avoiding the chaos of piles...


My classroom organization motto is "a place for everything and everything in its place!" And I find it fairly easy to keep up with manipulatives and classroom supplies, but I used to struggle with papers...especially papers I didn't plan on receiving. As day after day of teaching continued, unexpected papers would create a pile of chaos. Typically the only thing that would force me to address the piles was preparation for a substitute. And even then, sometimes I would just scoop the pile from my desk to a cabinet. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who is guilty of that bad habit!) Anyways, last year I created a file crate that eliminated the chaos of piles.
The crate contains laminated file folders (zebra and polka dot, of course!) labeled for everything from absent work to class rosters. Here's a view of my different labels...
This file crate sits on a short bookcase behind my podium. I can easily access a needed file for unexpected papers. If the paper needs addressed by the end of the day, then the file stays on my podium. I sort through files and accomplish necessary tasks after school before returning files to the crate.

So how do you stay organized from day to day?!? Please leave a comment to share your organizational tip! No tip is too small. :)

This post is included in the Middle School Math Sunday Funday collaboration of posts from middle school math teachers!

Next week's topic will be...
classroom management!
Stay tuned for my secret to managing a middle school math classroom.

Have a great week...make it count!


  1. Please link up your post to my page! I love your oganizational system and I will definitely be taking your tips and refining my methods!

    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

    Ms. Wood
    Hootin’ Around the Classroom

    Hootin’ Around the Classroom Paper Organization Tips Linky

    1. Definitely! Thanks for sharing your link. :)

  2. Okay, I am going to getthis organized this week and see if I can get this paper thing under control. I may even buy fun polka dot file folders just because!

    Thanks for the tip
    Hodges Herald

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! Let me know how this works for you!

  3. Anonymous9/16/2012

    This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to find! I have several cabinets, but I think having a crate *right there* will make it so much easier to get those unexpected papers under control. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. You are welcome! I hope this helps you as much as it did wonders for my crazy piles. ;)

  4. Hi Lisa:
    I am just getting caught up on blogging and I came across this post. I have always worried that my house--or my classroom--would sink under the weight of all of those papers!
    Your organization is so inspiring. If I could make an organizer as cute as yours, I might actually put something away...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade