How I Organize My Bookshelves


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There are many aspects of a counselor’s job that cannot be organized, planned for, or perfectly laid out because we are constantly responding to our {often} unpredictable clients and/or principals. That is why I plan ahead for anything I can — such as my classroom lessons — and organize as much as I can to make those unpredictable moments or days a little easier.

I am fortunate to have a lot of shelf space in my office, but even if you don’t, I firmly believe you can still use many of my organization ideas with a little creativity and many dollar store containers. As you can see in the pictures below, I have designated spaces for books, art supplies, and classroom lesson materials.



Classroom Lesson Materials

My first year as a school counselor, I did not have any space designated for all of my classroom lesson materials, which basically means that my office was a hot mess. As I accumulated more and more things, I decided to sort through the clutter and develop a system.

I keep all of the materials that I’m not currently using in bins and pouches purchased from the dollar store, and I made labels for most items, such as the bingo cards pictured below.

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I have labeled bins for all of the lesson materials I am currently using with classes, which are organized by grade level. Since I don’t have all classes from one grade on the same day, this saves me time I used to spend putting away and searching for materials multiple times every month. Once I’ve seen every class in a grade level, I simply clear the bin and immediately fill it with what I need for next month’s lesson.



Art Supplies

I think it’s important for school counselors to have basic art supplies on hand. Whether you’re directly using play therapy techniques or not, students’ creations tell us a lot about their lives, and the act of drawing or coloring can also provide children with something to do while talking, which often allows them to talk more openly. I always make sure I have construction paper, markers, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue in my office, and the art bins I purchased from the dollar store are perfect for holding most of these supplies {see below}.

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First off, let me say that I love books, and I love using bibliotherapy in my sessions. Much to my delight, when I first inherited the office at my current school, the previous counselor had left behind many books that were purchased by the school. I was so excited to have a collection of books readily available to use with students, however, they were not organized in any particular order, many of them were piled on top of others, and the bookshelf was in complete disarray. One of the first things I did before the start of the school year was group all of my books by category, use bookends to organize the shelves, label the shelves, and catalog each book by type so I know what resources I currently have in my office.


I used the following categories to label my bookshelves: Grief & Loss, Behavior, Self-Awareness & Self-Esteem, Manners, Feelings, Friendship, Bullying, Family, Teacher & Parent Resources, Counseling Resources, Religious Resources, and Miscellaneous.

Download my bookshelf labels for FREE on my TpT Store!

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To catalog my books, I use Library Thing, which allows users to add books by ISBN number or by searching for a title. I separated my catalog into the same categories listed above, and I continue to update my list whenever I add a book to my collection. Something that makes Library Thing such a good resource is that it is based online, which means I can access my book list from anywhere. If I’m planning lessons over the summer, I can pull up my catalog and know whether or not I have a book I need, and if I’m answering parent e-mails at home, I have a list of resources I can draw from if needed.


Well, that’s how I organize my bookshelf! Feel free to comment with any of your unique organization techniques as well!


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3 thoughts on “How I Organize My Bookshelves

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