* This was a guest post I wrote for Home Sweet Speech Room but here it is again in case you missed it
A place for everything and everything in its place. Isn’t that a lovely thought. In reality thought, it becomes more like organized chaos and hoping that what your looking for is where you think you left it. So how can we tame our rooms? Here are a few easy ways to set up your speech room to make things easier to find and manage.
Cabinets and Shelves
If you have cabinets in your room, you are a lucky SLP! These are great space savers and easy to organize. If not, no worries. If you have a book shelf it will work just as well. I recommend allocating each shelf for a specific area: artic, language, games, books, etc. Since these tend to have a good amount of height and depth between the shelves you can maximize the space quite well. Start by using a piece of masking tape with the shelf type ( artic, language, etc ) written on it. Then simply sort your materials onto the proper shelves. If you have enough height you can use mesh, wire bins that you can get from Target, Walmart, Office Max, etc. These can be stackable and great storage for little items in these spaces like extra chipper chat chips, dry erase markers, card decks, etc.
If the cabinets or shelves in your office are metal you can use that your advantage as well. You can find little magnets at just about any craft store. They come with and without adhesive, use the without adhesive kind. Even though they are small, they have holding power. If you have any Fun Decks ( those great activity cards from Super Duper ) that you frequently use, you can use the magnets to place them on the outside of your cabinet or bookshelf for quick, easy access. Over the door shoe organizers are also great for storing Fun Decks. Here is a post from Speech Room News for a great example.
If you do not have cabinets or shelves in your room you can find some great deals on plastic shelving units at Walmart. I got some right after I graduated and they are still in one piece.
It can sound like a no brainer but labeling your filing cabinets is a huge help. Make sure that each cabinet is labeled with what it holds: screening and testing forms, student files, handouts, etc. It really does help when your in a hurry.
Storing TpT Materials
I love the activities I get from TpT! How can we store them since they don’t come in nice, sturdy boxes you can stack up? I have seen a couple of ways of storing them that I really like. First off, LAMINATE! I know laminating sheets can be expensive by it is worth it. You can find great deals on them at wholesale stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. Next place your activity in either a gallon, ziploc bag or large manila envelope. If you use the envelope, tape or staple the cover page of the activity to the outside of it so you can find it quickly.
So you are all laminated and bagged, now what? First, decide how you want your activities grouped, all language, all artic, seasonal, etc. Here are some great examples of how to store your activities.
1. You can use plastic milk crates to organize your activities. Just put a label on each crate so you know what it holds: artic, pronouns, pragmatics…
2. You can get some awesome Rubbermaid bins that have an inner lip. They are great for holding file hangers. You can put your file hangers in the bin and the activities in the file hangers. I like these containers because they come with lids, so if you travel these are great. Crazy Speech World has a great post about using these, check it out HERE.
We all know that table. Kidney table, horseshoe table, table where you spend 95% of your day, etc. Keep a small basket with post its, markers/crayons, pens, pencils, scissors, and glue sticks on it for quick easy access. The less you have to get up for items the better.
Getting some stackable, mesh, wire baskets can help keep the clutter way down. Busy Bee Speech has some cute and free labels you can use to help organize and keep things in there place. Click HERE to check them out. If you have a bulletin board make sure you tack up important phone numbers and contact information, calendars, flyers, etc. You can get some really cute thumb tacks to use too, because hey, we still want our rooms to be cute 🙂