I got a message from a student inside The Organized Teacher Framework™ who told me she filled up two trashcans worth of stuff in her classroom to get rid of. It got me thinking, what are some of the things teachers having laying around their classroom that they can get rid of right now?
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I am often asked about which things to keep and which to get rid of. Teachers want to know how to decide what to keep and what to throw out.
Part of the problem is, as teachers, we tend to be hoarders. Which is fair. We are given (practically) zero dollars to set up our classroom and want to hang on to things in case we might need them.
Key word there is might!
In this post, I’m sharing a list of things you can get rid of today! Be sure to click links for any items that apply to you, you’ll find some extra tips and ideas!
Plus, stick around till the end where I tell you about how to keep it all organized!
Classroom Things to Get Rid Of
The “save the planet” side of me wants to make sure you exhaust all options before actually throwing something in the trashcan.
Remember, you can donate items to other teachers (who want the items, don’t just dump them on them!), the library or specials teachers, the library or volunteer spaces in your community, the possibilities are endless. Also, be sure to recycle whenever possible!
And, check out The Zero Waste Classroom for more ideas on creating a sustainable classroom.
- Dried out or old markers
- Anchor charts your students are no longer using
- Documentation for former students
- Papers/activities you never got around to last month
- Broken maniuplatives
- Student work you never graded
- File folder games that are falling apart
- Charging cords that don’t work or are torn
- Past lesson planners (okay, I don’t know that I’d actually do this…but it’s probably a good thing to toss)
- Plastic sleeves that are stained from too many expo markers
- Teacher resource books you don’t use
- Papers teachers give you “just-in-case” you might need it
- Inspirational signs hung around the classroom (keep these limited! Don’t take up valuable space with stuff your students probably aren’t reading)
- Instruction manuals
- Board games missing pieces
- Board games your students don’t play with
- Extra copies of the week’s activities (you can reprint or download if you need it)
- Email subscriptions that no longer serve you
- Books that are falling apart
- Bottles of hand sanitizer that you aren’t using (Okay…2020, I know. But I say this because I probably had 30-40 bottles in my cabinet and we only used 10-15 a year)
- Same ^^^ for extra tissue boxes (donate them to the specials teachers!)
- Sticky notes you are no longer using (I’m talking about the ones on your monitor that you forgot were even there)
- File Folders with copies from year’s past (again, you can always redownload it)
- Games/activities/papers/resources left from the teacher in your classroom before you
- Textbooks you aren’t using
- Busy border on your bulletin boards (keep it simple and calm)
- Stuff stored on top of cabinets (if it’s up there, you probably aren’t using it…do you really need it?)
- Textbook/Teacher Editions books for curriculum adoptions your district is no longer using
- Old/broken crayons that aren’t being used
- Decorations that are outdated
- Supply caddys that are broken
- Expired snacks
- Craft supplies you aren’t using
- Extra paperclips
- Indoor Recess Creations from your students (just don’t let them see this!)
- Dried out play dough
- Dried out paint
- Dried out glue
- Any kind of administrative stuff from previous years (school calendars, first-day of school procedures, etc.)
- Papers, papers, papers. Really, just get rid of all the papers! (Get the Paper Organization Course here!)
- Outdated math or language arts maniplatives
- Manipulatives you don’t use (I bought a bunch of those reading response dice and never used them, not even once!)
- Old team lesson plans
- Emails that have already been handled (Did you respond to that parent about their kid’s late work? Let it go!)
- That box of *gross* candy and chocolate you got last Valentine’s Day
- Materials, papers, and files for grades you no longer teach
- Old student tests (if you aren’t going to use them for parent conferences, why are you hanging on to them?)
- P.D. certificates (can you scan them in and upload them to your computer?)
- Creation Station items that never get used (if the kids don’t use it, they don’t like…why hang on to it?)
How to Get and Stay Organized
You are wasting your time if you get rid of all those items, but don’t have a plan to keep your classroom organized.
When it comes to staying organized, you have to have a plan. As I like to say, make the plan then work the plan!
I helped my friend, Brittany, make the plan for getting her classroom cabinets cleaned out and a bit more organized.
We first identified the problems she was experiencing, talked through strategies of how to get each of those areas organized, then created a plan for keeping it all organized.
You can walk through this same process with the Creating and Sticking to Classroom Organization Routines free download.
Classroom Organization Master Class
Learn more about how to get, and stay, organized inside this 30 minute master class all on getting organized!
If your classroom is feeling cluttered, messy, or just “too much,” then it likely is!
Take 15 minutes today to look through the list above and identify 3 to 5 things you can get rid of today!
Then, walk through these step-by-step directions on getting your organization routines in place (and sticking to them!).
Here is a quick recap of all the links shared in this post:
- Tips for Organizing Anchor Charts
- 4 Ways to Conquer the Classroom Paper Clutter
- Purchase the Classroom Paper Organization Course
- Learn How to Organize Classroom Cabinets
- Tips to Organize Your Classroom Computer and Digital Files
- 5 Steps to Staying Organized
- Classroom Organization Routines Guide- free download
Until next time,