Monday, June 13, 2011

Packing and Cleaning up Your Room

It's the end of the school year! Congratulations. You have hopefully had a successful year and are ready to relax and enjoy the summer.

But, you have a few last things to finish. It's time to pack up your room. (Now, if you register for the organizing class and actually follow these steps, you can get college level credit for organizing your room . . . something you have to do anyway.)

Here are the 5 steps - from Organizing from the Inside Out.
1. Sort
2. Purge
3. Assign a home
4. Containerize
5. Equalize


Before you do any putting away, it is time to sort all of the stuff in the classroom. Who can you delegate this to? Your students. Have them put all of the scissors in one place, all of the markers in one place, all of the dictionaries in one place etc. Over the course of the year supplies and other things tend to get spread out. You can also assign a student to test the markers or any other supplies that run out.

Now is not the time to get sidetracked into DOING things. You find phone messages that you need to answer . . . you sort them into the action pile. You are just sorting, not completing any tasks.


Now that you have sorted the items, it's time to purge. Most things are obvious. If you won't use it, you don't need it.

What else should you purge? Some student work is worth saving. Is this an example of something you might use next year to model a lesson? If the answer is yes, keep it. (You might consider scanning it if you copy machine lets you do this. Scan, save and scrap!)

Keep on asking the questions, Do I or my students use this? Is this a resource that I actually used this year? If the answer is no, pass it along, toss it out, or let the students take it!


Because it is the end of the school year, the home might be a box that you are going to unpack at the beginning of next year. I think it is worth the time to actually buy some moving boxes. They are not expensive, and can be used year after year. Make sure that you pack similar things together and label those boxes.

One box should have things that you absolutely must have access to on the first days of school. Make sure you don't pack that box at the bottom of your pile!

Delegate - your students can help you pack into the boxes. They will love the chance to do that and can be very helpful if they are over 2nd or 3rd grade. Also, call a parent or two and ask for help. People want to help, if they are asked.


As you are packing, make a list of all of the containers you want for your classroom for next year. Then, over the summer, you can see if you can find them. I have had good luck at dollar tree for reading baskets and boxes. If you know what you need and want, it will be easier to start next year organized!

Containers make it easy to keep organized. They make it so only so much stuff gets accumulated. They make it easy to pack and move classrooms. When you find out 3 days before school starts that you got placed in a different classroom, moving will be a breeze :)    (Or in the middle of the year, which happened to me when I was 8 months pregnant a few years ago.)


You don't cook your food one time, and then never need to cook or eat again. Organizing is sort of like that. You do a bit, see how it works and then do some more. Set up a time in your appointment book for September when you are going to evaluate how your system is going for you. Write it down. This  appointment is going to save you so much time over the course of the year!


  • Music - listen to music while you work.
  • Friends - share with a friend at school. Offer to do 1 hour in your room and then 1 hour in his or her room. You'll both get more done, have two eyes on the project, and have much more fun.
  • Photos - Take before and after photos. Those will help you stay motivated after you finish the job.
  • Sign up for a commitment. Offer to give money to an anti-charity if you don't do x number of hours on organizing the next few days.
  • Reward yourself - Think, "When I finish organizing my desk, I'm going to buy a plant for my garden, take a walk, read a book, go out to coffee with a friend etc." You don't need to wait to the end to reward yourself. Plan rewards along the way!
  • Sign up to get graduate credit or clock hours. That will give you the extra motivation to get things done!

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