Teacher Hack: Organizing Your Paper Supplies


Everyone has that cabinet with construction paper.  It’s in a cabinet because you can close the door and not look at that mess all day.

But then you need paper.

You need black paper, and it is at the bottom of the pile.  So you tug it out, and end up folding or tearing it.  Inadvertently you have grabbed a forest green sheet as well.  You never need a forest green sheet.  It is the most despised of the papers.  You’ll always have about three pristine packs of forest green in your cabinet.  But try getting your hands on a pack of yellow/gold?  Good luck.  Meanwhile the top papers have slid off so you shove those back in.  You think to yourself, I need to take time to sort through that stack.  And then you close the door.

By the end of the school year that cabinet is a construction paper/site mess. It houses untold amounts of different sized strips of laminated neon yellow paper that were trimmed off a project and you thought you might use in the future.  (Spoiler: you won’t).  There are five pieces of once red but now faded pink paper with ragged edges, that you thought you might trim down.  Three years ago.  There’s a shoe box full of scrapbook paper leftovers that a parent thought you would be able to use to make a cute project that she had seen on Rachael Ray, that involved everyone using a craft knife and a glue gun.  Yeah.  And don’t forget about the stack of blue paper that got damp when someone spilt water on the cabinet and is now warped, but you are stockpiling it anyway because the controller of the supplies in the front office won’t give you anymore.  (Best not to even ask why someone had water on the cabinet when the sink is across the classroom, and no one should be walking around with water anyway.  You’ll only be answered with blank stares.)

So before the new school year, or on a work day (don’t laugh) or when you you have one hour to spare, get this paper sorted.  Here’s how:

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You will need:


Hang the file holders in place either in the file cabinet drawer or in the milk crate.  Open them out ready and start sorting paper.  If your paper is 18×12 you are going to want to cut so that it is 9×12 – that size still fits in the hanging files.  You may wish to keep some of the large paper for projects, but really how often do you use it?  It would be far simpler if schools just bought the smaller size.  But that would make too much sense.  

If you have enough hanging files, go ahead and sort every shade – the lemon from the banana from the gold yellows, etc.  This is a great task for pre-k children onwards, so if you can find a willing helper you are providing an opportunity for them to practice their sorting skills.  Win-win.  Once your files are full of paper, you can even stack them in rainbow order.  That would make my heart sing.

This really is a quick and easy organizational task that will leave you with one less headache.  You’ll be able to grab the papers you want, and see at a glance the colors you are low on.  I hope it is something you can use in your classroom.  Happy sorting!





My name is Mandy and I’ve been creating fun crafts since I began teaching waaaaay back in 1993! If, like me, you believe that hands-on arts and crafts are essential to child development, then you’ve come to the right place!