I am linking up with Primary Possibilities to tag along on her Spring Cleaning post. I also hate center materials getting lost, crushed, mixed up, etc. It drives me crazy. I want to be able to walk to the cabinet or shelf, find what I need and not lose any instruction time.
These are my favorite item! They are cardboard magazine holders from Ikea and I have them all over my room! There is an entire shelf devoted to file folder or envelope games. Each box is labeled with a topic or month. I have them facing backwards like they are in this picture so that I don't have to look at all of the envelopes. The kids are not allowed to touch them! I also use these to organize my classroom library and the kids keep their folders in them on a shelf at the end of their table. Yes, they eventually break down, but you can't beat the price! $1.49/5 pack! Sure, I would love to have the colorful plastic ones from Really Good Stuff, but my wallet does not agree with me.
I use these $1 pencil boxes for all the rest of my centers and math manipulatives. I have our math manipulatives divided out so that each table can have their own box. I put all of the card games in here and have each box labeled with the name of the game and the month it is for. Our building used to be a middle school, so our halls are lined with lockers...aka storage! I can fit two stacks of these pencil boxes in each locker for all of the random materials that we "have to have," but rarely use, like popsicle sticks, extra post-it notes, clothespins, googly eyes, etc.