It's officially August. While it still feels like summer outside (especially here in Texas), the school year is upon us. Reviewing paperwork. Prepping for sessions... scheduling... BUT FIRST, I have the take time to get MYSELF organized. This Type-A girl is not at 100% until she has a workspace and materials that are organized and easy to access... and looking adorable of course ;)
Whether you're Type-A like me (Can I hear a giddy giggle at the thought of buying a new set of pens and office supplies?!), or you're desperately in need of help in the organization department (wait - labels?) - I have just the thing for you.
Step 1. PURGE. You know that file-folder-fail you made during your first year as a music therapist that didn't work out how you hoped.. toss it! You know that dollar store flashlight that "works" when you slap against your hand in just the right place? Donate it. Get rid of what you don't use - it is just taking up space and distracting from all of the really great strategies you have!
Step 2. INVENTORY. Review the kinds of things you have. Many of your "categories" will be similar to mine, but you'll have different ones too! From puppets to file folders, sort your resources in the way that will be most useful to you.
Step 3. CONTAIN. Now that you know WHAT you have, and HOW MUCH of which category you have, find containers that are the right fit. Better yet, find containers that are slightly larger than what you have so you have room to grow without overflow. My go-to's for storage are IKEA (magazine files and clear tubs - we have one conveniently located in the city where I work, so I frequent the place) and the dollar store (colorful tubs and baskets).
Step 4. Now that those piles have given way to tubs and sorted file drawers, it's time for my favorite part: LABEL! This detail is so important for the on-the-go therapist who needs to find "that thing" without wasting a minute. I have included all of the labels that I used (plus a few more!): Months of the year. Seasons. Categories of items (i.e. puppets, props, office supplies). Types of items (i.e. animals, insects, cars). and hanging file tabs (by goal area, by season and by holiday, and for paperwork). Use the labels you need; ignore the ones you don't. Organize your resources in a way that is most useful to YOU!
Step 5. PERSONALIZE. Don't forget to make your space your own! It you're going to spend any amount of time there, you want it to be a space that reflects YOU so that you can enjoy being there. For me it's a family photo and a few plants in white ceramics, with pastel pushpins and pink and gold-foil mousepad to match! These simple touches go a long way.
On my desk I set up magazine files for each month (with velcro labels so I can switch them around) and filled them with visuals of the themes I TEND to use for each month. You'll notice the summer months are empty (I keep those strategies at home), and that the first 4 months of the school year are in pink baskets on the right. I put my most current strategies in there so that I have room to add the manipulatives and instruments I need for the current months as I continue my planning. Because the month labels are velcro, when the spring semester rolls around, I'll simply change out my pink basket labels to the spring months, and I will move the fall months back over to my magazine files. Under my desk in bins I keep my tubs of hands-on, interactive "stuff." And in 2 set of file drawers I have my paperwork/office supplies and my visuals sorted by goal area/by theme, respectively. In my office we have a separate, shared space for instruments, so you won't see many at my desk.
Purge. Inventory. Contain. Label. Personalize. And VOILA! You are set-up for a great school year with a space that is clean, accessible and welcoming. Don't forget to download your :: FREE :: LABELS
and breathe a sigh of relief - it's going to be a great year.
<3 Patina Joy