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When I first started teaching, I found myself in a similar situation as Ryan, a physics and engineering teacher.
I had inherited a stockroom filled with a mishmash of untouched items from the previous teacher’s 15-year tenure.
It felt like I had stumbled upon a drafting museum! (Pretty sure the previous teacher had been “gifted” any outdated tools, supplies, and technologies.)
But fear not, with a little organization, you can conquer the chaos and find small equipment bliss.
In this blog post, I’ll share three tips that will help you transform your stockroom into a well-organized haven.
Tip 1: Set the Intention for the Space
Before diving into the actual organization process, it’s crucial to determine the purpose of the space and who will have access to it.
Ask yourself if only you will need access or if students may also require materials from the stockroom.
This decision will influence how you organize the items, making it easier for everyone to find and return them.
Additionally, consider the frequency of use. Items used more should be easily accessible, while those used infrequently can be stored higher up.
Tip 2: Embrace the Power of Clear Bins and Drawers
When organizing small equipment, clear bins are your best friends.
Unlike opaque bins, which become black holes of mystery, clear bins allow you to see exactly what’s inside.
You won’t have to waste time rummaging through many bins or rely solely on labeling.
If possible, opt for drawers instead of bins.
Drawers make it easier to access and put away items without disturbing the entire stack. If you have built-in cabinetry, use bins and drawers within them to keep everything hidden away.
Tip 3: Label with Images for Foolproof Organization
Labeling is essential for a well-organized stockroom. But why stop at words when you can use images to enhance clarity?
Embrace the concept of “Poke Yoke,” making it so simple that anyone can understand. Include both the word and a corresponding image on labels.
This way, even those unfamiliar with the equipment can easily match the picture and place items back in the correct spot.
Clip art, printed pictures, or even photographs of the items themselves can serve as clear visual cues.
For drawers, glue or tape a picture of the contents on the front, allowing you to identify what should be inside.
Recap and Conquer the Chaos!
To recap, here are the three tips to organize your stockroom for small equipment bliss:
- Set the intention: Determine who needs access to the materials and plan storage accordingly.
- Embrace clear bins and drawers: Opt for transparent containers to easily see what’s inside and consider using drawers for better accessibility.
- Label with images: Make the organization foolproof by including pictures alongside words to ensure anyone can return items to their proper place.
Following these tips, you’ll transform your stockroom into a well-organized space where finding and storing small equipment is a breeze. So roll up your sleeves, gather your clear bins and drawers, and let’s conquer the chaos together!
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