3 Simple Ways To Clean Classroom Clutter

It’s spring already, and you may be thinking ahead to your summer vacation. It’s coming soon, and I know we’re all excited here at LP headquarters.

Meanwhile, you may be looking around your classroom, thinking it’s time to do some spring cleaning. I love a good cleaning. I typically try to go through in sections every six months or year, depending on how cluttered things get.

You can do it Marie Kondo style by looking at each item and asking if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it, and if not, then donate or drop it in the trash. You can also incorporate the Home Edit ideas and use rainbow colors to organize things. I recently did this with my refrigerator, and wow, was it a game-changer. It just looks so beautiful now!

When we can clear out clutter and organize our things, it gives us so much peace and helps us better focus on what’s important.

Turning to the classroom, here are a few things to consider when cleaning up:

1. Review your classroom furniture.
Is there any furniture you’re not using? That U-shaped table where you pile papers and art projects? I know it well, and I did it too, but getting rid of it will make more space for your kids to explore and leave less clutter.
If you have a teacher’s desk, especially a substantial one, ask yourself if you really use it. Perhaps you could get a smaller one and move clunky furniture to the corner of the room.
Also, be sure to inspect all furniture for wear and tear and even broken pieces or not even the right fit for how your students learn. Make adjustments if you can, or ask your custodian for help.
With less furniture, your kids can stop bumping into each other on the way to the meeting area. They’ll enjoy more nooks and spaces to spread out and work during independent reading and writing.

2. Do a chart review.
Walkthrough your room and look for any lingering charts from the start of the school year. Time to refresh those! Notice which charts your kids no longer use. Perhaps there’s an old behavior chart you are now ready to retire. Lakeshore or other store-bought charts that you don’t reference or don’t really match your kids’ needs — take those down, too. Removing charts will give you the space to create new visuals that will support your students in becoming more independent.

With old charts no longer taking up prized real estate, you’ll have room to create brand new ones — charts that you co-create with your kids and are relevant to what you’re teaching now. You can hang up more student examples on your charts to help kids see what’s possible. We always recommend new bulletin boards to celebrate your students’ growth and progress.

3. Sort through your class books.
Before you organize what’s already on your bookshelves, review what you have and notice what books or textbooks might be old. See if you can donate them to another class or library. Also, check out the conditions of the books in your classroom library and recycle any torn, dated, or even the ones kids simply aren’t interested in. You’ll be sure to make another library happy!

Once you’re left with the texts you’re keeping, you’ll be better equipped to organize your library and make room to set things up in different areas. Consider assembling a math area where all the math manipulatives live with a chart or two nearby. Arrange a writing center in one spot with a bulletin board or chart right there to celebrate kids’ work. You could even set some mentor texts there in a basket.

This is also a great time to see if you have opportunities to make your classroom library even more inviting. Can you label book bins or bring out new books you didn’t have room for before? Also, be sure to put tools out like bookmarks, sticky notes, and pens for kids to have quick access.

Cleaning out your classroom spaces gives you the freedom to be more creative and make room for new and innovative work, but it also brings in fresh energy — which we know all teachers need as we approach Summer.

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