Monday, March 12, 2012

Mobile Montessori Materials Making Unit

Organization and storage can be tricky for homeschooling families. Driven by that urge to organize that seems to accompany each new year, throughout the month of February I gave you a peek into one of my closets each week. I hope you've found an idea or two that will help you find and use your homeschooling or afterschooling materials when you need them. I will be continuing this series into March for a few weeks because there are just a few more spots I'd like to share.

This is my "Mobile Montessori Materials Making Unit":

As you can see, it is a two-drawer, plastic file cabinet on wheels so it can be rolled anywhere in the house (on the first floor anyway) that I wish.  This is handy because I often like to use it by the computer in our office/music room.  Even more often, I like to use it in front of the television after the kids have gone to bed.

I store it here in what you might recognize as the other half of the art closet:

The "Mobile Montesori Materials Making Unit" is on the left with a box of 3 mil laminating film (I buy it from and my Laminator stored directly on top.  I added an extension cord to the laminator and it always attached and ready to go.  I used to keep the film in hanging files in the cabinet, but it is heavy and slippery so doesn't hang well.  In the interest of keeping things real, you can see Kal-El's discarded sweatshirt and Nerf ninja star in the bottom right hand corner.

Also in that closet is a taller, narrower set of 10 drawers that are also on wheels.  This is where I store our nature specimens.  I'll write more on that another day.

Because this closet is technically the "coat closet" near the front door, that is not wasted space above the short MMM unit.  We have some hangers in there and there is just enough room above the unit to hang a few coats when we have guests.

Speaking of the front door, spring has sprung.  I was taking pictures of the closet and I saw these two little birds getting ready to make a nest in the wreath on my front door like they seem to EVERY YEAR:

Anyway, back to the MMM.  Let me show you what's in this thing.

The bottom drawer holds hanging files stocked with several colors of regular printer paper and several colors of cardstock.  Tucked in the back is my favorite paper cutter.

The top drawer holds many hanging file folders full of goodies and some other items tucked in the back.  Tucked in the back are combs for my Comb Binding Machine and a box of snack-sized Ziploc bags.  My comb binding machine is currently stored in the basement supply closet.  I have been using it a lot more frequently recently so I think I will find a place for it in the upstairs closet soon.

In the file folders:

  • A set of 50 fine-tipped washable markers for illustrating homemade readers, etc.,
  • A set of 24 Sharpie Ultra-Fine-Point Permanent Markers, 24-Pack Colored Markers for making cards and labeling materials.  I wish I could use them for illustrating, but they go through to the back of the paper I use for making books.
  • A Self Healing Cutting Mat
  • A folder labelled "Odds and Ends": adhesive magnets , glue dots , brass fasteners , adhesive business cards windows (I use these to put photo labels on my storage containers throughout the house), adhesive Color Coding Labels for coding the back of certain types of cards for the control of error.
  • A folder labeled "sandpaper" full of assorted grits.  I could probably remove this now.  I used sandpaper a lot in the beginning when I first made continent boxes and touch boards.
  • A folder full of 6x9 clasp envelopes which I use to store three-part cards.
  • A folder for scraps
  • And finally, a very important folder labelled "to laminate."  When I print a material that I don't need immediately I put it in this folder.  That way, when I pull out the laminator to make something else I can laminate whatever is in that folder at the same time.

So, there you have it!  A better person than I would probably put on a good talk radio or good music while they work, but I tend to roll this into the family room and "Keep up with the Kardashians" while making materials like a dervish.  You don't have to look up a lot, you can just listen to them argue.

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  1. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.
    It helps to keep up with the demand for new materials when you are organized.

  2. I always laminate in front of the tv! It's the only way I will watch a movie with my husband, that way I don't feel like I've wasted two hours if it was a bad movie. :) I'm encouraged by the way you store 3-pt cards because it is so simple.

  3. I love how organized you are ... and it's wonderful that you're sharing your ideas! What a great idea to use a mobile material-making unit! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  4. Thanks for sharing all your organizational tips!