Let's be honest. As teachers, there's not enough time in the day to get your to-do list done let alone keep a super tidy room with kids running around.

But if you're like me, clutter equals stress.
It makes my skin crawl and I literally feel overwhelmed when my work space looks a hot mess. 
Often, other teachers will walk into my classroom and comment on my organization and I get the same question: "How do you keep it all so organized?"

Here's a peak into my crazy brain.
It's what I tell anyone that asks.

You have to realize that your classroom is a reflection of you.
You're the king of that castle.
So set a good impression.
'Cause a messy classroom is not a cute look, ya'll.

#1: Everything needs a home.

If you're the type of person that creates piles, ask yourself why. Is everything in that pile connected in some way? Are they worksheets that need to be copied or writing prompts that need grading? If the answer is yes- make it an official home! Grab a file folder or buy a plastic draws- LABEL them and stop creating piles. When you have a place for everything, you'll feel better- trust me! When they're out of sight, you'll start to feel the stress melt away.

#2: Clear your desk before you head home.

Once everything has a home, you won't have piles and piles on your desk to wade through on the daily. When you leave work- put everything away. Clear your desk. It's a great feeling walking into a blank slate each morning and you'll start your day off in a better mood! Even if your to-do list is crazy long, coming into a tidy desk will make you more productive and less distracted. Just try it! You'll never go home with a messy desk again- cause it's that good, ya'll.

#3: Go crazy with labels.

When you label things, not only does it create an official home but it gives you the option of empowering your students to help keep the classroom tidy. Primary teachers are fantastic at labeling everything! Some teachers even take pictures of what a tidy bookshelf should look like so the kids know how the expectations at the end of center rotations. That concept begins to lose steam in the upper elementary grade levels but if you start it out from the beginning, you'll be amazed at how much your students will enjoy organizing their spaces as well. They just need to know where things go and labels will save you so much time. Because who likes repeating themselves every day?
Not this girl. 

#4: Set goals and keep them.

We've all been there. You've got three meetings this week to prep for, a field trip on Tuesday and a substitute scheduled at the end of the week. Before you know it, your desk is overflowing, and you don't know where to start. Do you tell yourself to just not make eye contact with the piles and pretend they're not their or do you decide that you'll get through the next two days and you'll carve out time to put everything in it's place? I highly recommend the latter, Set a goal, carve out the time and just stick with it. It's much easy to get caught up after a crazy week than a crazy two months. And once you begin clearing your desk daily it becomes much easy to stay on top of the clutter instead of underneath it. 

#5: Just say NO!!

Your neighboring teacher is cleaning out her cabinets and she offers you all these wonderful goodies that you might want to use one day. Just say no! If you don't have an immediate use for them or a home to put them- politely decline. She will find a good home for them- just not in your room. And if you decide later that you need at those extra pieces of scrap paper then hunt down where she donated them and ask for a piece. Just do yourself a favor and learn that the more stuff you have the more organized you'll need to be. If there's items in your cabinets that you haven't touched in two years- you need to follow your neighbor's lead and purge!

Hope this helps set you off on a tidy start to the school year!
Have tips that work for you? Leave a comment and share!

Teachers everywhere are getting a jump start on their mile long to-do lists as summer draws to a close. I'm right there with ya!
I'll be honest, ya'll. 
I'll miss not knowing what day of the week it is... but I'm way super excited about (re)decorating my classroom. 

Who's with me?
I know I can't be alone on this one.

There's just something about a fresh clean look to a classroom that makes me feel like everything is right in the world. And if you're like me, choosing a new theme each year is one of the best parts of the back to school season (besides the smell of a brand new book, but that just goes without saying). 
I love switching things up each year and really letting my creativity flow! 

But, I won't lie.
Classroom setup and design overhauls can really bust a teacher's budget fast, if you're not careful.
It's not cheap making your room look welcoming, organized and inviting.
And many teachers find themselves keeping the same theme year after year after year in order to save money.

You deserve to love your classroom and feel organized and inspired by your space.

Here's a few simple tips I've learned over the years to help stretch your dollar and still make your classroom look like a million bucks! 

A can of spray paint can magic happen! Don't throw out last year's milk crates, table top baskets or book bins just because the color no longer fits your new classroom theme! Rust-oleum makes spray paint for plastic and a choir of angels have been singin' ever since! It goes over just about everything and can give your old pieces a new lease on life in just minutes!
It's remarkably durable too!
You can also add a coat of ModPodge over it to seal it and make it scratch resistant.
 Give it a shot- you won't be disappointed. 

My stapler is getting a makeover next!

 Editable decor packs, like my Chalkboard & Burlap set, can save you cash year after year! Want to change things up without having to purchase all new goodies? Use editable packs that you can add your own clipart to and you've got a new theme just clicks away without having to start over completely! My chalkboard and burlap set really gives you endless possibilities!
Here's a quick PowerPoint tutorial to show you just how easy it really is!

Snag my chalkboard & burlap set HERE and start saving time & money each year!

Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot are my go-to locations for classroom decor and organization on a dime. They are my happy place. 
Your local craft stores like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabrics and Michael's honor great coupons and most provide teacher discounts too (just ask!). Don't be afraid to think out of the box when it comes to giving your room a makeover! Can't afford fade-less bulletin board paper? A few yards of cotton fabric from the craft store will give you the same look for a fraction of the price!  

If you've had the same theme in your classroom for years- now you can afford a change!
Take a quick coat of paint to almost anything and create a cohesive look around your room!
Snag an easy to use editable decor pack that allows you to get makeover longevity with just a few clicks.
And search your favorite stores for awesome deals but don't forget to bring your coupons and ID badge with you.

You CAN have a fresh start each year without breaking the bank!


Want more classroom decorating tips and ideas?
Visit my classroom decor tips board on Pinterest!

Glad that you were able to join us for the third annual Orange Ya' Glad it's a Blog Hop!
I am the

If you have hopped with us in the past, some things will be familiar, and some things will be new!
This year, all of our bloggers are focusing on free tips or ideas that they can share with you to get your school year off to a great start.  Some ideas will have a freebie, others might just be a stand alone concept.  The idea is to try and share things that will solve problems and create a happy and stress free first few weeks!

Let's get started shall we?

We all know that our days overflow into nights during those first few weeks of school. 
Our to-do lists are ever growing and it's easy to feel swamped with everything.
And just when you feel like you're starting to catch your breath- a sweet new face shows up to join your classroom. 

Too many times this has happened to me in the middle of juggling 10 different morning tasks.
Have you been there?
You greet the little person, shack the parent's hand, smile and nod while you're mentally going through your to-do list in your mind and trying not to glance at the clock as you know your morning prep time is precious.

Insert Parent Form Bags!
Fancy name for a not so fancy idea... but one that will save your sanity and your time.
Those first few days of school, your mail box fills up with a million forms.
Transportation, lunch applications, photo release, contact info, code of conduct... the list goes on.
On day three you get a newbie and again on day five.
No more need to scramble.
Grab a few gallon size plastic bags and put a copy of each form inside when you pass them out to your kiddos those first few days.
By the time a new little one joins your class, you can grab a bag and save yourself from spending your specials making sure you're not missing anything!
You're welcome ;)

We will be having an Instagram giveaway again!  
Here's my letter! 

 The letters all work together to give you the name of a type of orange!  
This year is a bit tricky...it's a two word name!  
**Hint: Starting at Mrs. Russell's Room will help you collect the letters in order!** 

Once you've solved the puzzle...take a picture of the answer.  
Post it on instagram and hashtag it with #orangehop2015.  
We love original ideas...so, do something fun with your image!

A winner will be chosen from Instagram!
Grab a piece of paper and start hoppin' along!

Next up, a blogger momma after my beach lovin' heart :)
Teacher by the Beach

Happy back to school season!
I'm excited to announce a fun Florida-centric blog hop!
I'm joining with some wonderful Florida bloggers to give you some great back to school ideas that will give you all you need to start the year off right!
You can look forward to seeing tips from the following Florida PreK-5 bloggers!

Stay tuned!

It's time for day two of our We {HEART} Teachers Event 

and that means more fun stuff for you to win! 

But first, I am sure you are anxious to see if you won one of those 2 TpT Gift Certificates!

and the winners are...

Today's prize is one for the #techieteachers... AND the not so techie teachers ;)

Yeah... you're reading that right! Here's an official run down of this totally awesome prize pack!

IPad Mini 2- Now you can bring technology to your classroom (or just keep it for

yourself, we won't tell! ;)) with your own tablet. The miniature size makes it ideal for smaller hands or stowing away in a purse!

Chevron Stand Case- How cute is this case? Protect your newest accessory with this

easy to find cover! 

$10 Itunes Gift Card- Buy some educational apps, download a few books,

whatever you want! You've got $10 to spend to help fill up your new toy, I mean "educational resource", with new apps! 

Planbook Subscription for you and a friend- Now you and a teammate can enjoy easy planning

for the year! You can check out more on Planbook.com


Ready to get your #techieteacher on? Enter the Rafflecopter below! 

I am also excited to share with you that TeachersPayTeachers decided to join in on the Teacher Appreciation week fun!  They are having a site wide sale today and tomorrow as a way to say thank
you for all your hard work this year!

Thank you Deana from Primary Punch for creating this cute graphic! 

So, from May 5th through the 6th ALL our stores will be on sale! Combine that with the coupon

code THANKYOU and you can save up to

28% off your must have resources! 
Grab up some products to get you through the rest of this year or stock up for next year! 
It's all good when there's a sale! 

...And because we know your feet are tired at the end of a long day (and your brain!), we made

it easy to shop! All your favorite stores all in one location- can't beat that?! 

Don't forget to use the coupon code: THANKYOU!

If you or someone you know is battling fertility, visit www.resolve.org to learn more.
This is my fertility story.

You can read Part 1 here >> {Part 1: The Call}
You can read Part 2 here>> {Part 2: Be Still.}
You can read Part 3 here >> {Part 3: The Final Test}
You can read Part 4 here>> {Part 4: Overcoming the Odds}

I came out on the other side of this battle.
But that doesn't mean it's finished.

It changed me. 
It's my truth.
It's my story to tell.

I look at this sweet face and the sense of gratitude fills my heart.
She's my miracle.

So many readers have sent me emails with their struggles this week.
Many of you asking for updates on where we are now.

Well...I'm enjoying every second of mommyhood.
I'm in the here and now.
I don't miss a second to squeeze those cheeks.
Today, I left those papers at work... they can be graded later.
I waited too long to get here.
She's growing too fast and I don't want to miss a second of it!

Feel free to follow us on Instagram and get all the latest baby cuteness and updates delivered right to your phone! Click here

If you or someone you know is battling fertility, visit www.resolve.org to learn more.

This is my fertility story.

You can read Part 1 here >> {Part 1: The Call}
You can read Part 2 here>> {Part 2: Be Still.}
You can read Part 3 here >> {Part 3: The Final Test}

So many times I heard that I was over thinking it or I was putting too much pressure on myself.
Anyone that's fought fertility has probably heard that too.
This is why many of us sit in silence.

People mean well, I'm sure.
But it's just easier to stay silent than explain it all.

My silence had gotten really heavy.

That moment when the tears streamed down my face as I stared at those two pink lines, the year and half of struggles and disappointments boiled over and mixed with feelings of excitement and happiness as it washed over me like a tidal wave.

I was on cloud nine.

I also went to Dollar Tree during my lunch break.
Those tests work too- in case you're wondering.

Three more were positive before I told the hubs. 
I needed to be sure the first few were accurate.
Just in case.

So... I slowed down with blogging.
I left work at work.
And I savored every moment of growing my little miracle baby.

I nested in anticipation.

And the moment that we met our sweet girl is a moment that we had fought for.
Cried for. 
Prayed for.

A moment I'll never forget.

A moment that all the pain, heartache and trial was worth.

I'd do it all again.

I'd fight the fight.

I'd cry the tears.

I'd battle odds.

But I wouldn't be quiet.
I wouldn't feel ashamed.
I wouldn't be alone.

Odds are, a woman in your family or circle of friends has fought the fight. 
Many in silence and embarrassment.
Help them make noise.
Because who does the silence help?

Infertility needs a voice.
Help raise awareness and bring light to their darkness.


Elianna: Hebrew, meaning: My God has answered. 

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