As important as it is to ensure that your classroom is organized all year long, I think it is equally important to ensure that your classroom is organized as you pack it up. That’s why I’ve put together a slew of posts on packing up as well as this end-of-year classroom pack-up checklist.
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The purpose of packing your classroom in an organized way is to make it easier for you when you return to the classroom next year.
When you come back at the start of next year, you want to be able to find everything easily.
I suggest packing similar things together so that way when you are ready to unpack them, you are doing one “section” at a time. But…I am getting ahead of myself.
I’ve put together a classroom pack-up checklist of items for you to do as you pack up your classroom for summer.
Let’s read on to see the steps for packing up your classroom!
End of Year Classroom Pack Up Checklist
Be sure to follow these steps (in this order) to pack up your classroom for summer.
This will help you follow the “start small and work bigger” strategy I suggest in packing up your classroom.
(3-4 weeks before the last day)
I am a fan of starting with small and manageable things first. So I always start out with cleaning up my technology because it doesn’t take me too long and I can check it off and feel gratified instantly!
I always go through my email inbox and delete any emails that are no longer needed. Parent emails from the previous year get deleted as well. I do save parent emails throughout the following year, just in case anything arises.
It is also important to make sure if you have any serious issues with students or parents and there is any documentation via email, either print that out or save it to your computer so that you have access to it.
I also like to clean out the drives on my computer. I go through each folder and delete any items that I don’t need anymore or that aren’t relevant. This way I free up some space for future documents I want to download.
Also, GET AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE!!!! You never know what could happen over the summer and you do NOT want to be without your personal files.
2. Pack Up Cabinets
(2-3 weeks before the last day)
The next item on the classroom pack-up checklist is your classroom cabinets. This seems the “next easiest” to me because I can start clearing space to pack up items that are out in my classroom.
I would encourage you to go cabinet by cabinet. If your cabinets are organized by theme, this should be easy!
It’s okay if your cabinets are not organized by “like things” (read the post to figure out what I am talking about) I would TOTALLY take advantage of this time to do this.
(If you are like me, your students are doing a lot of project-based activities this time of year so that frees you up with some time to re-organize your cabinets.)
When you are cleaning out your cabinets, make sure to have a “sell,” “donate,” and “trash” pile!
Also, be sure that you have a cabinet to store items that belong to the grade level or school. If you find out over the summer that you are moving, all of these items will be in one spot and you won’t be having to dig through your boxes at the start of a new year to return things that aren’t yours!
Now that your cabinets are consolidated, you can start packing up items into those cabinets (that’s assuming you are staying in your classroom for the next year).
For example, my “student cabinet” that is full of student supplies will house station materials over the summer.
My “teacher materials” cabinet will store all of my personal picture books that I keep on a separate shelf from my students.
(I break down organization strategies for student and teacher materials inside The Organized Teacher Framework™.)
If you are taking the time to reorganize your cabinets, I would take the few extra minutes to pull everything out of the shelves and wipe them down with a Clorox wipe. **Great activity for kiddos and they will LOVE it!**
3. Clear the Walls
(1-2 weeks before the last day)
One of the last things I do is start taking everything off the walls.
I wait to do this because it’s when your classroom officially starts looking packed up and you know the end of the year is upon you.
I don’t like it because it makes the room feel so empty and sad. It also gives kids the all-clear for crazy to ensue because “HELLO the year is pretty much over! My teacher said so because everything is off the walls and we don’t have to learn anymore!”
Any anchor charts worth saving can be stored in a poster container. (I love to give old anchor charts to kids that I know enjoy playing school.)
4. Pack Up Your Classroom
(1 week before the last day)
Alright folks…This is it! It is now time to officially pack that room up.
Hopefully, you have been gathering boxes over the last few weeks. I have 5-6 large Rubbermaid boxes with lids that I keep in my garage until the end of the year. These are sturdy and last for years so I don’t have to search for boxes each year.
As I shared about my cabinets, I always try to pack like things together. I usually have a box for all of my library books and a box that holds all of my decorations.
I also put station activities into boxes with similar station materials (all the math stuff in one box, daily 5 stuff in another.)
Nothing sounds more stressful to me than coming back in August ready to set up my stations and having to look through five different boxes to find all the materials.
I usually wait till the last day to pack up my desk. We have to empty everything from our desk out, so I put that all in a box together. It is usually the first box to be dealt with when unpacking my classroom at the start of a new year.
If you have anything important you need to take home over the summer set this aside so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Then once everything is off the walls, your cabinets are full to the brim, and boxes are taped up, move all items to one area of the room. I usually try to do this in my library area so that it is out of the way and not scattered about the room.
As you pack up a box and tape it closed, be sure to add your name and room number so that it knows where to come back to at the end of summer!
5. Plan Ahead for Next Year
Since the end of the year allows you the freedom to be a little more flexible with your time, use this to your advantage! Always use the same “Meet the Teacher” paperwork? Print it out now and put it in a safe spot for next year or take it home to work on it.
I also like to order my planner for the new year.
If you have laminating you need to get done do it while the line is short!
This is how I work through the packing up process. Of course, if you are moving classrooms or schools, your process will look a bit different. But regardless, these steps should be easy to follow no matter what room you will be in next year.
Make sure to get your copy of the Classroom Pack Up Checklist by downloading it here.
When it comes to how to pack up your classroom for summer, be sure to follow the steps I outlined in this post.
There are more details about each of the steps, and a checklist, inside the Classroom Pack-Up Checklist download.
- Organize your technology
- Clean out your cabinets
- Take things off the walls
- Pack your classroom
- Start prepping materials for next year
Here is a quick list of all the links I shared in this post (there’s a lot, I know! But hopefully a consolidated list will help you prioritize!)
- There are numerous blogs, podcasts, and videos I’ve created on packing up your classroom. See them all here!
- Download the Classroom Pack-Up Checklist
- How to Pack Up a Classroom for Moving
- Amazon List of Packing Resources
- Email Organization for the Busy Teacher
- Tips for Organizing Classroom Cabinets
- Join the waitlist for The Organized Teacher Framework™
- How to Organize Anchor Charts
- Classroom Library Organization Ideas
- How to Organize Your Elementary Centers
- Steps for Unpacking a Classroom in the new year
- How to Have an Organized Meet the Teacher Night
- My favorite Teacher Lesson Planner
- Podcast Sponsor: Get Your Pretty On
Until next time,
If you found this post helpful, just click the “Pin It” button and pin it to one of your boards to save and so other teachers can find it! 🙂
Thanks so much! I’m feeling overwhelmed at the idea of packing up my very first classroom and your post was very calming to me 🙂 Headed to the FB group now.
C Stone says
From a custodial stand point, I especially appreciate this list! So many educators have a nice long break without being in the know of what is done to prepare the school, how heavy district furniture is, how heavy paper and books can get and timesing that by the number of rooms in the school is just asking for injury without proper packing. Truth is, if you wouldnt be able to lift it safely, neither can I. The best way to ensure your belongings are where you can find them and without damage the next school year is to take a day or 2 to put them in appropriate sized boxes. Books can get quite heavy, so a 16x16x16 box is perfect, but can use the plastic storage bins for your larger lighter items (lamps, math manipulators, art supplies, etc) Remember, in order to get your rooms ready for the next year, we empty the room, clean every stick of district furniture, every chair, every desk, every window, wall, light fixture, scrub the walls and floors and put them all back as specified, among other big projects in the building. So thank you for posting!
Kelly Michelle says
Thank you for sharing that! Good to hear from a custodian who does this each summer!