Figuring out how to get (and keep) your makerspace organized can be a daunting task. I don’t claim to have a magical organization system that works perfectly 100% of the time. But I have learned a few things about keeping our space organized over the last three years. Here’s my advice:
How to Create Makerspace Organization That Actually Works
Get Your Students Involved
Work with your students to create your organization system. Ask them which items they think should go together. Ask your students how they think the space should be organized. If the system doesn’t have their input at all, they probably won’t stick with it.
Label All the Things!
Just about everything in my makerspace is labeled. I try to use labels that have both text and images when possible. This helps my ELL students to know where to put things, and it can work well for younger kids as well. Label what goes in each box. Label which shelf each box goes on. Adding labels to things can go a long way in creating a makerspace organization system that your students will work with.
Many makerspace supplies are easy to color code since they’re brightly colored. Think LEGOs, K’nex and markers. Organize these supplies by color. I LOVE Copernicus carts and tubs for this, as they already come in bright colors. Consider using color on your labels too. Have red labels on boxes that go on the red shelf, blue labels for the blue shelf, etc.
Work With What You’ve Got
Sometimes you might be able to reconfigure or reuse something that you already have. I’ve seen many schools transform old card catalogs into arts and crafts storage (with labels!). We reused a wire book display rack at Stewart and turned it into cardboard storage (check it out in this post). Because our libraries are often filled with items that no longer serve their original purpose, we can often easily repurpose them.
Create an In-Progress Space
Students often create projects that they aren’t quite done with yet. Create a designated space for them to keep these projects while they work on them. We’ve dedicated a wall in our Maker Room to this. Post a schedule that says how frequently the space will be cleaned out. Make post-it notes available so students can label their projects.
Balance Security With Accessibility
Lots of makerspace supplies are expensive. But if we lock up everything, we hinder the creativity of our students. Thus, it’s important that we find a way to make these items available to our students without creating a bunch of hurdles. Try to find a balance between keeping expensive items safe and making supplies accessible to your students.