Organizing the Chaos

Hello teachers! Who doesn’t love the look and feel of a freshly organized space? I’m sure most of us do, but that doesn’t make it easy to get it started! And I am terrible about organizing things but then NOT keeping up with it. My fellow teachers will frequently stop by my room and comment on the organization and systems I have in place. I’m by no means an expert, but I do know what works for me. So I’m here today with some organization tips and tricks to get you going for the new year!

My first tip is about labeling. It’s not a new concept nor is it ground breaking! We all know how important it is to label for our kids so they know exactly where things go. But my trick is to label for yourself as well. In the past, I would see cute labels on blogs or Pinterest and then I would make cute labels at home, print them out, laminate them, and then glue them to a bin or drawer up at school. I didn’t actually think what my labels needed to say/be used for. Raise your hand if you’ve ever done this… I won’t judge, I promise!! I’ve found that when I use someone else’s labels or when I copy someone else’s organization, I don’t normally follow through. Sure, I might shove stuff in a drawer with room, but it sure isn’t what is on the label!!

So recently when I re-organized things for the 2nd semester, I put all my belongings where I wanted them, and THEN I made labels! It was amazing and I know that I’ll be better about putting things back where they go.

My second tip for organization is to PURGE PURGE PURGE!! We all know teachers are hoarders. “But what if I need this in 6 months when I might do that one art project that I skipped the last 4 years?”
Friends, say it with me “If I haven’t touched it in the past year, I’m throwing it out!!” That doesn’t mean you have to be wasteful. I’m all for pawning my junk off on other teachers at my school. :) (Isn’t that what the empty table in the workroom is for? One teacher’s trash…)
It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal either. Start small with your files. The next unit file you pull out, keep what you will use, get rid of what you won’t use. Do that each time you plan a new unit or skill. Do one drawer at a time. By this time next year, it will feel so great to be rid of all that clutter!
My third tip is to have systems in place for EVERYTHING you possibly can in your classroom. I have a system for lunch count, lunch boxes, getting students to come to the carpet at the beginning of the day, restroom breaks, getting things from the printer in the other room, sharp/dull pencils, getting new Kleenex boxes when one runs out, first aid kits on the playground, etc. And guess what? Most of the systems I have in place are done by the students. I don’t have to do a whole lot! And that leaves a lot more time for organizing the paper mountain that forms on my desk by 3pm every day.

I am linking this post up with the Elementary Entourage.
They are hosting a fun linky party for the new year!
I really hope that something from this post was helpful to you.
If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Have a great day!

4 thoughts on “Organizing the Chaos

  1. I love that you organize then label! I do that at home all the time, I don't know why I didn't think of it that way for my classroom. Must be all those cute labels I find that I just have to have :) So Smart!

  2. So true, if it’s not my own system I won’t follow through. I purged quite a bit at the end of school from my cabinets. I like your file idea. Doing it as you go is way less intimidating.

  3. I’m so guilty of finding labels & using them…but not using them!!! I also went on a major purge in June & realized just how much stuff I wasn’t using!! I feel like I’m starting the year so much more organized, without even starting yet!!

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