You don’t have to blow your entire supply budget in order to create a space that is both welcoming and efficient. There are lots of tricks for repurposing items you already have or utilizing inexpensive items in creative ways in order to keep your classroom fun, fresh, and functional.
Source Your Supplies
There are lots of places to score cheap (or free!) classroom goods if you know where to look. Look for “freecycle” or online yard sale groups in your area, and check websites like Craigslist and eBay for bigger items such as rugs and furniture. Organize a supply swap with other teachers at the end of the school year. Always search for promo codes before placing an order with an online retailer, and shop Classroom Direct’s Deals page to find deep discounts on awesome stuff.
Use Your Existing Supplies Creatively
You’ve probably accumulated a stockpile of underused supplies. Look at them with fresh eyes to find new ways to put them to use. Use small Command hooks to hang baskets on the wall, turn cheap plastic crates into stackable supply stations, and convert old dust jackets from kids’ books into cute, decorative banners. This BuzzFeed list offers over 30 more clever ideas.
Incorporate Kids’ Art
Kids love to see their art on display, and it’s a cheap way to brighten the room. Get creative with display methods and cycle through varied themes to keep it exciting. Use twine and spring clothespins or binder clips to create “clotheslines” for 2D artwork. Gather some picture frames from thrift shops or yard sales (with the glass removed) to give the room a gallery feel. Bonus tip – a quick spritz of spray paint in bright colors will take these upcycled frames to the next level. If you need inspiration for kids’ art, check out our post on hosting a recycled art contest.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
If, like many teachers, your budget is practically nonexistent, you can still give your classroom an awesome vibe – you’ll just have to be a little more creative. There are lots of ways to upcycle things you already have on hand. Clean, empty containers are great for a variety of organization projects, while other “trash” items, like egg cartons, are perfect for art and craft projects. You can even get the students involved and incorporate an ecology lesson.
For even more ideas on making the most of your budget, check out our post Tips for Saving on Classroom Supplies.