No More Sharing School Supplies: Cleaning and Organizing Tips for Teachers

Updated 12/20/22

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Gone (for now, anyway) are the days when you had a bin of crayons or a bucket of pencils for your centers and your students shared materials. With health and safety on everyone’s minds and CDC guidelines recommending students no longer share supplies, you need new ways to manage materials.

Here are a few tips to keep your classroom clean and your students’ individual supplies organized and hopefully a little less germy.

by Terri Frank


1. Invest in a label maker. Check out our article on tax-free weekends to see if and when your state has an upcoming tax-free holiday so you can score a deal. Pro tip: Choose a heavy-duty model and pick up some label tape refills at the same time.

2. Hard plastic pencil boxes are durable, simple to personalize with each student’s name, and easy to clean at the end of each day. Make sure they’re large enough to carry all the materials your students need but not so big that they’re hard for kids to carry from one station to another.

3. Clear plastic tubes with end caps made by Uline make handy mobile supply kits for pens, pencils, markers, and other supplies for when kids move from one classroom to another. The tubes are reusable, easy to label, and inexpensive.

4. While some students will treat their supplies with care, others might use a binder as a baseball bat or art easel. If you’re purchasing notebooks, binders, and filler paper for each student, you want them to last, so go with brands that are known to be durable, like Mead® and Five Star®.

5. For a classroom of 26 kids, you’ll need 26 boxes each of crayons, 26 highlighters, and 26 packages of presharpened colored pencils. Crayola makes it easy and economical for teachers to buy those (plus markers, paints, and more) in bulk.

6. Say so long to the community pencil sharpener. Start the year with presharpened Paper Mate pencils, and if you have your class list early enough, order pencils with your students’ names stamped on them. You’ll need individual pencil sharpeners, so look for the ones that collect the shavings. Want to avoid the pencil sharpener all together? We don’t blame you! Paper Mate mechanical pencils are a great way to make sure kids always have a sharp pencil that’s ready to go—no excuses.

7. Don’t forget glue! No more buckets of glue sticks in the center of the art tables. Add individual glue sticks or bottles to your supply list for your creative projects. Elmer’s glue even comes in shimmery metallic colors now, which makes crafts and science projects even more fun. Luminescent slime, anyone?

8. Stock up on Post-it Notes in multiple colors to make organizing and labeling items in your classroom easier. Use a different colored note with each student’s name printed on it to update their progress on a weekly assignment chart.

9. Plastic bags work perfectly for sending home projects or wet clothing. Gallon-size Ziploc® Brand storage bags will stay closed, and when you use Sharpie permanent markers to write kids’ names in the label space the bag will (more than likely) go home in the right backpack. The bags make good supply holders, too.

10. Depending on how your district handles classroom PPE, have extra Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes and paper towels on hand to take care of extra-messy workspaces.

11. Choose items for classroom use that are easy to wipe down between uses or at the end of the day. Since most schools will be cutting back on using paper, try plastic pocket folders instead. For easier daily cleaning, choose plastic paint brushes over wooden brushes and Crayola Twistables instead of traditional crayons. Keep modeling clay in labeled individual baggies.

12. Students will learn new routines for cleaning their hands and their materials. Pocket-sized hand sanitizers are must haves, but you’ll also need an economy-sized bottle to refill the empties. Individual packages of Nice ‘N CLEAN® Wipes are useful for wiping hands free of dirt, germs, and that sticky stuff from lunch.

13. Plain old soap and water still does the trick, too. Look for a soap that washes away dirt and grime without harming sensitive skin or the environment, like the products from Method.

14. One single box of tissues for the classroom is a no-go for now. KLEENEX® Brand tissues come in pocket-sized packs that fit nicely in a desk or pencil box.

15. Classrooms get pretty smelly, and since your kids may be eating lunch there, we suggest you have a neutral air freshener to help get rid of any lingering odors. Just be sure to check that your students aren’t sensitive to scents.

Originally posted 2020

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5 Comments for No More Sharing School Supplies: Cleaning and Organizing Tips for Teachers


Thank you Terri .
As someone that is always looking for ways in helping teachers out , i found this site and article which is very informative and helpful .
I will be using this list!

Sherie Watkins

This great yet doesn’t work for middle school… could you please do an article like this for Middle School as well as more articles for middle school? Thank you


Hygiene is a priority in all the schools. So we need to offer students the sanitation items to keep them healthy.

Alisa Mirabella

I love how this article talks about all of the individual things we can buy. Just like always,the expectation is that we will supply this abundance of materials. Hey how about when you teach high school and have 180 students SWEL

Busiswa Ngcamphalala

We should not share any school supplies because we can get infected by any disease or sickness they have.