Literacy & Math Centers - Storage Organization

I don't know about y'all, but I am just about plum OVER seeing all of my papers and cards and game pieces stuffed into a skinny little hanging file folder and closed off in an ugly ol' filing cabinet. Shoot, I even start to forget about some of my REALLY good centers I have in there!!

This summer I'm on a heck-bent mission to get that stuff ORGANIZED for GOOD. And please don't get me wrong, it is tedious, time consuming, and just plain old NOT fun, but once it's all done I know it will be so completely worth it!!

So what do I have and how do I organize it? And even further, how do I store it in a way that I a) won't forget about it and b) won't cringe every time I look at it??

Well let me say this -- I have a TON of stuff. More than I will ever need, that's for sure. It's a problem. I'm working on it. Well, I'm coming to terms with it. I digress.

I have a whole bunch of monthly centers that are staples. They are consistent throughout the school year, they just change with the theme, and of course, the content gets more rigorous as the year moves forward. But the kids know what to expect and they can be 100% independent with these centers. {I will post more about my centers later,  but for now I just want to focus on the organization aspect.} So while I use the "same" centers every month, they change. If that makes any sense at all. So, I have to store my stuff that isn't in use. And I have to do it in a way that next year, I know what I have and how to get to it quickly.

I have googled and Pinterested the HECK outta the search term "Center Storage" and "Center/Station Organization" - but teachers just don't really post about how they store their stuff when it's not in use! I see a ton of good stuff on how to organize it when it's in use, but not after they have to put it away. So, I was at a loss. {Because honestly, I don't know how we functioned as humans before Google and Pinterest. For real.}

My previous center storage was not functional. I didn't know what I had, and getting it out was difficult and it was just ugly. I had papers stuffed in manila envelopes, and for some people, this system works fine -- but I want to be able to see what's in there and easily get to ONE page -- not have to pull out the entire stack of papers. What a pain in the patoot.

Enter these amazing thingies:
So they come in a pack of 36 on Amazon and I have now ordered 2 cases of them. I will probably need a third, if we're being honest here. {P.S. I did the math -- they are cheaper ordering from Amazon.}

I have used these to organize my Writing Units, my Guided Math Units, my Reading Units, and now my centers. I am addicted to Amazon right now. And TpT. I. Can't. Be. Stopped. It's BAD.

I digress.

So here are a few other pics of how I organize my centers when they aren't in use. I have these tubs  from Wal-Mart and I made some little labels for each tub. I can store 2 months work in one HUMONGOUS binder and it fits in the storage bin. Each binder pocket has 1 product inside. So, they're may be more than 1 center inside of the pocket. Actually, there IS more than one center in each pocket, but I immediately know what it is just by looking at the first page through the pocket. 

I am working on some stickers that I can attach to the outside of each pocket, just in case I have a mental lapse.  But for now, this is working SO much better than the previous storage method. I LOVE those binder pockets. LOVE LOVE LOVE. There's just something about seeing my stuff all organized nice and neat and EASILY ACCESSIBLE!!!

It is now June 25th. I have literally been working daily since school let out on May 25th to get all of my stuff organized. I am thisclosetobeingdone. Then I can focus my efforts on ..... BACK TO SCHOOL!!

Hope this helped! Happy organizing!

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