Teachers, preparing for the end of the school year typically involves entering final grades, preparing for awards day ceremonies, and packing up your classroom. The latter might be the most disliked part, am I right? I’ve always been required to at least pick up everything from the floor so that the janitors can clean and wax the floors for the next school year. In some cases I have had to move classrooms too, so packing up my classroom brought on a whole new meaning. Here are a few ideas and tips for packing up your classroom at the end of the school year.
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Purge and Pass
Before you put anything away, go through everything in your classroom and get rid of things that are trash and/or things that you won’t need next year. This includes papers too! Please tell me why I continue to keep worksheets from 5 and 6 years ago?! At my school, a table was set up for us to place things that we were getting rid of, like extra manipulatives, flashcards, and classroom furniture. Other teachers could pass by and take whatever they needed. Don’t be like me and say, “but I might use this in a few years.” Just throw it away now if you pretty much know that you won’t use it. Another option is to donate things that are in good condition to your local Goodwill or pass it on to a new teacher.
Organize and Sort
Once you’ve purged the items that you don’t need, organize and sort what’s left. Put all your manipulatives in one area and your center materials in another. If you have plenty of cabinet storage, then this will be a breeze. If you don’t, try looking for storage boxes to use. My school graciously gives us cardboard boxes to use which really helps to keep things organized. Many of your local stores fold up their cardboard boxes and place them in the back of the store. Turn on your teacher charm and ask if you can have a few. Even if you don’t have to move classrooms or schools, using boxes might still be useful. In the next step, I even have labels that you can affix to your boxes.
Box It Up
This school year is bittersweet for me because I will be taking a bit of time off from the classroom to be a work-at-home mom. So I have to box up all of my personal belongings and put them in storage. Some teachers will be boxing up their materials as well because they are moving to new schools, new grades, or retiring. I created these labels back in 2015 but I have updated them and plan to use them again this school year. When I decide to return to the classroom, I want to know exactly what is in each box, and these labels will help a lot. Don’t people typically label boxes when they move from one house to another? Of course they do. It helps you know which items go in which room of the house. The same logic applies to your classroom and it will make unpacking an easier task.
Store and Cover
I added this one because not every teacher decides to move things out of their classroom for the summer. During my first few years of teaching, I only took my microwave and refrigerator out of the classroom. Besides lifting everything off the floor, I kept my room intact, curtains and bulletin boards too. Until one year I came back from summer break and my bulletin board had faded. THE HORROR! So if you don’t plan on moving anything out, be sure to cover your belongings. I’ve used bulletin board paper, bed sheets, and leftover fabric from classroom decor projects. Pretty much anything will do the trick. Covering your items protect them from dust as well as any chemicals your janitors use when waxing the floors.
Label the Big Stuff
This is another “I-don’t-know-how-they-do-it-at-your-school” moment, but when the janitors clean our floors for the summer, they take all of the big items out of our classrooms and put them in the hallway. So tables, chairs, computers, and desks are removed from our rooms. Now I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure my things don’t get lost in the shuffle when they are in the hallway. We are always encouraged to label all of our big items to make sure they return right back to our classrooms. I don’t like to use labels or stickers because they are hard to get off. So instead, I open up Microsoft Word and type my name and room number in a basic table. The picture above is an example. I print several sheets of labels, cut them out, and tape them to all of my classroom items.
I hope these tips helped you as your prepare to say goodbye to your students this school year and enjoy your summer break. Make sure you pick up the Cardboard Box Moving Labels from my TpT store. What other tips or tricks do you have for packing up at the end of the school year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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