Every ministry has them --
quirky corners, pesky problems, and messy mishaps. Here are simple
solutions you can use to make sense of common
WHAT A SIGHT
The Problem: You love the idea of storing posters so you
can reuse them -- but they always end up crushed, folded, or
Your Quick Fix: Save empty paper towel rolls.
Tightly roll your poster, and slide it into a paper towel roll.
Label each paper towel roll with the poster's theme or title, then
store all the rolls upright in a cardboard box for
Over and Out
The Problem: Someone keeps inadvertently flipping
off the backstage light switch -- which cuts power to your lights,
microphones, or sound.
Your Quick Fix: Switch out your switch plate.
Find a bright, solid color switch plate that'll visually give
people pause before they flick. A great attention getter is at Switchhits.com under "Red
Polished Diamond Tread." Also label the switch plate with words
such as Don't Touch -- Sound System Power or something to
let people know why they should not touch that switch.
I'm Not a Professional
The Problem: Grainy, out-of-focus photos detract
from your otherwise great Web site or newsletter.
Your Quick Fix: You can access loads of free, professional-quality
stock photographs depicting themes and ideas related to your
ministry. Visit GettyImages.com or
NYIP.com, read their terms and
conditions (make sure you're not exceeding their free usage limit),
search for your free images, download the ones you like. It's that
SMELL THAT SMELL
The Problem: There's an odor of unknown origin in your
classroom. You've cleaned. You've deodorized. You've got a
search-and-seize warrant for a rotten salami sandwich. Nothing
works; your room still stinks.
Your Quick Fix: Air vents can carry odors from other areas of a
building. Rodents have been known to expire in walls and ceilings.
Sometimes classrooms just smell less than fresh. If cleaning and
disinfecting don't cut the stink and you can't tear out the carpet,
try these fixes for odors in your class.
• Epoleon -- This elixir is for the most serious
of odors, such as a dead animal or skunk odors. The water-based
liquid or gel solution creates an organic chemical reaction that
eliminates odor. Find it at epoleon.com and keep it out of
• Scented light bulbs -- With the lights off, use
a cotton ball to dab the bulbs with peppermint, cinnamon, or lemon
essential oils. The oil will dry on the bulb, and when your lights
are on, the bulbs warm to gently scent the room.
• Fresh tubs -- Fill clean plastic butter tubs
with several cotton balls, and drip citrus essential oils on them.
Poke several holes in the tub lids so the scent can escape, close
the lids, and then position the tubs around your room out of kids'
reach. Reapply the oils once per week or as needed.
HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
Lost in the Noise
The Problem: The noise is out of control! You
share your space with other groups or there's a terrible echo
terrible echo due to poor acoustics -- making it difficult
to carry on a conversation, let alone lead your class.
Your Quick Fix: Cushion yourself. Foam blocks
make a remarkable sound wall, so invest in giant, flame retardant
blocks that are colorful and inexpensive (try amazon.com), and then use them to
build a barrier to the noise or to box in your class.
A Landslide of Music and Movies
The Problem: You have a great supply of music and
videos -- but they're disorganized and spilling out
Your Quick Fix: Purchase a large, pocketed CD
case and store all your CDs and DVDs in it. Recycle the jewel
cases, but keep the inserts folded in the storage pocket along with
the corresponding CD or DVD. Label well or you'll go crazy looking
for just the right CD or DVD.
FEELS LIKE A MESS
The Problem: You need a place to store props and other
tools of the ministry trade while they're not in use, but your
storage space is at a premium, you're on the move, or your storage
area is also your stage area.
Your Quick Fix: Try collapsible bins and soft
hanging storage options. These options are sturdy enough to hold
props, but flexible enough to practically disappear when you need
The Problem: Papers, crafts, clipboards, class
rosters, schedules -- stuff is everywhere, taking up space and
drowning your class in clutter.
Your Quick Fix: Wire organizers are one of the
greatest inventions known to humans. Okay, maybe not really, but
they're right up there. Here's just a start on how you can
repurpose these once-glimpsed-only-in-the-office-or-kitchen
• Perfect for holding trays or cookie sheets for snacks
• A great place to store craft projects while paint or glue
• Works as a message board or central document station for parents
(holds permission slips, take-home papers, seasonal information,
• A wonderful way to organize your class information, such as
curriculum notes, supply lists, copies, and more cm