Reply To: I'm disorganized; don't know how to create places for things—please help
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OK- I’ll take a shot at this. I struggle with exactly the same thing, but I’ve been trying to work on it.
For paperwork, stickers, flat things- get a box of file folders, file everything in a labeled folder, and store the folders in a filing cabinet or desk drawer alphabetically- ex: “Assessment forms,” “Articles (things I rip out of The Instrumentalist and other journals,” “Music Theory Worksheets,” “Programs,” “Stickers,” “Staff Paper,” etc. Don’t allow yourself a “miscellaneous” folder or drawer, or you’ll use it for everything.
I have a set of stacking trays in my office- one is for things that need to be photocopied, one is for things I need to grade, one is for things to hand back to the kids. The one I need to get rid of is my “in” box, because I put too much in there and never deal with it. My new goal with mail is to “touch it once-” either toss it or deal with it right away.
The one place where I’m very organized is our music library. It was worth it to take a couple of days to do a chart of every piece in the library- I have columns for title, composer, difficulty, length (if I have that info) and when we last performed it. I have a separate one for concert band, jazz band, pops, pep band, etc. I also keep a list each year of everything that we played, so that when I’m planning I can make sure that we’re not repeating something the kids have done, or that they all get to play the big ones at some point. I keep it all in a small binder, along with a section where I keep a wish list, and a section where I copied out the rep lists from the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band books, along with other rep lists.
I keep the instrument inventory in a binder, too- a chart with every instrument, serial number, who has is signed out in the front, and the individual contracts in the rest of it. For me, it helps to keep anything related to instruments in score order.
Big plastic bins can be helpful- make sure that you label it on all sides. I have one for lyres and flip folders, one for brass mutes, one for stand lights and extension cords, etc. If a bin isn’t labeled or transparent, it’s not helpful.
As I said, I struggle with this, too, and I would love to hear suggestions from other people. My next goal is to get the percussion equipment more organized. I think the problem right now is that I don’t have the right sized shelves for everything. Does anyone have any luck with storing auxilliary percussion in bins? If so, how do you separate them, and where do you keep them?
Thanks, and good luck!