Organization Hacks For Speech Therapy Materials

Posted by Kristin Weingart on

Organization can feel intimidating when you've acquired a lot of resources for the littles in your life.  But it really doesn't have to be that way.  (I mean really it doesn't).  The worst part is getting the motivation to start and frankly it's not just going to strike you have to choose it.  Think of the end result not the amount you have to do. 

It's important to say that there really isn't a one size fits all approach to organization but there are some things that I've learned along the way that have really helped me make better decisions when considering adding resources to my library and to be a more streamlined and efficient SLP.  So what experience do I have with organization, you may ask? 

As a Travel SLP these past few years I've acquired several speech rooms. Sometimes I'm greeted with a happy staff saying I have a lot of speech resources that I can work with.  In theory, this sounds great! Lots of resources mean what though... when they're all tucked away and don't have a great system in place for accessing them.  It honestly means anxiety for me.  Like honestly, here are some of the beginning processes of transforming a space.  It never looks good in the beginning.


Now you may think why would you do that when you're only going to be there for a few months to a year.  The answer is where I work affects how I work and how I feel about my work.  Its a cycle and when it gets pushed to the next day or the next week without getting addressed it lingers and creates mental clutter in your thoughts.  I didn't want that for myself and I certainly don't want that for you.  The main thing is if you don't know what you have you won't likely use it.  
So now I turn the question over to you..

Do you know what you have?
How did that question make you feel?  Sit with that for a second. 
If it's a negative emotion, let's not stay there - but it's very important to recognize the way it made you feel.  If it wan't the best feeling know that you're not in it alone. There are SEVERAL people right there with you that are trying to figure out what works well for them too.  I've read many posts in facebook groups seeking out information and I hope that this helps you get started.  So Rule #1 before we get further into hacks is please don't be too hard on yourself.  If you see something that inspires you in this post that's awesome! BUT know that it took trial and error to get to these ideas and that it's still important to adapt it to work for you.  

Before we get into the Tips, I'd like to put out a disclosure that there are affiliate links to amazon items within this post.  I do get a very small monetary amount for referring you to these products but I am sharing ONLY what I am using and what I recommend.  You do not have to purchase through these links but it is at no extra cost to you. If you like the types of resources I share you can find my amazon storefront here:

HACK #1: Take Everything You Have And Lay It All Out. 
The only way to know what you have is to see what all you have. 
So pull everything you have that you don't feel is organized out and put it in an open space.

Hack #2: Donate + Make an Inventory List of What You Keep
I almost skipped this hack to go on to the next one and I can't believe I almost didn't cover it!  It's 10000000% essential.  Unless it cost you a significant amount of money please consider donating the resources you haven't used in a year. If you haven't used it within the past year try pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and get it out of your hands.  You need to be able to have a clear understanding of what you own and how you plan to use it with your students.  

HACK #3: Sort Your Resources By Theme And/Or Skill! 
The initial work it takes to set this up will help allow you to grab and go and add meaningful resources to it over time.  It also helps you adapt to the classroom curriculum quickly.  If a teacher is planning to go to the farm with her students in a week, then you can pull a farm theme and pre-teach vocabulary and introduce it to the students.  You'll also have ideas ready to support families in minutes. I have most of my resources organized by theme with a few skill-focused resources that are my "go-to's" in a file folder with tabs.

You can find Communication Cottage LLC themes in digital, physical, and interactive (boom learning) formats right here on our website! Inside my bins I have books related to the theme as well as a mini sensory bin in a photo container and the themed resources!  These bins are great to have everything all in one place!  And it'll fit in a really cute tote I'll have linked towards the end of the post!

HACK #4: Go Digital With Worksheets And Print ONLY As Needed 
There's always an SLP I come across that has multiple copies of a worksheet in a file folder in a file cabinet.  If this works for you then skip over this bullet point.  That being said I'd recommend going digital.  Print ONLY as needed.  Have less physical space taken up by paper.  Taking the time to go through your digital clutter matters as much as your physical clutter.  You want the materials that do take up physical space to be meaninful to you and your caseload.  I'd be sure that you have an organized Google Drive, Dropbox or another cloud-based system that you can use to streamline your paperwork.  Scan documents to your computer if needed.  You also don't have to print out a ton of copies on the same day you can take one worksheet and slide it into a dry erase pocket.  They sell these on amazon but sometimes you can have better luck at the dollar store.  

HACK #5: Store Your Picture Icons for AAC In A Toolbox! 
I made this during my clinical fellowship year and it truly is something that has made my life so much easier.  I was able to offer the teachers and other staff the ability to come down and take what they needed.  Let's face it when you need an icon you often need it quickly. This gives you a great place to start.

HACK #6: Use Photo Box Storage Containers!
I use these containers for LOTS of things.  Behavioral supports, mini sensory bins, to hold mini erasers, task cards, and more! 

HACK #7: Store Puzzles, Games And Ball Poppers In Mesh Bags! 
This is one of my favorite storage hacks!  No more losing the little pieces.  You can now store puzzles on their sides and save space.  There are different sizes of the bags.  The larger bag is great for puzzles and the smaller ones are fun for ball poppers.  

HACK #8: Keep Meeting Paperwork Ready 
Don't wonder if you're prepared for a meeting.  Organize the necessary paperwork so that you don't have to hunt down a form or wonder if there are any copies left.  I used a paper tray and separated the meeting minutes, procedural safeguards, medicaid consent, attendance forms (etc.). This is the one time that I am okay with keeping a few physical copies of paperwork readily available.  

HACK #9: Use Clear Storage Bins 
A clear bin allows for littles to see what they are requesting!   I put the reinforcers (toys) on the bottom and then I put the pictures on the back of the lid.

HACK #10: Choose A Tote That Helps You Stay Efficient
I can't say enough about this tote!  It fits a sterilite bin and the mesh pouches! :) You're not able to put a bunch of things into this tote which is very important.  It keeps you being mindful of what you NEED.  There are several pockets inside, including a cushioned pouch which I will be using for my iPad.  There is also a USB port!  The material can be wiped clean and is a reasonable price!

What do you think! The organizational hacks in this post are some of my favorites but as always we're better together.  Please be sure to leave a comment with what has worked best for you and let's keep learning about ways to be more efficient and better serve our littles.  

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