Back to school time is a great time to get organized in your classroom. In this post, I collected all of my favorite organization and storage tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your classroom space. Enjoy!

Shoebox Plastic Bins with Lids

It is unreal how many of these shoebox bins I own, BUT they are so functional in special education classrooms. Here they are in a pack of 12 on Amazon, but they are everywhere and they are CHEAP! The photos above show our workbox station and table time station using my seasonal clothespin tasks. Below is how I organized our classroom supplies and my math clip strips.

Large Plastic Bins with Lids

I have always taught based on themes, so I switch out a lot of items monthly based on the holiday or season. I store all seasonal/holiday related items in larger Sterilite bins (like these ones) and use these FREE labels

One you get a bunch of work tasks created, you can organize those as well using larger plastic bins (like in the above photo) and these FREE labels. I always created LOTS of workboxes at the beginning of the year and I stored them in plastic baggies these 16 qt. bins so it was super easy to switch them out once a student mastered a task or once it needed to be rotated from their independent work station. This helped SO much when I got a new student or when a student had a new IEP goal. I never had to recreate the wheel. I just went to the specific skill tub and pulled the tasks I needed.

Plastic Bins (from Target)

I love these colorful bins from the Target Dollar spot! You can find them online here if you aren’t having any luck finding them in the store. I used them to organize student independent work stations.

Plastic Drawers

Of course no special education classroom independent work station is complete without these plastic drawers. I grabbed all of these at a flea market for basically pennies!

Click here to read about independent work stations.

Paper Tray Organizers

If you haven’t been able to score these for FREE when other teachers purge from their classrooms, you can find them here. I used them to organize our construction paper, and make it a work station for students to organize the paper! They LOVED this activity!

Astrobrights Paper

Honestly, I use Astrobrights for everything! I always stock up on these packs at the beginning of the year since I color code my students to help me stay organized all year!

Read more about color-coding your classroom for MAXIMUM organization!

Mail Organizers

Another item I always like to stock up on are mail organizers (similar one found here). They are awesome for organizing binders and workbooks at different stations. I used them at our independent binder stations and writing stations. The students just grabbed their assigned color and got to work.

Read more about our math rotations where I used these binders!

Command Hooks & Book Rings

Oh, the love I have for handing things on walls and on the back of shelves around the classroom to save space.

Here are the hooks I use that press into the wall like a thumbtack (shown below).

Here’s the link to the book rings I use to hang the books and strips!

Clipboards

I always stocked up on clipboards from the Dollar Tree for my data collection set-up.

Click here to see my Special Educator Everything Binder that holds all my favorite data sheets!

Small Baskets

I love stocking up on small baskets to hold manipulatives and smaller tasks like the counting books from my One to One Correspondence pack. These baskets are from the Dollar Tree (similar ones found here).

Click here to read about even more HANDS ON Counting Math Activities!

Dish Buckets

These dish buckets from the Dollar Tree are the perfect size to house file folders, flipbooks, and really ANYTHING to organize your teacher time or independent work centers. I used these FREE labels to organize by skill.

A lot of the tasks shown above are from my reading seasonal file folders, math seasonal file folders and my flipbook task bundle!

Click here for a tour of my classroom from a few years ago!

Iris Project Cases

I love using project cases (found here) to organize all of my sensory bin materials so I can quickly find the filler I’m looking for when I’m putting together a new bin.

Iris File Bins

For folders I wanted to keep closer to me for teacher time, I always loved using these desktop file boxes. For reading and math rotations, I would use file folders at teacher time while my students were learning the skill, and then they would see them again in their independent work stations after they mastered the skill. This routine was great to ensure they maintained the skill after they learned it with me.

I LOVE FILE FOLDER ACTIVITIES! Click here to read all of the different ways I organize my file folders!

Clear Zip Envelopes

These clear zip bags (found here) are great for holding center materials.

I love creating magnetic sorting centers using bulletin boards or a DIY magnet center using a drip pan.

Click here to see some other fun unconventional centers for your classroom!

Jewelry Organizers

Jewelry organizers (similar here) can be used to organize so many small items we use in the classroom: alphabet clothespins (shown below), PECS, schedule cards, or mini erasers. I found this one at the Dollar Tree!

Cardboard Book Bins

Plastic Book Bins

I use plastic book bins to organize our file folders by skill area. You can find similar ones here.

Read more about file folder organization here.

I also used book bins to organize my weekly lesson plan materials (Iris connecting book bins shown above).

Locker Bins

Art will always be a favorite of mine! These bins are from the Dollar Tree (similar ones found here). We prepped everything ahead of time in the bins for the week so we don’t even have to think about it each day. Most of the activities we prepped came from my Easy Art Packs, but of course we did lots of other art activities as well. Our Made For Me Literacy units come with so many fun crafts as well! I made sure all materials needed were in the bin so I didn’t have to scramble right before we did the activity. I stored all other art materials in plastic containers underneath for easy access.

Click here to read more about how to prep your Art and Writing Activities for the WHOLE Year!

Lakeshore Bins

These neon bins from Lakeshore are more of a splurge but they are great for storing items you might not want showing (personal student items, diapers, wipes, clothes, etc.) and they are super sturdy!

Photo Boxes

Photo boxes are the perfect size for flashcards and tasks!

These rainbow colored photo boxes are perfect for holding the Task Boxes from our Made for Me Literacy Unit.

Stackable Iris Bins

These stackable bins from Iris are great for manipulatives you want available for students.

Pocket Charts

I love pocket charts for displaying our story map for the week.

Click here for a FREE story map!

I used the pocket chart shown below to pull folders for students a day or two a head of time so I could be prepared for a sub or if I need to pull more tasks in a pinch. I had the students names on labels, along with a summary of their IEP goals as a reminder on tasks had to work and we needed to collect data on on per their IEP goals. This was SUPER helpful for my TA’s!

Rain Gutter Bookshelves

There are a ton of tutorials for creating your own rain gutter bookshelves. Very cost effective and SO SO CUTE!

Magnetic Bookshelves

These magnetic bookshelves from Lakeshore are perfect for displaying your Story Time books for the month!

File Crates

File crates (similar found here) are so functional in the classroom and they are easy on the wallet! Use them to organize paper, paperwork, file folders, or even as finished bins for your independent work stations.

Binders

I use binders to house all data and student information. All of forms can be found here in my Special Educator’s Everything Binder. You can stock up on packs of binders online here or at Sam’s Club/Costco!

Binder Dividers

I use a huge binder with plastic dividers from the Dollar Tree to keep my students data sheets (found here), upcoming lessons/work, and their finished work went on the back side. On the data sheets, I generally put what we worked on each day and jotted down notes about their progress. The simple sheet was my favorite, and I used it throughout most the rotations to keep track of progress. Once a sheet was full, it went in the student’s individual data binders, along with copies of any important work samples.

Folders

Office Max usually has folders for a penny over the summer so stock up! Add some color coded labels using Astrobrights and you can reuse them year after year. I used these folders for morning work, parent/teacher communication sheets, homework folders, etc.

Veggie Trays

Veggie trays from the Dollar Tree are great for organizing art materials or playdoh activity trays!

Magnetic Drip Pan

Goodness, this is one of my FAVORITE centers! Click here for a tutorial for a DIY Magnet Board.

Post-it Notes

Honestly, when it comes to organizing tasks or anything that is hidden from plain view, don’t worry about making everything look Pinterest perfect. Post-its are quick and easy and do the job!

Manila Envelopes

Large envelopes are great for storing extra Easy Art craft pieces we already prepped or any worksheets that are leftover from the year.

Tape

Tape is the easiest way to add visual boundaries in the classroom. I love this multicolored pack!

Ikea Cutlery Trays

These cutlery trays are from Ikea. They are great for assembly tasks!

Ikea Sorting Buckets

I got these from ikea and they were perfect for a standing sorting center!

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special education classroom organization tips and tricks
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