Maximize Your Space!: Tips for Setting Up a School Counseling Office

Setting up a school counseling office can be a daunting task, especially for new school counselors.

I am going to provide you with a series of tips to help you set up your new school counseling office or revamp the space that you already have.

I have had multiple school counseling offices of varying sizes - everything from a windowless room to a small classroom!  Whether you are lucky to have lots of room or are squeezed in to a few square feet, the space you have is precious.

I believe in maximizing every inch of it! :)

*Note: The pictures you see below are a combination from different offices that I have had over the years... they are not all pictures of the same space.

Windows and window coverings are underutilized office spaces.  In my school counseling office I made the most of both.  Windows can be used to display student work like in the picture below.

I showcased my Children of Incarcerated Parents group's Goal Mountain and my Grief and Loss group's Healing Heart on the windows.  You could see the back of the mountain and the heart from on the playground which was pretty cool.  When driving to work in the morning I could see it from the road, which made me smile.

Having student work on the window added color and interest to my office.  Displaying student work is also a great way to "advertise" the work you do with students.  When people stopped by my office they couldn't help but notice the gigantic mountain and heart on my window.  They were definitely conversation starters.

Window Coverings
I also used the window coverings in my office to showcase student work and for a "How Can I 'Chill Out' When I'm Feeling Upset?" display seen in the picture below.

Window Ledges
Window ledges are a great place to put items on display.  In the picture above I had stress balls and other items on the window ledge.  I also used window ledges to display books and my puppet tree.

Windows can also be used for drawing!  In the picture above I used Crayola Window Markers to write a "Thank You" to donors from Donors Choose.

In this picture I used Crayola Window Markers to write a message on my window for a group.  I also kept a container of window markers available for students to use. Many students enjoyed drawing on the windows.  Many were shocked that they were allowed to write on a window in school... what can I say... the school counselor's office is a pretty cool place to be! ;)

I used cabinets to host my Nerf Basketball hoop and inspirational posters I downloaded for FREE from Fablevision.

Dual Purpose Items
This past school year I was really struggling to adapt to a smaller space from a much larger space. I needed to make sure every item in my office had a purpose.

I stumbled upon storage ottomans at Target one day at the beginning of last school year.  They were on clearance so I got them to try out.  They are pushed under the table in the picture below. (This is the same picture I earlier in this post...)

I loved that I could use the ottomans as a comfy seat and for storage.  

When I was at Target the other day, I noticed they had the same ottoman I purchased for my office last year but in TONS of fun colors! 

So jealous... The storage ottomans are currently on sale in stores for $15. You can view them in the Target weekly ad here. I am not sure how long that will last. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase them online. You can view them on Target's website, but you cannot purchase them. (I got mine on clearance for about $7 so watch for end of season clearance on these!)
*Note since writing this post the storage ottomans are now on sale in stores for $14 from 8/12/12 until 8/18/12. 

Any Other Surface You Have Available
Pretty much any surface is fair game... 

I used white boards, the area underneath the white board, bulletin boards, the front of my desk, the floor, my door... 

... and wall space. I guess I was just considering that a given!

How do you maximize space in your school counseling office? 

This is the first post in a series of Tips for Your School Counseling Office.

Other posts about School Counseling Offices
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Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources. Connect with Danielle via emailTwitterPinterestLinkedInGoogle+, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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