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You guys. I may have discovered a classroom organizational game changer! And it only took 11 years of frustration, messy files, and bulky binders!
Before I share this new tool, let me give you a glimpse at what my hanging files looked like YESTERDAY. Now, before you judge, please keep in mind that I took on a new teaching position last year AND was on maternity leave for 3 months of the year. Not exactly the best combo for master organization. So naturally, I threw almost everything into leftover file folders and scribbled the month name on the front with a Sharpie. I know, right? Gasp! (Although I’m hoping most of you can relate at least a little.)
After EIGHT full years of a success with these beautiful babies, here are some brand new cover options! My same cases are still going strong but I wanted an update to match by new Boho Rainbow classroom theme from Schoolgirl Style.
Here are some more brand new options!
So here are a few reasons why traditional 3-ring binders have NOT worked for me over the years:
1) You have to hole punch master papers to fit inside.
(Ain’t nobody got time for that.) OR
2) You have to put Every. Single. Paper into a page protector to place inside, meaning you have to take papers out and put them back in the sticky little sleeves every time you want to copy something.
(Once again, ain’t nobody got time for that.)
So why not hanging files, you might ask? They’ve practically been around since the age of the dinosaurs! Here’s why NOT:
1) They ALWAYS end up looking like my horrendous “Before” picture above.
2) They’re not big enough for teaching examples, read alouds, task cards, etc.
3) They’re not exactly portable and stuff almost always falls or hangs out.
(You know this if you’ve ever tried to stuff some in your teacher bag.)
So, what is the MAGICAL solution? HERE IT IS!
Project Cases or Document Cases! You can find them on Amazon, Walmart.com, Target.com and at select office supply stores. Iris is the brand and style I recommend that is the best value as packs of 6 or 10!
The links below will fit in some filing cabinets or stack on a shelf (make sure to measure yours first!) My project cases are still going strong EIGHT years later!
If you don’t need the full set, I’m sure you might find a teacher friend who’d be willing to split the set with you.
***The exact style shown in these photos has been discontinued, but I have sets of the following updated styles in my classroom that I love just as much!***
(Best for master copies, unit plans, etc.)
(Best for full units, read alouds, task cards, anchor chart pieces, etc.)
Here’s why project cases are AMAZING and I’ll never go back to binders and files:
1) You can fit standard, individual files inside for specific subjects/classes.
2) They hold A LOT more than paper.
3) They’re sturdy.
4) They’re portable. (Mine have little handle slots to carry.)
5) You can fit them into EITHER a file cabinet if you take out the metal tracks OR
shelve them just like binders.
6) Your papers fit inside snugly and won’t slide down or get squashed.
7) NO page protectors or hole punching!
Here’s what you need if you’d like to put some together.
These materials depend on how fancy you’d like them to look.
Want these BEAUTIFUL “Watercolor Blooms” Covers to edit with your own subjects?
After customizing your binder covers with the subjects you’d like, print them onto card stock. You might choose to use one box per month, one per subject, or one per theme. Then, you can either laminate and tape the covers onto the front of the boxes OR stick on with clear contact paper. I used contact paper since I happened to have a ton on hand.
You’ll also want to print address labels, some to stick on the spines of your boxes, and some to stick on the individual file folders inside. The file folders fit perfectly inside the box! My daughter, Ellie, stuck all the file folder ones on for me! Didn’t she do a fabulous job?!
You can choose to put the spine labels on whatever edge you’d like. Since I’m planning to put mine in a file cabinet, I put my labels on the right side handles.
Here are all the things that fit inside! Below is my “February” box:
Ta Da!!!!! Did anyone just hear angels singing, or was it just me?!
Check out how beautifully they fit inside EITHER my file cabinet OR a shelf/cabinet!
(Tip: If you’re planning to put them into a file cabinet, take out one or both of the metal tracks so that they fit. Also, make sure to measure the dimensions of your file cabinets because there are many different sizes!)
Hope you love this new idea and find it useful! Comment below with your favorite organizational tips and tools!