If you ask my friends, family, and coworkers about my summer favorites, they may tell you that I LOVE back to school shopping. I am definitely the one who plans out my shopping trips, visits multiple stores a week, and
1) Build on a Theme:When you are first starting out it can be overwhelming trying to plan a whole classroom. Relax. It will grow with time. Start with a few basics that fit your theme and know that you can always add new items throughout the year or the following year. Pick some neutrals that you can use with any theme in case your taste changes. For example, I use shades of blue with accents of lime green in my room for my big pieces (table, stools, book boxes). For now, it works with my ocean theme. However, having one or two main colors will allow me to change designs in the future if desired. (The boxes shown are from Dollar Tree.)
2) The Craft Store is Your Friend:I LOVE going in to teacher supply stores! However, I know that I can quickly blow my budget if I am not careful. You can find many of the same decor items at your local craft store. Plus, AC Moore and Michaels offer teacher discounts and usually have a 50% off coupon. I like to stock up on Fadeless bulletin board paper or fabric to cover my bulletin boards. I hang the piece at the beginning of the year and just change out the work on top.
3) Reuse Items:This is similar to idea number 1 about building on a theme. Get in the habit now of
Another way to save is by rolling up your borders each year and saving them. Here is a cute Pinterest idea about storing them in old frosting containers. I wish I could tell you mine are this cute but they're not. I roll mine up, paper clip them to themselves, and store in a large plastic bag.
classroom in the past. I also take pictures of furniture layout and classroom setup. It's hard to imagine that only a few months of summer will erase your old layout from your brain but summer is magical like that :)
4) Get Creative with Materials:By now I am sure you having been checking out Pinterest for tons of cute classroom ideas. Find a few that seem manageable and have a blast! Like I said, I use science boards for shelving, fabric for bulletin boards, and whatever other items I can repurpose. I attached three milk crates together and made a bench seat for my library. I also made a few crate seats.
5) Look for Deals When Building a Library:
One of my biggest expenses when I first started teaching was building my classroom library. I wanted it to look beautiful and be FULL of books. I spent hundreds of dollars my first year until I learned a few tricks of the trade.
* Scholastic also has Warehouse Sales a few times a year. You can sign up to volunteer and get paid in books. They have build-a-box deals and coupons as well. I usually work one 7 hour shift and leave with hundreds of dollars worth of books (and only pay $10 out of pocket).
*Ask your local library about the book sales they host. Many libraries have sales a few times a year where they discard books. You can normally get library bound copies and bundles for only a few cents each. Ah-maz-ing!
* Purchase boxes and containers from the Dollar Tree. After all, who doesn't love a good dollar deal? I again pick one or two colors and buy boxes in bulk.
6) Label, Label, Label:Invest in some Avery Labels and go to town printing! I love having all of my classroom materials labeled and student folders/notebooks/binders prepped for student names. This is a quick and easy way to implement a theme as well as organize your room. By using matching labels around the room, everything is instantly tied together.
Bulletin Board series, Classroom Organization board, and Ocean Themed Classroom Board on Pinterest.
Check out these other great posts for even more decorating ideas on a budget. Enjoy!!