Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Visit (and one of my favorite topics...thrifting!)

I have been finding it a little tough to stop thinking about my classroom right now and getting things back in order.  Our building is used pretty heavily during the summer--summer school, gifted/talented academy, enrichment classes, sports, adult ed, YMCA camps, language camps, summer band, even a church rents it on Sundays--so I cover my shelves at the end of the year and don't uncover them until late August.

My husband and I have been pretty big into thrifting for about a year (yep...I'm gonna pop some tags...)(no leopard print for this Mama, though!); we both lost considerable weight after I had Thomas (our two-year-old)(thank you, Medifast and a supportive husband...55 lbs gone!) and buying clothes full price on a teacher's and photographer's paycheck wasn't in the cards.  We are lucky in that we live in Minneapolis (I teach in a southern suburb, Apple Valley) and have fabulous thrift shops within arm's reach. I still love window shopping at Banana Republic, J Crew, Gap, Loft, etc...but I know that I never need to pay full price for any of these brands anymore.  Some of my best finds...crushed velvet maroon flats by Coach for $16. Banana Republic trouser pants for 99c. I could go on and on, though, so I'll stop there and just say that 90% of the time, I am wearing thrift finds. I digress, though...this DOES relate to school! (And my Tumblr is a currently-poorly-tended tale of our thrifting finds...I haven't been too dressy this summer, but I'll get the Tumblr flowing more fervently once school starts again.)

Not only do we find clothes and shoes and kids' toys and books and home goods at our favorite thrift stores, we also find THINGS FOR MY CLASSROOM!! The shutters as well as the knitting holder in this photo are second-hand:

This fashionable! fake ficus tree was $8 thrifted:

This computer hutch-turned-bookshelf ($15) as well as my desk ($90, solid wood, hand made) were both Craigslist finds from when I was on bed rest with Thomas for 89 days and had lots of time to think about my classroom! (Even my school bag, which is in front of my desk in this photo was thrifted: $3 with tags on!)

So whenever we are in a home goods section, I scout for displays for my room. I've had white plastic gutters lining either the back counter or floor right along the wall for about five years, but one seventh-grade foot will set the whole lot face-flat onto the floor.  Now, thanks to a new-to-me bookshelf and a handy-most-awesome husband, problem solved.  Here he and our boys are yesterday in Room 156.

When pushed up against the far book shelves, the gutters didn't meet in the middle under my whiteboard, but they overlapped with the new shelf (which according to the name and date on the backside was a shop-class project, and I have it upside down since it's on the floor!) So, Stephen brought his hacksaw and tin snips with the goal of getting the middle shelf to fit as well as pinning the gutters so the books wouldn't flop forward.  Score on both accounts! He snipped the front lip but left the bottom and back. That allows the gutter ends to sit snug against the book shelves but also be pinned underneath and behind the shelves.  Not sure if it all meets custodial/safety standards, but I'll corner my custodian on that one when we go back for real :)  At the moment, it works well!  

If you look closely, you'll see another awesome fix that my husband came up with, the white board ledge! I had books falling off the ledge frequently, and it was annoying as well as super hard on the books. We thought about it for quite a while, first testing with a wire curtain hanger from IKEA, but what finally worked was three large C-clamps, a span of wire, and some wire crimps and small zip-ties.The kids mess with it on occasion but I  make it clear that I don't want it broken, and they are generally pretty respectful about it. Here is a close-up of the clamp. 

I'm also playing around with the display under my SMART board. I have the shutters there and had put the knitting-basket-turned-book-basket there, but I also found this wire holder second hand, and it fits smaller novels really well.  I'm not so sure about how it looks, though...in my ideal world something like old fruit crates would look much better. Well see how it turns out. It needs 3M sticky hooks to sit right against the wall without tipping, but it's just propped right now. Here's the current status:

Anyway, I should probably switch gears and get the boys out of the house right now, so I'll leave you with that! I'll do a full scale in-class library and display post with photos of my four tall book shelves, back counter, and IKEA Expedit 4x4 when I am back in the room and everything is settled. 

Happy Tuesday, and happy teaching!



  1. Hey there! I found your blog through bloglovin', and followed! I have also nominated you for a Liebster award! :)


  2. Hey Tiffany!! Thank you SO MUCH!! I completely appreciate it :) Michelle