So I used to use mailboxes for my little firsties. My wonderful and amazing Aunt bought me 2 huge, awesome sets for me. I love them, but they just never seemed to work for me. The kiddos would take their paper's out and there would be a trail going from the boxes to their desk. The worst was when they'd leave important papers in there because they got stuck. It drove me crazy. Then I started using binders instead of take home folders and things got even more complicated. There was nowhere for them to store their binders.
So fast forward to 2 weeks into the school year last year. I decided I was not dealing with another year of that madness. For some reason I decided to store the binders up and down inside of 2 Steralite, plastic crates (1 boys, 1 girls). My problem was that I didn't want to put them in order every morning and I didn't want my TA to have to either, so I needed the kids to put them in order. Having firsties do that most days is impossible. There's always someone that doesn't put it in the right area, or ends up somewhere else. This was where, what I think is my best idea ever, came from (lol, maybe not the best ever, but still I'm proud!).
I have 3 Steralite, plastic crates:
In each crate, I put 10 folders, labeled with numbers:
My kiddos have secret agent numbers, and this way I don't have to re-number than the following year. In the morning the kids come in, turn in homework, and put their binder in their folder with the correct number. They put them open side down, so the spine is facing up (I have their numbers on the spine). I even got them facing them all the same way so the numbers were always on the left. The kids always knew which color crate their number was in, and where their folder would be.
When it was time to get their mail at the end of the day, my helpers would just pass out the folders (that contained the binders, mail, worksheets, homework, projects, etc.). The kids would put their papers in their binders then I would call quiet tables to get packed up. On their way to get their backpacks they would place their folder in number order back into the crate. (Hey, BONUS!! They're practicing number order, woo!! Go me!!) It eliminated the whole papers falling all over thing, and it makes it so easy to breeze through the bins real quick to make sure all the numbers are there and no one forgot their binder (a HUGE no, no!!).
I made signs that go on the front just to help the kiddos remember which bin their binder goes into. I hope someone finds this post makes their life a little easier. If I didn't explain it, or you still don't understand, please let me know!! I would take a picture, but I don't have mine here. This is the best I can do for you :-P