Organizing Shelves with Color

August 7, 2016

Organizing Shelves with Color

August 7, 2016
One of my favorite part of our classroom is actually a pretty large one, but
it is truly is the hub of our classroom—our shelving units.

Last summer I was on the quest for shelving I could use throughout the classroom. I knew I wanted materials to be available for my students to access with ease…and I wanted something that would tie the whole room together and give it a homey, craft room feeling (I’m telling you, I can spend literally hours browsing craft rooms on Pinterest!). 

So I bought five of these beautiful 8 cube organizers by Better Homes and Gardens (you can find them on Walmart here) because I knew they would be able to store just about everything my students and I use each day…and they do!
We use these organizers to house manipulatives, science supplies, our classroom library, dry erase boards, markers, community supplies, clipboards, textbooks…the list goes on and on!
In order to keep it all these materials as organized as possible, I sorted the five shelving units by color. 
So five bright shades are featured on the five different shelving units, color-coded according to subject:
pink: math
orange: reading
yellow: writing
green: science
blue: social studies

I tried to find supplies that matched our needs for each subject area. So we have pink and yellow staplers for our math and writing projects:

We have sets of clipboards in pink and orange for our math and reading work:

We also use color-coded paper trays for each subject area (this is a collection I’ve been expanding this summer, I will have to show you the new trays I bought soon!):

Why Organize By Color?
Organizing these shelves by color has helped my students keep our classroom neat with ease. When it’s time to clean up, supplies get put back exactly where they belong because it’s such a basic visual.
Organizing by color is also a beautiful and soothing way to decorate. I love using brights in our class, but I never want them to be jarring or distracting. With our materials organized by color, the effect is pleasing to the eye…calming, but still bright and fun.

Where to Find Colorful Storage and Supplies
Of course every teacher is always on the lookout for storage and supplies to match their ideal color scheme…and there are so many great places to find them. One of my absolute favorite places to shop for the coordinating paper trays, pencil cups, and staplers we use in class is at Poppin. The organizational materials are high-quality and you can shop by color, making the color-coding process so much easier.
I also like to prowl Target and Walmart for their Sterilite shoe bins. You can find some great lid colors to coordinate with your scheme, especially during this back to school season. 

Color-Coding on a Budget
It has taken me years to acquire coordinating storage containers because, well, it can get a bit pricey. If you are looking to color-coordinate but save some money as well, there are a few ways to achieve this look without spending lots of money on colorful storage containers.
Sort your supplies by color: Last year I began sorting all of our fun writing and coloring supplies by color. I even sorted our cleaning wipes by the color canister (as you can see in the orange picture above)! Not only does this look really eye-catching, but it makes it easy for students to find the exact materials they need:
Shop for inexpensive containers and dress them up with labels: The basic white-lidded Sterilite container is very inexpensive (less than a dollar) at Walmart and you can stock up guilt-free (well, relatively guilt-free!). Just attach a big, colorful label on the side and you have instant coordination:

Organize with mason jars: Mason jars are a beautiful way to showcase your color-coded supplies in without being too pricey.

Calling all color-coding fans! What are you favorite things to color-code in class? Please share with us in the comments below.

Are you looking for more colorful ways to organize your upper-grade classroom? The Editable Events Calendar Set features 20 different color options to help you color-code and organize everything you and your students do each month…please click the images below to see all of the options in this resource:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Editable-Events-Calendar-Set-for-the-Upper-Grades-3253245

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Editable-Events-Calendar-Set-for-the-Upper-Grades-3253245

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Editable-Events-Calendar-Set-for-the-Upper-Grades-3253245

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Editable-Events-Calendar-Set-for-the-Upper-Grades-3253245

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