Thursday, July 11, 2013

5 Organizing Essentials for Your Speech Room

Let's face it.  We all wish could be more organized.  Even the most organized people I know are constantly looking for ways to change and revamp their systems.  For me, organization (especially at work) just makes me breathe easier.  Yes, you can have a method to your madness or an "organized" mess and still be a fantastic therapist!

However, here are a few reasons why I think it's important to have an orderly speech room:
  • I know where things are.  How many times has your principal or supervisor asked you for a piece of paper that you couldn't put your hands on right away?  I hate it when that happens.  I know it's somewhere on my desk buried in one of the stacks of random papers that always seem to make their way to my speech room.  Ha.
  • I get more accomplished.  When I have a system in place, I stay on top of my planning and paperwork.  I don't have to spend precious time looking for things or constantly going through stacks of papers.
  • I'm not embarrassed when faculty or parents come in.  Sometimes teachers or other faculty drop in to ask me questions.  It's a little embarrassing when they say, "Wow, your desk is as bad as mine."  I also want to look "put-together" when parents come in for a meeting or conference.
  • I'm a more confident therapist.  Just having a nice and neat space with all of my materials set out and papers in place makes me a little more confident in my skills and abilities as an SLP.
  • It makes me happier.  There's a noticeable difference in my attitude on days when I come in to a clean empty desk and days when I come in to craziness.  
DISCLAIMER:  Some days will be crazy.  Sometimes your desk and room will be messy.  That's just life.  Don't beat yourself up about it.  I just try to clean up, get my system back in place, and start fresh the next day.  :)


So today, I'm here to share with you 5 organizing products that have made my life SO much easier!  Check em out.

1.   Dollar store baskets


Have you been to the dollar store lately?  They have some really great containers and baskets that you can snag for (you guessed it) a dollar!  I spray painted mine black to match my room decor and use them to store different centers and small games.  Plus, they look so cute in my closet and on my shelves. :)

2.   Hanging pockets



I heart my hanging pockets.  I use them to store artic worksheets and practice sheets by sound as well as language folders by grade.  It makes it easy for me to tell my kiddos to grab something quickly.

3.   Bulletin boards/Magnet boards


Does your classroom come with a mini bulletin board?  Or perhaps a magnetic white board?  If so, make use of that space!  I use both my bulletin board and white board to hang notes, due dates, to-do lists, reminders, etc.  I put some of my lists in frames and use them as wipe/erase.  I can easily take them off and on and keep revamping my lists.

4.   Little plastic drawers


What would I do without my little drawers?  You can grab these drawers at your local Wal-Mart or Target.  The Container Store even has some fancy ones that you can find here.  I use these to keep the paperwork off my desk and in a safe place.  It's especially beneficial when you have stacks of papers to file.  Some of the paperwork is confidential, so you don't want it laying around your desk.  These help keep them out of sight but easy to get to.  Each drawer is clearly labeled with what goes inside, which leads me to my next essential item...

5.   Labels!


I did not realize the power of labels until last school year.  I'm telling you, they will change your life lol.  When things are labeled you are 98.3% more likely to put an item back in the right place (ok, I totally made that stat up, but it's probably close!).  I label my drawers, containers, baskets, file folders, everything I can.  People probably think I've gone a little label crazy.  ;)

The pictured labels are what I'm planning to use for my paperwork drawers for next year.  I use some of them now but found that I needed to divide it up even further with more drawers.  If you're wondering what each means:

  • Outgoing - things that are to be delivered to our SpEd center or another school
  • To file - obvious...things that go in students' IEP folders or in my file cabinet
  • To complete - forms I need to fill out or papers that I didn't get to finish
  • To send home - paperwork that needs to be sent home with students
  • To copy - papers that need to be copied 
  • Working - half-completed testing protocols, teacher checklists, or other things I'm working on
  • Urgent - Things that need to be done like NOW.  My goal is to not have things in this drawer.  If an emergency came up, I just want to know where these papers are
  • Misc. - Any other paper that comes across my desk.

My goal is to go through my drawers on Fridays to make sure I am keeping up with everything.  We'll see if that actually happens.  Lol.

**You can grab these cute paperwork labels for free HERE!  :)  Hope they come in handy!

I know that not all of us school-based SLPs are blessed with a big, elaborate classroom all to ourselves.  My first several years I shared a small space with 2 other people, so I know what it's like to have to make do with what ya got.  Fortunately, I now have a nice space to use for speech.  How do you make use of YOUR space?  What kinds of things are "essential" for you to stay organized at work?

29 comments:

  1. Thanks for the organization ideas Lauren! I will try then for this next school year! Enjoy your summer!
    Kathy

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    1. Of course, Kathy! I hope some of these ideas work out for you! :)

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  2. I start my CF in an elementary school in a few weeks and I wanted to thank you for these awesome tips! I have tons of therapy materials, but no idea how to organize them all. Now I know exactly what I'm going to do!! Thanks!!!

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    1. No problem, Anne! Good luck with your CF! Hope some of these help you! :)

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  3. I have a very small space at one school. My room is always a mess and I hate it! This may work for me - in part. Thank you!

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    1. Girl, I know how it is to have a small space! It sometimes helps to hang things and utilize any wall space as much as you can. Hope some of this helps!

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  4. Thank you for your ideas! I am moving into a different room this year and will have to revamp my organization system as the placement of furniture and wall space is very different...

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    1. Sure! Sometimes it's fun arranging a new space. :) Good luck with it!

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  5. Come in and organize my room for me this fall, okay???!!! :)

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    1. Haha! Sure thing! You can just skype me in! Lol

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  6. Fabulous ideas!!!! I too am going to start my CF in a few weeks and don't know what our office is like, but I'm already thinking of ways to organize! Haha. I was wondering what labelings you use for your cute baskets, other than 'listening?' Thanks!

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    1. Thanks! Congrats on starting your CF! My basket labels on my shelves are for my centers. The ones I have are: motor, emotion, listening, game, writing, building. You can check out my previous post on centers here: http://busybeespeech.blogspot.com/2013/02/lets-race-articulation-centers.html. Maybe I'll update the picture so that it shows the rest of the centers :)

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  7. Thanks for the ideas! I am sharing my space with a person this upcoming year (vs. A storage and lending library) and have to move everything around. I plan on taking advantage of this and get organized!

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    1. No problem! Hope some of these ideas come in handy! Good luck organizing!

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  8. Thanks for the ideas! Where did you get your hanging pockets? Are they letter sized? I think this would help me tremendously!

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    1. I got these at the container store. I find they're better for folders than paper, since the papers usually bend forward inside them. I'm sure you could find a larger version at a school supply store. :) Glad you liked the ideas!

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  9. I read your post on centers earlier and I plan to implement them this year. Now I know how to organize my materials. Thanks.

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  10. I'm loving all of your organization posts! I am starting my CF this school year and I just went through my room for the first time... I'm inheriting a bunch of great stuff, but a bunch of junk too! Looking forward to putting your tips in action to help me get things organized. Thanks!!
    Visit me at http://slpmsb.blogspot.com/ :)

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    1. Congrats on starting your CF! Hope some of these ideas make your life a little easier. :)

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  11. Hi Lauren!

    Love the organization ideas. I tried to click on the dropbox link for the labels, but an error message kept coming up. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

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    1. Hmm the link seems to be working for me. It does take a long time to load sometimes thought, so maybe just wait it out? If you keep having trouble, just email me (busybeespeech@gmail.com) and I'll send you a copy. :)

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  12. I'm just curious, what is the list that is framed under your calendar? I love the idea of putting lists in frames to make them dry erase, so I was wondering what that was!

    Thanks!

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    1. Oh, that's my IEP calendar. All of my IEP due dates are on it, and I just cross them off once they've been held. :) I love lists in frames too!

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  13. Hi Lauren,

    Love your blog! Do you have any ideas of where to find the hanging pockets like you have pictured for artic/language activities? Where did you get yours? I am looking to get some but haven't had much luck on websites. Thinking of just going into stores and showing them a picture of it!!

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    1. Hey Emily! I got these pockets from The Container Store, but you might be able to find some more school-type ones at a school supply store somewhere. These actually are good for folders but not so great for papers, since they tend to fold over. Thanks for following my blog! :)

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  14. I'm bilingual and itinerant and often in closets or pods or other places, so I use a lot of your tips, but instead of drawers and baskets I have activities and homework sheets and data sheets in labeled file folders in a skill box that can be tucked under my arm and go anywhere. Thanks for the tips!

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  15. No matter what your methods are, what's important is that you get to enjoy the benefits of organized files. And that is: compartmentalizing with style. Congratulations in accomplishing all these! I truly hope you'd keep to it!
    Ruby @ Williams Data Management

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  16. Hi Lauren,
    I'm a little late to this post, but what kind of things are in your language hanging files?

    Thanks!
    Mallory

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