It’s the end of the year, and for many of you that means packing up a classroom. Whether you’re moving classrooms or there’s work being done this summer, it’s never a fun task. On the bright side, it really forces you to do some much-needed cleaning, sorting, and organizing.
Erica B. recently wrote in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE, “When I moved last year, I pretty much threw everything into boxes on the last day of school. This year I wanted to be organized and intentional. What are your tips for packing up a classroom?”
Here are the best responses from our HELPLINE teachers, as well as a few organization hacks we found on Pinterest. Hope this helps, Erica!
1. See it Through
This tip from Jennifer R. is so simple, yet it’s still genius. “Use clear storage totes instead of boxes. This way you can see everything inside.” We also love this idea from Polka Dots Please. She used clear shower caps to go over some of her items to hold them in place yet they’re still visible.
2. Get the Right Storage for the Job
Terri M. had a lot of great advice about packing up a classroom, and she agrees that clear totes are great, especially for scissors, pencils, glue, etc. If you can plan ahead and have lots of different packing options, it will make your unpacking time a LOT easier.
Here are some of her best ideas. “Use cloth shopping bags for books and magazines. Use large totes for board games and larger items. Use a laundry basket for fabric items. Roll up posters, maps, and rugs with ties or ribbons on top and bottom. Use baggies for small manipulatives before putting them in totes.” We also love these XL Ziploc storage totes for an inexpensive option.
3. Mark Your VIBs
You might have the best intentions to unpack everything before the first day of school, but know that it might not happen. For that reason, designate a few VIBs (Very Important Boxes). “Make sure you have a box designated for the first few days back to school,” says Chris M. “It will save you time and frustration.” Here’s another genius idea from Polka Dots Please to show the value of clear containers and labeling.
4. Don’t Make it Personal
Actually, when it is personal, it’s time to let it go. Just follow Trish R.’s rule. “Anything of personal value goes home,” she says. This is a great rule to follow, and it’ll certainly reduce your overall clutter and the amount of “things” you have to move.
5. Did Someone Say Label Maker?
If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to buy a label maker, this is it! They can really help keep you organized and admit it … they’re kind of fun, too! Our label maker of choice is this inexpensive Brother P-Touch.
6. Plan Backwards
This is a great tip from Lorraine R. She says she likes to see where she’s going before she does the packing. “Check out your new room and decide where things will be placed and stored. Then pack and label your stuff accordingly.” If you do this, be sure to take pictures both of your new and old space. It’ll help so much for remembering, planning, and unpacking.