Clean Up- Clean Out!

2:12 PM

I know this may be weird, but I LOVE the end of the year. I love cleaning out and organizing my classroom and dreaming/planning about NEXT year. Classroom organization and design are some of my favorite parts of being a teacher!

At my school, we don't have to COMPLETELY move out, or put everything away, but it is to our benefit to do a lot of de-cluttering and storage. Our school runs a fabulous summer camp during over vacation, and we share our space with the church weekly. Since we are not the ones using our rooms and may not visit them for weeks, it's better to be safe than sorry!

We have a week between the end of school and the beginning of camp. For this week I am taking advantage of the opportunity for my classroom to be WRECK. I pull EVERYTHING out of my cabinets and purge purge purge!

Here are some of my tips for getting organized before you head off to sunny beaches or your neighborhood pool!

1. Enlist the troops

Before school ends, I try to dedicate at least an afternoon to getting the kids to help with the time consuming jobs- sorting manipulatives, testing markers/glue sticks etc. However, I hope your declutter session doesn't end up like mine. The day I decided to do this started off well-enough, but then not one but TWO of my students got sick to their stomach. I had both of them over trash cans. My other kids did a great job letting me help out my invalids, but it was hard to keep them focused on the task at hand!

Moving on, I not only got my items sorted, but discovered that there were some manipulatives that I needed mixed in with my pattern blocks that I didn't even know I had! 1-inch square pieces were on my list of items I needed to ask for, and behold, I don't need them now!

2. Pull EVERYTHING out of your cabinets, drawers, etc.

When you pull everything out and take inventory, it's nice to see it all. For example, I realized I had two sets of base-10 blocks, over 50 mini clocks, and at least a million dollars worth of paper money. Who needs all that?? I was able to free up some serious real estate in the already crowded cabinets!

I also put all of my empty bins, baskets and tubs in one spot. This way I can see what is available, discard any broken items and have what I need at my finger tips.

I also drag the biggest trashcan I can find into my room. I tend to throw away A LOT. If this is a struggle for you, enlist a friend. You know who can help you with this.

3. Put all Your Papers in One Spot & Make a List

You know that long checklist of things you are supposed to do? Have you ever lost it in your quest to get better organized? I know I have!
Now I try to create a central location for the things I know I need to have handy. I like to use a pretty paper tray, or even clip it to a bright clipboard. The polka dot one I made 3 years ago is my favorite. I only have one so that my kids can help me find it when I'm losing my marbles!

As I am decluttering and cleaning, I am also making next year's to do list. I hope to share that with you in the next post. I also try to keep a spiral notebook with a few more ongoing lists. My principal likes to have a Need/Want/Dream list. Anytime I think of something while I'm cleaning, I have it available. I also have to turn in a work order list. I keep this in the notebook too.

4. Tunes & Caffeine

I plug in my favorite Pandora station to my computer speakers and always make sure to treat myself to a little Starbucks during teacher work week. I like to wallow in the fun stuff without having responsibility for the kids. Having these little luxuries helps me to stay focused and be efficient.

5. Take home your favorites

My husband always insists on me packing up my classroom library and storing it at home. We have a lot of money tied up in those books! It's a lot of work, but we take the whole lot home. It's over 1000 books!

I also take home a lot of my personal items. You never know when someone thinks they can help themselves, or if there is a water leak. I'm lucky that Mr. B comes and helps with the heavy lifting!

What is your process for the end of the year? Were any of these tips helpful for you?

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