I hope your year is going great! :)

  9. Do you have your tables pushed up against the walls? I was wondering how you keep the toolboxes from falling off the table. I love the idea!

    1. Hi Kim, no we don't. We keep them in the center/front of each table. So far no one's knocked one students love them so they're very careful with them :)

  10. Love, Love, LOVE all of it! It' so... YOU!
    Did you do a happy dance in the aisle in WalMart when you found those composition books?
    I think my favorite thing might be those BIG numbers on the folders. And the fact that the colored folders match the room so perfectly!
    I've scrolled through this post ten times and I am still oooohhhing and aaaahing over all of the beauty. (I hope Blogger stats doesn't send you an alert that someone was at your site for too long!)
    Thanks for sharing all of the loveliness. Best of all, thanks for sharing YOU.

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  11. Kristen!!! I absolutely love the look of everything in this post! Oh how I wish I could spend and afternoon or two in your room admiring all of the beauty!! Everything looks so crisp and oh so incredibly YOU :) Love it! I'm sure your kiddos are taking extra care everything, too :)
    Fun in Room 4B

  12. Your colors are the same as mine! I love your organization!

  13. Your room must be such a dream! So color coordinated and organized and just plain pretty! I'm feeling ya with the no time!!! I am able to sit tonight for the first time and read a few blogs:) Now I have to go laminate a million things:) Have a great week! Miss chattin:/

    4th Grade Frolics

  14. We have Organization Envy. That is all. Love love love it!!!
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  15. Hey Kristen! Love the color coordination, but was wondering where you got the colorful plastic baskets from? were they also from walmart? I hope its not a dollar store because we don't have one of those here in Hawaii :(

    1. Hi! Ooooo, I would love to live in Hawaii right now--though I would miss the dollar stores here (I'm joking, I probably wouldn't!). I actually got all of the colored bins from: Really Good Stuff (if you click on the store name it will take you over there). Thanks for visiting!

  16. I love all the labels and signs you make, especially with the black background! Are you sharing the labels you have pictured here? I am interested or would like to know how you made them.

    Thank you!

  17. Kristen, Any chance you'll be sharing your Wednesday Folders file? (Although I have Friday Folders so would need to edit.) I love the numbered circles too! :-)

  18. What kind of printer do you have at home? Whenever I try to print bright letters on a black background even on the best setting it turns out horrible~! Thanks.

  19. I would also love your Wednesday Folders file if you are sharing. I have Tuesday folders so I would also need to edit. I love your site and all your products!!!

  20. How did you adhere the labels to the toolbox? I made myself one and can't seem to get them to stay on the front. Thanks!

    1. Hello! I print the labels on cardstock and laminate them. Then I hot glue them onto the plastic. They stay on really nicely this way, but still can be removed later if need be. Thanks for visiting my blog :)


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