Clutter Busting Tips for a Busy Teacher

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!


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