Organization is crucial to running an efficient, orderly classroom. Because businesses understand teachers' --all people's, really--need for organization, they produce and sell containers...some for quite a bit of money. They do not have to cost a lot of money, though.
Here are a few ideas of places to find cheap containers to organize your classroom....
#1: Wash out water bottles and put sets of colored pencils in them. Throw in a tiny pencil sharpener, and you have sets of supplies ready to pass around when the time calls for a bit of arts and crafts.
#2: Save coffee cans, wrap them in paper or paint them, and label them with whatever supplies you need to store. Label one with sharp pencils and one with dull pencils. When students need a new pencil during class, they drop off the old and pick up a new one.
#3: Keeping a classroom garden? Take a used Tide bottle and wash it out thoroughly. Then drill holes in the cap and use it as a watering can.
#4: Take Coffeemate canisters and wash them out after you are done with them. Peel off the label and you have another see through container to store supplies in. A quick aside....I used to have my middle school students spit their gum in one. I left the used gum jar on my desk all year long. Students were grossed out, but it amused most of them to no end. The collection grew throughout the year in front of their eyes. They didn't complain about adding to the sticky petri dish because it appealed to their pubescent sense of humor. One student actually begged me to let him keep it at the end of the year.
#5: Spray paint used Pringles cans after they are empty and rinsed out. Then keep math manipulatives inside of them.
#6: Save used spice jars and store tiny art supplies inside: glitter, tiny stickers, sequence, beads, etc.
Have ideas of your own to share? Please add them in the comment sections. In today's economy, finding ways to save money and recycle is good for the land, our classrooms and our pocketbooks!