Educational bundles are all the rage at the moment and are great for both the creators and the buyers but how do you keep everything organized?
What exactly are educational bundles?
This is where a group of creators get together and all contribute to the bundle usually with a theme. The bundle is then sold at a huge discount and the creators then split the profit.
I’m a regular contributor to the Montessori Mega Bundles along with about 30 other Montessori creators. There are other types of bundles out there too but the premis is the same.
A collated collection with a theme offered for a limited time at a reduced price.
What’s the catch?
There is no catch, For the creators, it is a great way to get in front of a new audience and for the buyer, you get a huge amount of products for a fraction of the regular price. This is great for teachers on a budget and homeschoolers alike.
If you landed here and want to know more about Montessori this is a good place to start.
How To Organize Your Bundles, Files and Mini Units
Often these bundles have hundreds of pages and numerous files and sifting through it all to find what you need can be a bit of a nightmare. I highly recommend that you take a bit of time when you first buy your bundle, to organize it properly so that you save yourself a truckload of time down the line.
I have seen it recommended online that you go and print everything out in one go and then add it to plastic folders, I do NOT recommend this course of action if you are not a school teacher.
If you are a homeschooler, the chances are you are not going to need or use everything in the bundle, and that is OK! Printing everything is wasteful not only for the environment but also for your wallet!
Plus it might be that some of the items in the bundle are not suitable for your three year old at the moment but will be perfect in a couple of years time. It is much better to print the things you need as you need them. Otherwise, you end up with the files taking up physical space and it is much more difficult to keep them organized.
Often with bundles, you have a limited amount of time to access and download everything. Follow these steps to get your system up and running.
The key to keeping it all organized is having a system, and you know how much I like having systems in place. Once you have that nailed, the rest is easy. I’ll share a few tips which will make the whole process easier and fun! Plus a few hidden tips that will make finding the specific file you want at a later date so much easier.
Google Drive is my favourite because of its superior search function, but you could use another storage system like Dropbox, you might want to keep a copy on your hard drive too or an external drive. I like to have a backup because… you never know!
Before we rush in start creating folders we need to be clear on how we are going to set this up. What will work best for you in the future?
You might want to have a folder called Montessori and inside that subfolders with each subject area. Or you might want to keep each bundle in it’s own folder and then sub divide it. This really is a personal choice, do whatever your brain will find it easiest to use.
I personally go for the Montessori and subjects and I will show you how you can keep the bundle related to each file as we proceed.
If you can’t decide what to do with a file or maybe you use project-based learning or mini units alongside Montessori or maybe it feels like the file could go in any of three places. Then simply do that, make another copy and pop it into the other folders, then you have all bases covered.
Google Drive Is Your Friend
In Drive, start by creating the folders you will need (click +New then Folder the give it a name)
To create a sub folder, open the first folder and then click +New then Folder the give it a name.
Don’t worry if you addd a folder in the wrong place, it is easy to move things around later.
Now you have your folders in place it is time to upload. If the bundle has the files hosted on Drive, make sure you are making a copy and not adding files to your drive that are shared. If it is a shared file and at a later date the owner revokes access you will lose the file.
An extra ninja trick… use the colour options. Colour coding your folders is a nice added touch and you can match them to the Montessori colour coding if you wish.
Name Your Bundles Files Intelligently
Usually, the files will already be named sensibly but you might want to tweak or add to it. For example, if you are adding files from the Summer Mega Bundle but the file name doesn’t reflect that, you can add it to the file name. Alternatively, you might want to add a word so that you know at a later date which age the file would be good for.
Again, it is up to you how you do this but you will find it easier and more convenient if you pick one way to do it and stay consistent across the board. Something like:
What the file is + the creator + subject + age group + bundle
Types of mushroom 3 part cards by jojoebi biology 3-6 Fall mega bundle
There is a lot of information in the name alone that will help you find the file in the future but we can take things a step further.
Using the notes section we can add more keywords making it easier to find what you want. Google, as you know is a very powerful search engine so even if your filing system gets all messed up, at least you can rely on the search function to find the files you need when you need them.
If you are like me and remember visually what the file contains but suck when it comes to names, this is a great hack! Write a few keywords describing what is in the file, that way, when you remember what the file contains but don’t remember what it was called or who made it, you will have a fallback when it comes to finding it.
I’m not going to lie, it will take a while to get this all in place but once you have a system set up, it gets easier. Moving forward, as you add new files to your library, freebies that you find, or other files that you buy it is easy to add them to your filing system.
This will also help you make informed decisions moving forward, next time you see something, it is easy to pop into Drive and do a search to make sure you don’t already have what you need but you had forgotten about it.
If you are a fan of Montessori 3 part cards but get stuck with what you can do with them beyond the learning to name the cards, this post explains how to use 3 part cards and this one will give you more ideas on how to use them in other fun ways.
One final word about digital files
I wish this didn’t need saying but sadly it does. Digital files are covered by copyright, they are are the creators intellectual property. That means that if you share them, either in digital or printed format, you are stealing.
As a content creator, I can tell you that it takes hours to create educational materials, often we pay for images, photographs, fonts etc too. Many of us do it for the love of creating but we still have families to feed!
If you do want to share it is a much more ethical choice to send your friend the link to the shop or to the website where you found the file. If it is from a bundle, usually the creator has the file for sale somewhere too. For example, I submitted the Spring festivals and Summer Festivals files, both of which are available in my Teachers pay Teachers and Etsy stores.