5 Ways to Use a Card Catalog System in Your Art Room

One of my most unique organizational tools is a new card catalog system!  The idea came about when the art teacher before me left an old card catalog system.  At first I looked at it and thought what an interesting item for the art room, and then through out my first year of teaching I was finding all sorts of uses for this fabulous little system.

This past year, we combined with an elementary building and together moved into a brand new building (a positive that came from the flood of 2008).  When we met with the architects to decide what items we could use to effectively run our classrooms, a new card catalog system was first on my list.  The other art teacher has found all sorts of things to store in her card catalog system as well!



5 Ways to Use a Card Catalog System in Your Art Room 

1)      Organize colored pencils and markers by color- Our custodians and myself help to collect these items that are lost in the hallways throughout the year and especially during locker clean out

2)      Have drawers pre-sorted with supplies based on specific projects

3)      Store extra pencils and erasers for students- for those that always seem to forget :)

4)      Store Rulers-the drawers are just the right size for a 12 inch ruler!

5)      Store popsicles sticks with students names on them sorted by class to randomize students


Students know that the card catalog system is the hub of their supplies! It is the famous question that we all hear a thousand times a day “Mrs. Meyer, Where is the (fill in the blank with whatever art supply you can think of)______ at?” and now I can simply say check the card catalog!  It works great for them to know exactly where their needed supplies are at! The drawers pull out too, which can allow students to bring the entire drawer back to their work area if they need to find just the right red!

So if you know of any libraries that are looking to retire their card catalog drawers, you might just have a great home for it in your art room!

What is the most unique organizational tool you have in your art room?

Chelsie Meyer

This article was written by former AOE writer and technology guru Chelsie Meyer.


  • Nj art teacher

    These are so hard to come by where I live. Schools near me are required to put up for auction all items not needed anymore. I was able to purchase one for my house at auction, but for $200. I Wish I could have one in art room. The fact that they have labels is a great thing too. Scrap paper by color would be another good use.

    • Yes, I have seen a lot of neat ideas using a card catalog system for the home, storing home decor, office supplies, etc. What fun! The old wooden ones have a lot of character!

    • What a great idea for colored scrap paper! Thanks for sharing!

  • erica

    super expensive and hard to come by around here in CT. I’ve been looking for one for YEARS! For my house tho:) I love card catalogues. You hit the jackpot with that one!

  • DcpArt

    I have some from our school library when they went online & with the metal rods pulled out they make excellent yarn caddy.

    • What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! I will have to try storing yarn in them.