Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cute School Supplies Desk Organizer Idea!

It is the end of the school year, which means I'm spending a lot of time sifting through the leftover detritus in my room and puzzling over how things could have gotten so messy when they started out so tidy at the start of the year.  Way too much time, actually.

Given that this was my very first year in the classroom, I'm trying to assess what worked well for me and, more importantly, what did not so that it can be tweaked to be better for the next year.  There has to be a better way to do things so that you don't end up with a big pile to dig through at the end of the year, right?  But teaching week in and week out doesn't leave a lot of extra time for cleaning, organizing and thinking, so I'm trying to come up with better systems to deal with things in the day to day.

One of the things that has been incredibly irritating is how difficult it can be to corral basic office supplies so that they are readily available when you need them and not all over the place.

Initially, I tried one of those drawer organizer trays with all the little individual compartments.  The problem is that I don't really have a drawer, I just have cubbies behind my taller reference desk or bookshelves, neither of which work well with what is, essentially, a flatish tray which ends up getting covered in papers and other daily detritus making it impossible to find anything after a few weeks.

So I spent some time over the weekend combing the internet for how others have handled this.  And...voila!

I found this adorable idea for a "teacher's tool box" on the Create *Teach * Share blog, and I just had to make one for myself.  I am hoping that this will solve the problem.

Here's how I did it:

I bought a 22-drawer storage cabinet at Lowes for about $16.  It's a nice size, the sort that is usually used for screws, nails and such in a woodshop. 

We already had quite a bit of scrapbooking cardstock, so I looked through and found some sky blue remnant pieces leftover from a project The Peanut had done that were the perfect size to cut into the small drawer label sizes.  I found a plaid sheet that had some robin's egg blue that was close enough to coordinate with the plain blue.

I knew there was a reason that I kept some extra cardstock on hand in our craft closet!

According to the original blog directions, the labels need to be done as follows: 14 labels that are H 1.38" x W 2.00" and 8 labels that are H 2.12" x W 4.25".   These dimensions worked perfectly for me.

Roxie, our westie, is not pleased by craft projects that take away from her lap time.  Here she is peeking at me and asking, "Aren't you done yet?!?"

For the labels themselves, I printed the individual names out on white cardstock, using a smaller font for the small drawer labels and a larger one for the bigger drawers.  I cut the labels out with pinking shears to give them a nice serrated edge, making them smaller than the full-sized colored cardstock labels. 

Then, I attached the individual names to the pre-cut colored cardstock using some glue dots.

Once the names were attached, I taped each of the full labels to individual drawers on each side and at the bottom using Scotch invisible tape.  You can sort of see the tape on the edges of the photo above because I positioned it right in the sunshine when I pulled out the drawer to try and show you what it looked like, but you can't really see it at all looking head on at the organizer.

The whole thing ended up looking adorable:

I still have four smaller drawers that are unmarked, but I figure I will find something to put in them once we finish cleaning out my reference desk area.  It will then be an easy matter of printing out the names and then glue-dotting them on the already existing labels.

In fact, it turned out so adorable that I'm thinking about making one with The Peanut next week for her own desk to clear out some of the crazy clutter on it.  Finally a home for all those wayward glue sticks!  Also maybe one for the craft closet -- can't you just see some buttons, bits and bobs finding an organized home -- finally!!! -- instead of spilling out of little baskets here, there and everywhere?

Just had to share, figuring others out there with my obsession for school supplies would, at the very least, love having a cute place to stash them.

(Photos by Christy Hardin Smith.)


Lindsay said...

Did you just measure and cut the "labels" from the cardstock? I am the worst at cutting straight lines.

Christy Hardin Smith said...

I did -- but I used our paper cutter to do it. I got a nice, heavy-duty one at Staples made by X-Acto and I absolutely love it. It has the inch measurements on the table portion of the cutter, so you can eyeball it exactly as you are working -- and a backstop so you can get the paper flush against the back to get a straight line.

The X-Acto cutter was a little expensive up front, but it is the best paper cutter I have ever had and it works really, really well for me. I use it all the time!

I have the same problem when I'm cutting if I try to eyeball it, so this makes things much easier for me. But honestly, you can kind of get away with eyeballing it a little, I think, because a few of mine were off and I just trimmed around the edges a little to make it work, and they looked fine once they got taped down to the drawers. You really can't see any difference in size once the labels are on, because all you see is the front. Hope that helps!