I know it’s not quite the end of the year, but it’s coming, which means it’s time to declutter the classroom. Whether you change classrooms each year or have to pack up the room for cleaning, it’s the perfect time of year to organize a classroom. Organizing a classroom helps you get ready for the next year and feel like you have wrapped up the year with a tight bow!
I wrote up a list of organization strategies to help you close out the year with confidence. Sure, you could just leave the classroom a mess, but is that really what you want to come back to after the break? Check out these useful tips and start organizing your space before the year is out.
How to Store Resources
For starters, the organization begins with storing your teaching resources properly, so everything has a home.
- Use a 10-Drawer Cart System – If you’ve followed my blog in the past, you know I LOVE this 10-drawer cart. I use it so much. It’s fantastic for lesson planning for the week, organizing student papers that get turned in, and filing things away short term. Of course, label your carts with adorable labels, so you know where everything goes.
- Use Containers That Make Sense – Wooden trays are a great way to organize lessons, homework, centers, and anything else you can think of. Use my Rainbow Sunshine Collection to label the bins so both you and your students (and subs) know where to find things.
- Use Mesh Zipper Pouches – Mesh zipper pouches are a lovely way to store small group materials, puzzles, lesson plans, coordinating resources, and so much more.
- Use Binder Covers for Everything – Binder covers will keep your classroom organized as you tuck things away for the year. Label student binders, lesson plan binders, small group material binders, and more.
Keep or Get Rid of?
I keep a lot! It’s embarrassing how much I will hang on to. What I’ve learned, though, is that I don’t have to keep copies of everything. What I mean is, I don’t have to keep 24 copies of one item. The best way to stay organized in the classroom is to keep one copy of everything I know I’ll use in the future and recycle everything else. This way, I just have to copy the paperwork for next year’s class, and my drawers aren’t packed with tons and tons of unnecessary copies.
If you have an abundance of papers or materials you haven’t touched in a while, odds are you can toss them. Recycle papers and offer needed materials to other teachers who could use them. Of course, trash items that are dirty or can’t be reused or repurposed. Getting rid of this clutter will be a game changer for the organization in the classroom.
Send These Things Home with Kids
At the end of the year, you will most likely have oodles of paperwork that can go home with the kids. Send home graded papers, artwork, and anything they worked on. Organizing the classroom can start by simply getting rid of things.
If there are class projects that were worked on, select a few students to send those home with or ask for volunteers that want them. You can also send home unwanted prizes and materials you know you won’t use in future years.
How to Store Display Materials to Use Again
Making beautiful bulletin boards is one of my favorite parts of decorating a classroom and creating a fun community for the kids. After we are done with a bulletin board, though, it can be tricky figuring out where to put the pieces so I can use them again. The mesh zipper bags mentioned above are a great storage place for smaller pieces, but what about the larger pieces?
Some teachers roll their bulletin board pieces up and keep them together with a rubber band. Others use paper clips or large poster board file folders to store their materials. There are also some who use a super large binder clip to hang up either bulletin board borders on hooks or pegs. This idea works perfectly if you have a cabinet because you can hang them inside the door.
I have found that the easiest way to keep a classroom organized is to label literally everything. There’s no excuse for stray papers and materials because everything has a home. Use the Boho Rainbow Labels to give everything a place and purpose!
Have Kids Help with Organization
Kids LOVE to help with cleaning up at the end of the year. Give them jobs to tidy up each day and stay on top of organizing a classroom by using a Desk Fairy! Give out these simple rewards to students who are super cleaners. They’ll never know who gets it until they walk into the room the next day. Looking forward to that surprise each morning will motivate them to keep their space clean and organized. Use these FREE Desk Fairy reward printables to encourage your students to clean up after themselves.
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