Summer Stock Up - OCD Much?! (and a Freebie or so)

I'm fortunate to be part of an awesome Facebook blog hop happening this weekend. There are some very talented teachers out there. I'm just an amateur (slightly kidding, she said sarcastically). We wanted you to be able to stock up early and avoid the 'back-to-school' rush. I know most of you are in complete summer mode - beaching, pooling, chillaxin'. Nonetheless, if you're around, hop along with us. Find some new blogs, new ideas, new resources, and maybe even some freebies (*that's correct you may have to read to the bitter end, gotchya). 

So okay, peeps here's the deal - I'm finally going to share some things I spend hours making on my computer. Most of the time I think, oh I just make this because it works for me and there is stuff like this out there. However, the people I work with like the stuff in my room, so here goes...

Now, I know, I know, there are a TON of binder covers already out there. I can't say that the idea for binder covers is something new and original. I can't even say that I made the designs, because I'm not a graphic designer. BUT, I am OCD to the nth degree. Allow me to take you back to a photo from the days of yonder:


Nothing about this is fancy. Yet, here is what I love about it - the bins are clear. I can see what is inside. The labels are from a regular 'ole label maker by Brother (the brand). I own 3 - one for school (actually, my favorite L snagged it- if you've been around this blog, you know who she is - da bombdiggity), one for home (those are two that just print white tape), and one a tad fancier and it does fun colored tape. Again, what I love about this is that no color ink is used. No laminating pouches are bought. There is no cutting. These pictures are from my very first classroom. These bins still exist with the same labels. I know, you're probably thinking 'get with the program already!'). But, it does the job. 

With all this said, I will also say that I love decorating.  I've also recently discovered my love of fonts and clip art. So I am getting slightly with the program. The clear plastic bins are still in my room. The pops of color I use are book baskets and such. I like things clean and simple. I like things organized. I like that at the end of the year when teachers move into my classroom (yes, I move every year) they say, 'if I'm moving into a room, at least it's your room.' And so, here's my: 

Binder Covers
Desk Trays 
A place for this, a place for that
Are you still reading?

Let me answer some questions about what I have for you. 

Binder Covers

This image is of my, personal covers, so they are uber detailed (hence OCD, with which 9 weeks, etc.)

1. SO - what makes my binder covers different? Absolutely nothing! Hey, I'm about as honest as they come (and sometimes that gets me in trouble, but you will always know what you get with me). 

2. Why did I create them? When I first started teaching at my school five years ago I had one filing cabinet in my trailer and it didn't work.  I used a two drawer plastic thing made by Sterilite and everything else went in binders. I didn't really have a system back then. I think I was just kinda, reading, math, yadda, yadda, yadda. Ya know, when you're a first year teacher, it's more of a stay afloat method. Put this here, and that there. Just make it out alive and sort it later. Well, I've evolved and developed. I've learned my standards (both personal and professional ;) and learned them well. I dare say I make some of my teammates sick. So, each subject has a different pattern/color, yet they still coordinate. 

3. How do I organize my binders? That's a really great question. I'm still a work in progress. Aren't we all! I used to have one big binder for each subject, and then each binder was divided by tabs for each unit, but the binders were getting big and it was hard to turn the pages and it just wasn't easy. 

So, I started reorganizing this year (I think I just start to reorganize things when I get stressed, anyone else do that). I began with Science and Social Studies. I created a binder for each unit. Then, I also created a spine for the binder and a matching square label to go on the front of a white magazine box/file (I use the white ones from Ikea). The magazine file holds all mentor texts or laminated  hand outs/posters I have for the unit that do not fit in the binder. On my shelf behind my desk I have binder/magazine file, binder/magazine file, etc.

4. Other ideas/options - I will probably not use as many binders for writing or reading. For writing, for example, I will either use 4 binders, one for each 9 weeks, or just one for each type of writing we teach (narrative, opinion, informational, friendly letter, I know I'm forgetting one, etc.). So clearly next week when I set up my trailer, I will still figure a few things out. 

Just so you can see, it's clean and simple. I've put the topic, below is the subject, grade level, and which grading period/quarter/etc. Obviously, you can edit them however you see fit. 

I put the unit, then topic, then the standards
on the bottom I put which 9 weeks/quarter - again these are mine so they are super specific because I am following my county common core standards.  

Here are some for you:  


Desk Trays
I saw this idea on Pinterest and an awesome teacher blogger pinned it too and gave me the idea. I can't find hers but I totally want to give her credit. If you see hers please let me know. Naturally, I made my own. 

Note: the black looking S to the right is a doodle, I rotated it to appear as an S since it is my first initial. I took it out in the editable version since I didn't think many people would want it. Please let me know if you do. 

1. Why I made it? Well I think it's pretty. Ha, but also because I am constantly looking for ideas to conquer the paper mountain! My kids give me drawings and parent notes ALL the time. This past year was the worst. My kidney table would start off clean almost (note my use of the word 'almost' as a qualifier) every morning and at the end of each day it was disgusting. I had three girls that came up each day and said, "Can I clean your table?" Yes, yes you can!

2. Again, what makes mine different? Again, nothing! I may be OCD, but I also like options. I move my decor and rearrange. I'm learning change is okay. Options are good. Which design do you like best? I can't decide!

3. It's FREE. It's Editable. If you like it, take it, use it, enjoy it. Be kind. You know the drill. Click here.

Hope you enjoy and get lots of ideas. Let me know if I have left something out or you need something I haven't thought of. :)


  1. I just wanted to THANK YOU for the ideas. After what seems like years of school, completing my student teaching, finishing my Masters, and subbing for way too long, I've finally got my first classroom job! I am beyond thrilled to have my own 7th grade class for the coming school year! I've been trolling blogs for days and constantly wondered, "how do people make these amazing binder covers, templates, etc?" But with your freebie, I was able to click on it and see that it's PPT. From there it makes so much more sense! If you have any other advice for making templates or worksheets (that is not in Word because I find it so UNuser friendly), I would love to hear them! Thanks, again!

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet note. I tried to reply to your email but it is no-reply. I'm definitely not a pro. But powerpoint is what I know is best so far. There are a lot of videos and tutorials out there. Feel free to email me if you want more in depth.


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