Let’s face it: Teachers have a lot of stuff to keep track of … and that’s not even counting students! It might seem like a messy classroom is inevitable, but we promise you it’s not. This school year, keeping your classroom clean and organized is going to be more important than ever, so we rounded up the best messy classroom solutions to help you out.
Pro Tip: You’ll find all the cleaning and school supplies you need on the Walmart Teacher Shop. Go forth and conquer the chaos!
1. Create a teacher cart
Teachers absolutely love rolling carts. Take a look around Instagram and Pinterest and you’ll see so many ways to use these carts to keep messy classroom spaces in check. These may come in especially handy this year as some schools are choosing a plan that keeps students in one room while the teachers travel from class to class.
2. Try Tidy Tubs
Here’s something we bet you’ve never considered: How many trash cans does your classroom have? Probably just one, plus maybe a recycling bin, right? No wonder so much trash seems to wind up all over the floor by the end of the day! Invest in small “Tidy Tubs” for each table or to spread around the room, and have one student empty them all into the main trash at the end of the day. (Be sure to use these only for things like scrap paper or pencil shavings; germy items like used tissues or chewing gum should go straight into the main trash can.)
3. Use your dishwasher to sanitize
Even if you try to give each kid their own set of math manipulatives or other learning toys, these items still needs to be deep-cleaned regularly. It turns out that your dishwasher might just be the easiest way to do it. Corral small items in lingerie bags, colanders, or steamer baskets, then let the dishwasher work its magic. It will sanitize messy classroom toys in no time!
4. Organize anchor charts with pants hangers
Anchor charts are fantastic tools that you can reuse from year to year. They accumulate fast, though, and they aren’t all that easy to store. Smart teachers use pants hangers with strong clips. You can hang these from hooks on the wall or on a closet rod. Even better: When space is tight, tiered pants hangers let you store dozens of charts flat against the wall.
5. Embrace the power of the milk crate
Remember those milk crates you used to build bookshelves in your dorm room? They’re also terrific tools for taming a messy classroom. This year, it will be especially important for every student to have separate spaces for all their stuff. Milk crates are an inexpensive solution, and they can serve multiple purposes in the classroom. Check out some of our favorite ways to use them here.
6. Divide (papers) and conquer
How is it that the world itself is becoming more “paperless,” yet teachers seem to be surrounded by piles of papers at all times? We don’t know, but we do know that this rolling 10-drawer cart has become a favorite of teachers for just that reason. Many use it to organize handouts and lesson plans for the week. (Need more space? There’s a 20-drawer version too!)
7. Assemble a Teacher Toolbox
Sometimes the worst part of a messy classroom is the teacher’s desk itself. If you know just what we mean, then it’s time to put together a Teacher Toolbox. Get all those supplies out of your desk drawers and into a hardware storage box instead. Now your desk drawers are free for more important things, like the supply of emergency chocolate!