- Glass jars. Try to get people to soak off the labels (or at least wash and dry them well) first. These make for candleholders (tissue paper "stained glass), meditation jars, paint mixers and cream shakers (not the same jars, of course).
- Yogurt containers. The two-cup Greek yogurt containers are fabulous for watercolor painting water cups. The little individual ones are good for holding counting chips and things like that.
- The little trays and containers my Chinese takeout come in. These are good for holding collage supplies.
- The trays on which sit summer rolls to go. I have big containers of colored pencils and thin, non-scented markers (thick markers are in marker stands and stinky markers are out only when needed). Kids grab a handful for personal or partner use and put them on a tray. This is time-efficient for me and provides opportunities for negotiation - although it does involve some teaching and class meetings at the beginning of the year.*
*Although honestly I think fights over supplies tend to start with kids assuming that there will never be enough. While I encourage careful supply use and conservation, I also make sure that we have more than enough of any one thing. Supply affluence cuts down on hoarding and arguments, and I believe children learn best when they can devote their energy to learning, not worrying about who has a pink crayon and who doesn't.