Puzzles and glue sticks and googly eyes! Oh my! If you have counting bears and pipe cleaners cluttering your shelves, follow this 11-step process to organize your preschool materials!
All those little pieces need to go somewhere! It might work to put all the Legos into a single large bin, but what about the popsicle sticks, dice, and die cut pieces? Try throwing all of those into a just one large tote and you’re going to have a mess on your hands.
You can find all kinds of boxes, baskets, and bins at Dollar Tree and at Costco. At Dollar Tree everything is literally just $1.00 so you can buy storage containers of all sizes for very little money. Thrift stores may be another great place to look for storage options. You can also cover shoe boxes and tissue boxes with wrapping paper or contact paper and make some recycled organizing solutions.
Before you shop for bins, though, take inventory of what your need to store. This can turn into a lengthy project, but the time, stress, and money it will save you in the long run makes it well worth your time.
- Make a list of the categories in your preschool room. (math center, circle time, music and movement, cleaning supplies, etc.)
- Remove all your supplies from where you currently have them stashed.
- Categorize them into where they are MOST likely to be used.
- Write down a list of what you have and the quantity of each item:
- Counting bears, 64
- Hand sanitizer, 25 3-oz. bottles
- Construction paper, various colors, 350 pages
- Scarves, 9
- Group similar items together in each category so that they can be stored in the same container. For example, in the math center, group the math manipulatives together, the measuring instruments together, the pattern blocks and tangrams together, etc.
- Study the categories and determine the sizes and numbers of storage containers you are likely to need. Write these estimates down, you will need them while you are shopping!
- Measure your storage space and figure out how you can arrange the boxes, baskets, and bins for 1. Safety, 2. Easy access, and 3. Logistics—How do they fit together? You can create more storage by installing shelves or cabinets on the walls.
- THEN, shop for the container you need to organize all your preschool materials or create your own containers.
- Organize all your preschool supplies into your containers. Be sure to label the shelves, and the containers with a Sharpie or a sticky label.
- You might also consider drawing a map of where things are stored.
- Keep your inventory list up to date as you use up or replace your supplies or as things wear out, and when you buy something new, add it to the inventory list, and to your storage map.
This 11-step process will help you to organize all your preschool materials and keep them organized.