HOW I ORGANIZE LEARNING TOOLS ON A TIGHT BUDGET
I love a bargain as much as the next mom and as a mother of 6, FRUGALITY is my spirit animal. That's why when it comes to organizing and storing curriculums and supplies, I tend to pinch each penny until it whimpers. The plastic bins above are from the Dollar Tree (DO NOT PURCHASE THEM if you want them to last more than a day in your house with kids!) They seemed like a bargain at a dollar a piece and they were the perfect size but it turns out they were very brittle and easily cracked and chipped under minimal pressure. In addition, the thin and weakly made lids cracked like peanut brittle, so then I was left with bottoms without tops. Kinda hard to stack like that...
So, I went hunting at Target, expecting to pay more for better quality storage bins and was shocked to find something way better at a slightly lower price. You can buy the brand name Sterilite version of the dollar store bins for the same price! Actually, I think they're .99 each, at Target. They are advertised as shoe bins but they are truly perfect for organizing school manipulatives and they hold together well. The Sterilite construction is much sturdier and they stack beautifully with no worrisome leaning (I confidently stack them as high as 8 or 9 with the heavier weighted bins on the bottom, naturally) and the clear bins allow for easy finding without having to unstack and open each bin to see what's inside. Also, the lids are strong and hard to crack and chip, unlike the dollar store brand. They can withstand being dropped and even stepped on but they will crack if they are jumped on on a hard floor, tripped over and sat on (yup...) or if a bin is overstuffed with sharp objects (like Tangrams) and forcefully shut (don't ask...)
So, if you have a school supply closet cluttered with odd sized shoeboxes full of manipulatives or giant bins that look like cauldrons of tiny counting dinosaurs and seasonal erasers and wooden puzzle pieces gone amok, try out the Sterilite shoe bin system. It's worked great for us!
I am always on the lookout for tips, tricks, and hacks for organizing on a budget so please share your ideas in the comments and have an awesome day, mama!
*The items pictured above are from amazon, the Dollar Spot at Target, and the Dollar Tree. You can go to My Favorites Shop page for more details on where to find them.