I want to start by saying that I sincerely hope this doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed. Instead, realize that real life SLP organization (at least for me!) is messy, involves many different systems, and likely changes a bit year to year.
This is okay and this is normal. You’ll likely never set up something that will last you forever so just take that pressure off your shoulders now!
I’m a very type B SLP and use many, many systems to keep everything together. There’s no rigidity in how I use these systems… some weeks I do, some weeks I don’t. Some students have perfectly organized folders, some students have nothing in their folders. Sometimes I pull activities out of a pile of papers on my desk.
Maybe there’s an SLP who has this all figured out and doesn’t do those things but I haven’t found one. I wanted to start this post with this reality so you can adjust your expectations a bit.
Below are the 4 systems I’ve come back to again and again, year after year.
1 – Working Folders
I’ve used working folders for the past 4 years and really do love them (even when I stop using some of them halfway through the school year). I’ve found that it’s important for me to have a place for each student, especially when their IEP month comes around.
You can learn about how I use working folders in a blog post of mine here. I typically use these for student work examples, data, and sometimes student specific visuals that I might even provide for carryover in the classroom.
2 – Activity Bins
Because I don’t have a therapy room at my school, I keep most of my prepped activities at home. These bins have helped me keep everything organized and together. This way, I can grab activities and bring them to school as needed.
You can read a blog post about the bins I use (and snag the free printables I use to label them!) here.
3 – Hanging File Folders
I’ve been sharing a lot about this system on Instagram lately because it’s definitely my most-used system. If you want to check out videos about this system, click on my Organization Instagram highlight (the little circle right under my profile).
In short, I hang up 2-3 hanging pocket organizers. I fill them with folders and put frequently used activities, visuals, and graphic organizers in each. Then, I make a spreadsheet with group numbers.
Every group I see in a week gets assigned a number. I label each folder with the group(s) that are working through that activity or resource (even with just a Post-It note). That way, when the group arrives, I can reference what number group they are, pull out their planned activity, and get started.
You can see pictures of this system in an Instagram post of mine here.
4 – Digital Material Storage
The majority of the materials I use are digital. I loooove digital materials because I can print them as needed and there’s less stuff to permanently store (like books or toys).
This blog post of mine goes into detail about how I store my materials digitally.
I hope that gives you some new ideas and if not, at least some encouragement that material organization for an ever-changing, diverse caseload is messy and complicated.
You’re not alone in the struggle to contain the chaos!