Hello there! Today is part two of our Spring Cleaning Your Classroom tips!
(If you missed part one, you can find it here!)
Today is all about storing things in your classroom!
If you’re like a lot of teachers, a walk down the aisle at The Container Store is your idea of a nice Friday night. And although we begin the school year with some great storage ideas and systems, by April, those systems can look a bit like a Pinterest Fail.
Don’t beat yourself up! While you’re spring cleaning, you’re bound to find things that you haven’t had the chance to put away while you were busy, ya know, teaching and making a difference in the lives of your students.
So, now that you’ve decluttered, let’s chat about some quick storage hacks when it comes to spring cleaning time!
Make a Lost and Found
…if you don’t already have one.
I used to keep a Lost & Found box in my classroom that would always get filled with pencils, erasers, markers, and crayons. Those supplies are the perfect things to keep from year to year if they’re still usable and in good shape. Students will always ask you if they can borrow these types of things and it’s easy to share your “community” container! A pencil is still a pencil, even if it’s not brand new.
Like a lot of teachers, I’m pretty thrifty and firmly believe to get the most out of what you pay for! When you’re spring cleaning, it’s hard to feel like you have to throw away all of the half-used supplies that you’ll inevitably find. Having a Lost and Found is a convenient place to toss those for now.
At the end of the year, you can bag up all of the half-used crayons and save them for melted crayon crafts! If you don’t want them, I’m willing to bet that one of the other teachers in your building will!
Teacher tip: I also use these half-used materials at my small groups table. I keep small buckets of them organized by type. If a glue stick runs out during small groups, we can toss it and grab another one pretty quickly!
Reorganize Extra Supplies that Students Will Use
By this point in the year, my storage cabinets look like they’ve had better days. Although I feel like I’m out of glue sticks, there are usually at least a few extra rolling around in there somewhere! I’d encourage you to reorganize these materials that, in many cases, students brought in at the beginning of the year. You don’t have to take a full inventory or anything like that, but being assured that you do, in fact, have enough glue sticks, crayons, and pencils to make it another 8-9 weeks is a good feeling.
And, if you are running out of something, you might be able to trade or borrow from another teacher. I’ve totally traded a few packs of crayons for a few sticks of glue before!
Gather Activities Used for Centers, Morning Tubs, Etc.
I love storing my morning tub activities in labeled containers organized by month. However, those activities sometimes get put in the wrong place during the school year. Honestly, sometimes they get put into a pile because I just.don’t.have.the.TIME.
If you’re spring cleaning and you run across activities that should be organized with your centers or tubs, grab a gallon-sized baggie and fill ‘er up. If you have time to place them in the correct containers now, great! If not, you will at least feel better that they’re all together instead of sitting around, lonely and lost in your classroom. 😉
If you haven’t had time to find a good storage solution for these throughout the year (you’ve been busy!), now is a good time to start thinking about that. Here’s a blog post about how I store morning tub activities. I also like these plastic storage boxes because they stack really well.
Tend to Your Classroom Library Area
This is also a good time to clean up your classroom library. Not only will you be able to check your inventory to see what’s missing, but I also feel like my students enjoy the library more when they can tell I just reorganized it!
Most likely, you’ll find some books that need a visit to the Book Hospital this summer, so you can set those aside at this time, too.
Now that you’ve stored and stashed the stuff you’ve found around your classroom, it’s time to do the actual cleaning part of spring cleaning! Stay tuned for part three!