Happy summer everyone! Of course, I'm spending mine partly relaxing and enjoying spending all day every day with my pup, but the other part of me is planning, planning, planning! This summer, I not only have to plan for my incoming kindergarteners, but I'm also planning my new room layout! Our building went through several changes, inserting a preschool being one of them, so that means we all moved rooms. I happened to move just one room down to my left - all that packing for a move 10 feet away!
There are many benefits to moving classrooms. All you teachers out there, I know you know what I mean. The longer you're in one place, the more things pile up, papers and materials find their way into the deep dark pits of your storage closets, and the files...oh the files in the filing cabinet! I can't even bring myself to look at them yet! I even found crayons and markers in places I didn't know they could fit when I was packing up. I consider myself to be a very organized person and teacher. I keep my kindergartners pretty organized as well - we like to run like a well oiled machine - well maybe that's just me, but my students will happily play along in my organizing game.
However - this summer my classroom has gone from this:
Is anxiety mounting in you like it is in me?? Our amazing custodial staff made all the classroom moves themselves with no help and I am SO grateful! The last thing I want to do is haul all of those boxes one room down! This task certainly appears to be daunting, but I used several strategies to help me while I was packing my mountains of belongings. Here are some tips you may want to consider if you ever have to make a move like this!
It's hard, but it is so important to go through everything in your classroom and see what you really use before you pack it. I know, I know. But what if you need those half bitten erasers someday? What if that half filled bag of pretzels could make a great 3D shape sculpture next year? They're stale, it doesn't matter right? These are actual questions I asked myself - I'm not kidding. The answer is no. You don't need them, you won't use them, and don't keep stale food for future projects. One student WILL try to eat that food no matter what you say. Parting with things (especially as teachers) can be hard, but it is so necessary! I also need to be better about this - I'm sure I'll find some broken erasers that I just couldn't part with while I'm unpacking!
It may be a hassle at first, but you will thank yourself in the long run. It's far easier to move your room if you don't have dozens of small containers filled, taped and loosely placed in a pile for others to move. Chances are, you'll lose one of those filled containers in the move and it will be lost in the abyss of all lost materials. I emptied every single small container I had, put the contents in zip-locs and packed them in larger boxes. This will not only give me a chance to go through everything again (because let's be honest, I didn't purge EVERYTHING I should have) and to organize it.
Use Clear Containers:
This isn't always possible, but when it is, use large clear containers to pack some of your belongings. This way, you'll be able to see exactly what's inside. This will save you a lot of headaches and minor panic attacks while unpacking. The panic attacks are probably just me - but like my students - I know you'll play along! I like to use these containers from Target.
Label, label, label:
I got this tip from my friend Danielle, a professional organizer. She does this for a living, loves it and is better at it than I could ever hope to be! Thankfully she will be helping me to organize the disaster you see above. It is crucial to label all of your boxes and containers, big or small, whether or not you think they are important. Given the fact I was packing everything into boxes and couldn't keep all my organizing/label supplies out, I pulled out a stack of unruled index cards and a marker and used those as simple labels. I also found it helpful to number my boxes if I had duplicates. This way, at the end of the move, I would know if everything had made it.
This isn't one you would think of right away, but when you're moving - especially a classroom - you will need tape and a lot of it. You won't be able to box everything up neatly. I had a lot of stackable bins and drawers that I had to find a way to secure and label. I used painter's tape to both secure and label those cumbersome, awkward pieces. It made for a quick, safe and simple solution!
Right now I'm still planning, visualizing and planning some more. I'm going to give myself a little longer to enjoy my vacation before I open up these boxes and get started. I'm excited to see how it will all turn out! Stay tuned for future posts on how I'm preparing my room for the upcoming year. When the year begins, I will be able to begin posting about how we're using our space and what activities we come up with in it!