Top 20 Supply Closet Organization Tips for Children’s Ministry
Published: March 1, 2023
Whether the school year is coming up or spring is just around the corner, you may have some cleaning goals for your children’s ministry supply closet. But where do you begin? Perhaps your supply closet is trashed, tiny, or non-existent!
We’ve got you covered with 20 tips inspired by actual children’s ministry closets from around the country. From giant rooms to tiny closets, and from permanent storage to mobile churches, you’ll be inspired by these awesome supply closets and ready to organize your own!
1. Use cabinets and shelves.
If you find this photo inspiring, just wait until you hear how the space started out. While Abby Burg from Minneapolis has a beautiful, polished supply room now, it didn’t begin that way!
Abby only wishes she took “before” pictures, because the room was “a disaster of a dumping zone” when Abby started at her church. To get to this organized room, Abby had to excavate layers of craft projects and supplies off the floor.
One thing that gives Abby’s room dimension and a clean feel is alternating tall cabinets with low shelves. The cabinets, with their closed doors, help minimize the “cluttered” look, while the shelves with organized bins give visibility to common supplies.
If your supply closet is a large room with a window like Abby’s, this also enables you to make the most of the space under the window without blocking light.
2. Decorate your supply closet with photos and posters.
If you have a large room like Abby, consider how you can make the space feel more home-y.
Photos of kids and volunteers in your ministry, colorful posters, painted walls, and other décor can go a long way in making a space feel inviting as volunteers look for supplies.
Want to go above and beyond? Stock your room with a mini library of children’s ministry books for volunteers to borrow.
3. Hang hula hoops on a hook!
If there’s one item that’s hard to store neatly, it’s hula hoops! These fun toys are a blast and are an easy way to create separated floor spaces for kids, but they are large, unwieldy, and like to roll! Abby’s hula hoop hooks are a genius way to keep them neat and tidy! Here’s where you can get the hook and the straps that are holding them together.
4. Use trays to sort construction paper.
We don’t know why construction paper doesn’t always come pre-sorted, but it sure is helpful to take the time to sort it! Paper trays like the one Emily Snider of Michigan uses make it easy to put like colors together so that when you need to make paper fires, you can easily grab reds, oranges, and yellows!
5. Categorize your supply closets.
Emily is blessed to have two closets and a resource room. Rather than just dump things randomly between the three spaces, she uses one as a teacher resource room, one as a supply closet just for VBS, and one as an outdoor games/camp supply closet. If you have multiple storage spaces, consider what categories make sense for you, and divide things strategically.
6. Label clear containers.
Clear containers allow you to see what’s inside your bins, and labels allow you to read what’s inside. This makes it easier to find what you need whether you’re visual or more verbal. Ellen Hermanson of Cedar Falls, Iowa has mastered this organizational technique! In fact, Ellen reports “Today at church, someone who doesn’t normally lead groups commented that she was amazed how easy it was to go into the room and find what she needed.”
7. Use a rolling cart with storage so you can have a workspace and additional storage.
Ellen took a cubby station and raised it, adding wheels so it can easily move if they need more floor space. The top is a handy workstation, but they can maximize storage by putting bins inside. Now that’s an efficient use of space!
8. Use extendable tables for additional workspace.
Not only is Ellen’s workspace portable, but it’s also extendable! The ends fold up and down so that it doesn’t take up as much room, but it can offer more workspace as needed.
9. Adjustable wire shelves maximize your supply closet storage.
Adjustable wire shelves like the ones Ellen uses make it easy to raise and lower shelves. That way you can fit bigger bins by making shelves taller, without wasting space if you have a lot of small bins to accommodate.
10. Provide a workstation with basic supplies.
Sarah Hurt of Virginia also has a workstation, but hers includes some basic, common use supplies such as a paper cutter, scissors, and hand sanitizer. Prepping supplies for Sunday school is so easy!
11. Keep your workstation clean and clear so there’s room to prep.
An empty table can quickly become a dumping ground. Be sure to keep your workstation clean and clear so no one has to move things around (or dump them on the floor) in order to find a place to do prep work.
12. Recruit volunteers who love organization.
It’s one thing to get a supply closet organized, but keeping it that way is a never-ending job! Sarah has a wonderful team of people who keep the supply room organized and take care of the space as if it was their own. She also has a place for them to list any supplies they’re running low on, so Sarah can keep the room well-stocked. Sarah says, “I am thankful for volunteers who create space to help God’s love grow through little creative hands, minds, and hearts!”
13. Number storage bins to ensure they’re returned to the correct place.
Kathy Peregoy and the RezKids team from Colorado have a brilliant system for keeping things in the right place: numbered bins. Each bin has a color-coded tag to sort office supplies, props for skits, and general supplies. Then within each color, bins are organized in numerical order. That way if a volunteer borrows bin 13, she knows right where to return it! (I’ve been a volunteer for RezKids and let me tell you, I really enjoyed cleaning up because I never had to wonder where things went!)
14. Inventory supplies alphabetically in a binder.
Ready to go next-level? Kathy not only numbers her bins, she provides a binder with an alphabetical list of supplies. Need Sharpies? Check bin 17. Or find stencils in bin 8!
15. Create a bin of prepped supplies for each class.
Chris Meyer and Laurie Bates from Colorado set up a wonderful system to equip their leaders. They recruited volunteers who prep supplies so teachers can come in and have everything cut, copied, and ready to go. With a bin for each classroom and service, it’s easy for volunteers to walk right in and grab what they need. Happy volunteers will stick around!
16. Combine a lounge area and storage closet.
Do you have a lounge space for your volunteers? Even if you have a separate supply closet, you can have a little shelving in the lounge for the most commonly used supplies. That way if a volunteer wants to improvise last-minute, they can easily access what they need.
17. Alphabetize your supply closet.
Who doesn’t love an easy, alphabetized closet? By sorting your bins alphabetically, it’s easy for anyone to walk in and find what they need.
18. Use portable storage solutions.
Maybe you’re in a mobile church and have been a little jealous seeing all these huge supply rooms. Don’t worry, we have tips for you, too! The RezKids team from Colorado also organizes a couple of satellite campuses with rented space. There’s no room for numbered bins there, but the team utilizes portable storage on wheels that maximizes space, like the one seen here. How about a TV cart that unfolds to reveal storage? The RezKids team has found brilliant storage resources at portablechurch.com.
19. Plan ahead.
Jessica of Louisiana is #ministrygoals. When a family emergency took her away from ministry last year, her lessons weren’t prepared, and her team had to scramble. She decided to take action in January and organized her supplies for the entire year. 53 lessons’ worth of supplies are in this small closet, bagged and labelled by week and ready to go. She’s efficiently packed all of that on the bottom shelf, leaving the rest of her small closet to fit organized bins of additional toys and supplies. For easy-to-prep curriculum options, click here.
20. Maximize small spaces.
Got a small closet? As an editor for Group, I need to have a lot of children’s ministry supplies on-hand so I can test out the fun experiences we create for our friends in ministry. But working remotely in Maine, I had to fit all these supplies in my tiny office closet! It measures in at a whopping 15 inches deep and 21 inches wide. Here’s what I did: Get bins that fit just right into your closet (measure the shelves before you buy bins!), and think of categories to fill the bins so you don’t have empty space. For example, you’ll see a “stuff that writes” bin that’s filled to the brim with pens, colored pencils, crayons, and markers, instead of putting those in separate bins.
Here are more ideas on making the most out of minimal space for your ministry.
Using the ideas in this article, you too can have a photo-worthy storage solution. Whether you have a small closet or a big room, you’re now loaded with ways to make the most of your space and make it feel tidy and inviting.
But we have one more special gift to launch you into your spring cleaning: a master list of all the supplies you may want to keep handy. (And if this feels like a long list for a small supply closet, just remember that I fit almost all this stuff in my 15×21-inch closet!)
Once your supply closet is organized, you’ll be ready to organize even more ministry stuff…and get into more spring cleaning! Got some big messes to clean up? Check out these awesome hacks for common ministry messes.
For even more leader resources, check out these articles!
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