I’ve finished setting up my classroom, and it only took one whole week! I’m not really being sarcastic…in the past, it’s taken me at least two weeks, going from start to finish. I credit the faster pace this year with a few key aspects – mainly, the student helpers from last year’s class I had rotating in my room throughout the week. They were able to help with bulletin boards, supplies on kids desk, my classroom library, etc. I am very grateful for their help, and it was nice to catch up with them at the same time.
In addition, this year I finally threw away crap. It’s not that I’m a hoarder by any means, but year to year, items I don’t really use seem to be saved. Last year was especially bad, because I changed schools in somewhat of a stressed manner – throwing everything I had into boxes, instead of sorting through it. With the chaos of moving into my new room, I didn’t get a chance to go through those items last August, either, so I kept them all year long. This year, after the avalanche in my closet came tumbling down Monday morning, I decided, enough is enough.
I didn’t really throw anything away, as we all know one teacher’s crap is another’s treasure. But I bagged up endless storage containers, borders I was never going to use, and other items like that. Yes, I know, teachers love storage, and I do as much as the next guy, but in my opinion, this wasn’t good quality storage. These were old ripping baskets and junky odd-shaped containers that I never used for anything! The same goes for the borders – I find myself, every year, purchasing one new border, and I tend to gravitate towards the same types every time (sparkly, polka dots, or paw prints of some sort). I know myself too well to assume I’ll actually change the bulletin boards often, so to keep seasonal borders is just silly. I probably had 20 different borders, and in a given year, I seem to use the same six. Time to clean! So I gathered up all these excess items (I’m sure my friend S is glad her side of the closet now looks much better as well…my things were taking over!) and offered them to other teachers, including a new special education teacher in my building who is fresh out of college and had nothing. She gratefully accepted. And now, I have a clean closet and a less cluttered classroom. Ta-da!
So, without further ado, I bring you the before and after pics of my freshly-organized classroom:
Looking at these pictures now, my first reaction is, where’s all my stuff? Other than the books stacked in baskets in the picture on the right, the rest is literally shoved in the back closet, which you can see the door of in the first picture on the left. Bare walls and an empty room – pretty typical, I’d say.
But I moved some furniture around a bit and rearranged some things, and after one week, my room looks like this:
Ahh, so much better! Sorry for the bad quality of these pictures – the products of an iPhone! The middle picture shows only one angle of my classroom library, but all the baskets are put away, and each student has their own book basket, labeled with their name on the windowsill. The last picture is my little corner. Last year, it was filled with clutter and I could barely move behind my desk. Now, I’ve got windowsill space and I actually did a bit of decorating, which is always fun. And look at that cleaned-off desk! I hope I can keep it that way.
This is my new calendar. If I hadn’t mentioned before, it’s not my creation. It came from Bridget at Little Lovely Leaders. I thought it was super-cute, and I love how big it is. I always write down all of our assemblies and activities on the calendar, but the kids could never really see it. Now, they certainly can, and I have handy little magnetic icons to put on for things, like birthdays and holidays. So far, I love it.
As all teachers know, it’s a great feeling when your room is done, organized, and looking pretty. Then, the kids come, and after a week, that all changes. Hopefully, my room will still maintain a more organized feel throughout the school year, and with the amount of junk I got rid of, I think it’s entirely possible!
One week(ish) until the kids arrive!