5 Simple Tips to Get You More Organized {with Kim from For a Love of Teaching}

Hi Friends!  It's Kim from For a Love Teaching, and I'm excited to share with you my 5 Simple Tips to Get You More Organized!  I'm sure by now that some of you have made some fantastic New Year Resolutions!  If getting more organized happens to be one of them - then you are in luck!  This is the last day of our "Get Organized" linky, so be sure to check out the previous 5 posts from my talented friends and bloggers here at Elementary Entourage!  Check out the linky, too!  You'll find some more awesome bloggers with great ideas for organization!  And...go ahead and link up with us!  We'd love to read your ideas on organization, creativity and planning!

So, on to my first tip for organization! (my personal favorite) ;)

Organize your pens!

Okay, okay...I know not everyone has a pen fetish like I do, but we all have pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, etc.  In the picture above I used my Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About. This amazing little organizer for kitchen tools sat on my counter for 2 years before I realized that I had a better use for it! Only a teacher would look at a kitchen tool organizer and say "Hey, I could use that in my classroom!"  I quickly snatched all the kitchen tools out of it, threw them back into the drawer (where they were just fine to begin with), and rushed to my classroom to organize my pens, markers, highlighters, and pencils!  Oh, how happy this made me!  It didn't make me nearly this happy sitting at home on the counter with kitchen tools in it!  Plus, it freed up space on my counter.  These are fairly inexpensive when in comes to Pampered Chef products.  Grab one at the next party you're invited to, and get organized! Or, you can order one here.  I'm secretly thinking I'm probably one of the few that actually gets a kick out of this! Ha!

Organize your teacher bag!

I actually saw this tip on Pinterest a few summers ago and immediately had to try it!  I'm so glad I did, because this bag has been a life saver!  The tote in the picture is an older product from Thirty-One. Now, you can get this organizing tote with a zip-top, so I plan on upgrading soon!  I found a plastic file caddy and inserted it into the bag (which fit perfectly). Then, I added hanging file folders with tabs.

As you can see in the picture, I labeled them to fit my needs as I knew this bag would travel with me back and forth to school each day.  I stick my planner in the front, and my laptop even fits in the back! In the 7 organizing pockets, I added Post-It Notes, paperclips, rubber bands, pens, pencils, highlighters, and anything else I thought I might need at home.

Honestly, I can't live without this bag! My other "teacher bags" doesn't allow me to organize like this one does, and everything just gets dumped inside rather than nicely organized. Thirty-One is running a January special on their newest Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote, so find a rep if you're interested, or go here to order one today!

Organize your classroom!

Okay, I can't take credit for this one, but I'm so glad one of my best friends (which just happens to be an amazingly organized teacher on my team) came up with this one!  These super organized drawers belong to Monica from NC Teacher Chick.  She teaches 4th grade with me at my school, and she loves organization just as much as I do! We recently received $100 to spend in our classrooms from our wonderful PTO at my school, so you can guess what I plan on purchasing with it! :)  I love how she has these drawers labeled.  Everything has a special place, so no more teacher desk and shelf clutter!

This awesome little organizer is a 10 Drawer Multicolored Rolling Cart from Big Lots. It comes at a great price, is very sturdy, and takes only a few minutes to assemble. If you'd like one for your classroom, you can find them here! I can't wait until mine arrives!

Organize your files!

No, I don't mean in a filing cabinet either!  What is that anyway?!?  Seriously, I rarely even open my one and only filing cabinet, because everything I use to teach is found digitally on my computer. I often see teacher laptops with their desktops cluttered in files with no home! It literally make my heart start pounding, and I instantly want to introduce that teacher to "file folders" on their computer! Without organization of my files I would never be able to find anything! However, this isn't something that you can sit down and do quickly.  It takes time and careful consideration of each file placement.  Even with my files organized I still find myself moving and replacing files to better locations.  So, yes it's always a work in progress, but I can easily find anything I'm looking for! :)

Here's my reading file. I created folders for each standard, novel units for each quarter, and files that I would frequently use but might get lost if I put them into another folder.  The bottom is an example of what my folder for 4.RL looks like.  I have it broken down into individual standards within that strand. So, if I'm looking for a lesson on Point of View, Theme, or Drawing Inferences I can easily find it! Everything I have for a particular standard is included in one file and not spread out all over my computer.

Same goes for math! I have a file for each domain, assessment resources, task cards, INB's, etc.  The bottom is an example of folder 4.OA.  I have it broken down into files that match skills for the standards found in 4.OA.  This makes it so easy to find anything I'm looking for when I'm planning a math lesson.

In Science, I break down my units. In North Carolina we have state essential standards that we must follow, so my folders are labeled with each topic.  Activities and unit plans that meet those particular standards are included within each topic folder.  So, when I teach Rocks & Minerals I have one folder where everything I need is located! 

In Social Studies, it was easier for me to arrange by quarter.  At my school, we rotate teaching Science and Social Studies, so it's handy to have everything I need for each quarter in one folder.  It's a great "Quarter at a Glance," too! In the example above, I can easily see everything I need to cover in Social Studies for Quarter 1.  This helps tremendously with planning! 

I have to add that I also have many of these files for Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies printed and placed into 3-ring binders in my classroom.  I originally printed everything, but quickly realized that it made more sense to print one time, place printed activities into a binder, and copy from that the following year!  This saves LOTS of printer ink year after year!

Organize your clip art!

Even if you're not a TpT seller, you still have clip art!  You're a teacher, and all teachers I know LOVE clip art! If you're addicted to clip art like I am then you have a lot of files to organize!!! Without proper placement of your clip art into files, you're likely to have a hard time finding what you need. I'm going to share how I organize my clip art, but if you have a better way I'd love to hear about it!  I'm constantly rearranging and reorganizing clip art into files. I keep all my clip art in my picture library. This may not be the best place, but it works for me! :) 

As you can see, Creative Clips, Glitter Glue and Melonheadz are special and get their own file folder! Yes, I have an obsession with their clip art!!! :) In my Borders & Frames folder, I have them arranged by type so it's easy to find what I'm looking for.  *Side note: I always include the artist's logo in each individual file of clip art. This make it easy when I give credit in my products.

Clip art can become a nightmare if you have a lot!  I have SO MUCH clip art! You can't tell it in the picture above though, because they are all housed in their own special folder. Most are arranged by topic which makes it easy to find anything I'm looking for.  Creative Clips, Glitter Glue, and Melonheadz isn't even located here (and I have a ton from those amazing artists)!  I'm so familiar with their clip art, and since I use it the most they get their own special folder! :)

If you signed up for Krista Walden's Creative Clips VIP Fall Membership she shared an excellent way to organize all her clip art into folders. It was SO helpful! She shared ways that I had never even thought of before!  

Well, that's it!  I hope my organizing tips have been helpful!  If you have better suggestions or ideas I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.  I know this post was long, so if you're still reading THANK YOU! 

Don't forget to link up with us below, and share you're tips for getting organized in 2015!!!


  1. You are so organized! It doesn't surprise me at all! I love the post! Good luck during the second semester:-) xoxo

  2. I miss your super organized team! I learned so much from you all when I worked with you and Monica! My summer to do list is to organize my computer files! I keep my school ones organized by year and topic but I am starting to think I need a better system. Thanks for sharing all of your tips!

  3. This is a great post! I love that we are on the same team. Our organization helps us maintain our sanity, for sure! Thanks for sharing all of your tips!

    NC Teacher Chick

  4. Kim,

    I'm moving to NC so you can help me get organized ASAP. You do it so effortlessly! :)
    Mrs. Dailey's Classroom

  5. I LOVE those labels on the drawers. Do you know where she got them from?