When I started my career 12 years ago, I started by stashing the extras in my desk drawers in alphabetical order by title. This got a very cumbersome very quickly. My colleague and I do 9 story times a week with 5 different themes and 6 different age levels. They all require "extras" for fun and quality programs. I needed to do something different. I pulled out all of our flannelboards from Lakeshore Learning and kept them in the file drawer, like above. The reason that they are separate from the rest of my stuff is that they have bulky stuffed pieces and take up more room.
Somebody on staff was giving away four-drawer file cabinets and we thought this would help with our organization. These hold all of our flannelboards, magnetboards, stick puppets, coloring sheets, patterns for the future, and flat crafts.
Each hanging file folder is labelled with a story time theme, such as colors or babies (see above). Everything that fits that theme goes in that hanging file folder. As you can see above, we mostly use file folders to hold individual flannelboards. There are also baggies or 9x12 envelopes, depending on how small the pieces are.
Each file folder includes the pieces (such as the stick puppets above), the rhyme, and sometimes a pattern if I think I would use it again. The thing that I would recommend if you do something like this is to write down the citation of where you got the rhyme from. It is something that I do now, but wish I started at the beginning (especially for things like Flannel Friday).
Above is an example of parts in a baggie. As you can see, it is clearly labelled as to what it is (the rhyme/book) and what I am going to do with it (flannelboard).
With hanging file folders to hold a subject together, you can see how easy it is to tuck flat crafts and coloring sheets in the back like my ninjas above.
What I like about my filing system is that everything on a subject is together. This is extremely helpful when I go to plan my story times. The first thing that I do after coming up with themes is to check my files to see what I already have. Most of my flannelboard creation time is not done out of necessity, but out of free time. After 12 years all four drawers are completely full (and I still haven't figured out what to do next-maybe some weeding). Now that I use Evernote to keep track of my story time plans and rhymes, I also include a note as to where items are filed. After all, Mouse Paint could be filed under mice or under painting.
If we had more space at our branch, I would definitely ask for more file cabinets-at least 1 more for story time and another for programs. How do you organize your story time stuff?