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4 Ways to Clear the Clutter in Your Classroom

If you are reading this in the Summer of 2020 amid the COVID-19 crisis, then you have so many questions arising about what school will look like for us next year. 

But regardless of what school looks like for us next year, you can set yourself up for success by clearing the clutter in your classroom and getting everything organized! 

If you are anything like me, you look at Pinterest and Instagram and think “YES! Let's do it”… then you walk into your classroom and this overwhelming feeling hits you in the face, so you just turn around and walk back out. 

Let me give you a tip. NO ONE has a perfectly Pinterest classroom. And those pictures on Instagram? They are STAGED! How do I know? I do the same thing myself. No one wants to see the piles and piles of paperwork we have stashed away, so we only show the pretty stuff. 

So here's what you do. Throw out the notion of having a perfectly Pinterest classroom and GET. TO. WORK. 

It's as simple as that. Just get to work. Get your hands dirty and as a need arises, THEN go research ways to resolve it with cute classroom labels.

So today I'm bringing you no-nonsense ways to clear the clutter in your classroom. Nothing fancy, nothing pretty. Just practical ways to get yourself organized for the upcoming year, no matter what it may bring us.  

The Ultimate End of Year Checklist for Teachers

This is seriously the only end of year checklist you will ever need and it's YOURS for free!! It includes a generic list of things to do, things to clean, things to store and put away, things your students can help you do, things to turn in to the office, a checklist of technology, a checklist for your classroom library AND SO MUCH MORE!

Tips for getting things done

-Break large tasks into small chunks.

-Don't try to do it all at once, pick 2-3 things a day that you want to accomplish.

-Highlight the priority items and try to finish those first. 

-Delegate as much as possible to your students. 

-Purge as much as possible, I promise it will make you feel better!
 -Give yourself a break, you've been teaching tiny humans and you are mentally, emotionally and physically tired. Go reward yourself, it will all get done! 

The Ultimate Inventory Checklist

Now you need a better way to take inventory of what you still have, what you need to prep a purchase order for, or what you need to keep an eye out for over the summer.

If you take inventory of your supplies NOW, you will be thanking yourself come Back to School time!!

If you have strong willpower, this is a great way to make sure you aren't spending extra money on things you already have.

If you are anything like me, you will probably buy the stuff anyway because you “might need it” 🙈

Am I Right?

Best Tips for Inventory: 

-Set aside a good chunk of time, trust me it's better to do this all at once

-Make a code of things you NEED and things you WANT

-Don't be afraid to get rid of things! If you haven't used it in the last year, TOSS IT!

Monthly Labels

I love organization that is quick, easy, simple and oh so pretty. That is why I am offering you my #1 secret to keeping my classroom organized in a way that lets me plan one or two months at a time.

My secret? Easy, if you want to plan a month at a time, you have to keep it organized that way!! I keep my all of my books, stations, activities and holiday themed manipulatives in Banker Boxes that I got at Wal-Mart for about $15 for 10 boxes.

As you can see, most boxes will hold two months worth of materials. For some reason, my November box is stuffed full! (Must be the paper bag turkey hanging out in there).

What's Inside

I use the same labels from the outside of the box on my bags of books and stations. I like to use the XL Ziploc Bags for storing/organizing my books and stations for the month. They are the PERFECT size! When I made the labels, I made them with a very simple design and white background. I did this so that I could copy on colored paper and color code everything for that month to match each other.

Organize Your Classroom Library

This is a project that is labor intensive the first year, then requires a little maintenance every year after. The big question is… how the heck do I organize it all? 

We have all heard the research that says students should be reading books “on their level” every day during independent reading time. But, we've also heard the research on the importance of teaching kids to love to read and the importance of students being able to read books that interest them.

For these two reasons, I have organized my classroom library into two sections: On Level Books and Interest Books.

You can read more about it here—>

Leveled Classroom Library Labels

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!