If you are just starting out as a teacher, or even if you have been teaching for years, you know that being organized in the classroom is a vital aspect of achieving success. Now, I am borderline overboard when it comes to organization, and while I realized that not everyone has to be like me, I do know that at least a bit of organization it necessary.
Unless you own stock in Rubbermaid or Sterlite I don't think you are going to be too comfortable with the price tag that goes along with these containers though. I however have perfected the art of obtaining them for next to nothing and this is how:
Garage sales are a treasure trove just waiting to be picked over. Furniture and small containers are an easy find at almost every garage sale, along with books, games, and other decorative items. I love garage sales because by nature people are ready to get rid of the stuff out there. Also, most people like to help teachers, especially new teachers. I am certainly not above mentioning that I am a teacher and looking for organizational stuff for my classroom when looking around the sale. This often, but not always, ends with some kind of special deal on the items. Now, I am not saying that I am looking for a handout. I am more than happy to pay for the items that are almost always DEEPLY discounted from their original prices, but I am more than happy to accept donations too!
Along these same lines, don't be afraid to ask around with your friends, family, and neighbors. Do you know someone that is redecorating their home or is a new empty nester? These people are usually getting rid of furniture and are more than happy for you to take it off their hands and put it to use. If you know someone who is retiring from teaching make sure you talk to them too! Teachers, as a whole, love to help one another and this is no exception!
Thrift shops are similar to garage sales in that they are working to get rid of the items that they have. I have more than once been given a great deal when buying several items and mentioning that I was using them in my classroom. This is more effective when at a family owned business, and not so much at the larger chains. Either way, I have found many sets of the plastic drawers from Rubbermaid at thrift shops and Goodwills for only a couple of dollars a piece. That is a huge savings! Thrift shops almost always have tons of small containers and baskets as well.
Shop With Coupons on Follow Sales
There might be an item that you are looking for that just has to be bought new, or is hard to find otherwise. This is where sales and coupons come in handy! Subscribe to a few email flyers like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Target. All three of these stores send out great coupons and have amazing sales. Michaels in particular has frequent sales and then sends out email coupons that you can usually use on top of a sale price. This is an amazing way to purchase some of the bigger ticket items that you may not be able to find elsewhere.
One of my favorite coupons: Did you know that you can get a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby on your smartphone? Just look up Hobby Lobby coupon on your phone and show it to the cashier. This one can't be used on top of a sale, but 40% is still pretty amazing, and it is always there!
Do you have any other money saving ideas for getting your classroom organized? I would love to hear about them in the comments!