The end of the school year comes with enough stress! The last thing you need is the overwhelm of packing up your room for the summer, too. For the procrastinators out there, we need to start packing yesterday before we’re left with what we like to call “organized chaos.” Don’t do it to yourselves! Don’t throw it all together and just apologize in advance to your future self. You don’t want to unpack said chaos in two months and completely regret not taking action sooner.
So, to avoid next year’s pre-planning meltdown, let’s get started on this now. What’s the best way to pack up your classroom for the year? How can you make it easier to unpack later? Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s get down to business!
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The first and most important things to do.
Grab the essentials! Go ahead and pop these items in your cart and order them ASAP. These are the items you will need to make your packing process easy, quick, and organized.
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- Storage Bins. Okay, if you don’t have these already. Go ahead and make the investment. Totes are the only way to sort and move big projects, such as classrooms.
- Label Maker. I don’t know many teachers who don’t have a label maker already, but there’s bound to be someone. Trust me, this will be the most fun decision you choose today! Label makers just make teacher’s hearts happy!
- Wrapping Paper Holder. Trust me on this one! One of the best hacks for large posters or decor is this container. If you have posters you plan to use for years to come, you don’t want to roll them up, slap a rubber band in the middle, and move on. They will get bent and creased, be flattened, or get the ends torn up in the moving process.
- Cling Wrap. Yes, the film you keep in your kitchen for leftover food. I’ll explain the reason for this MVP below!
- Grab a Dolly! If you have big items, or even just want help moving your totes, then grab a dolly! They are incredibly helpful for quick-moving, and they are much sturdier than the computer chair you usually use.
Here is the easy part!
I know what you’re thinking. “If packing was easy I wouldn’t be reading this blog, ma’am!”
Don’t worry. Packing IS going to be a breeze once you hear these next tips!
Start packing early! Slowly go through your room and grab items you are finished using for the year that will need to be packed up during post-planning. Set those items aside, and if you can, go ahead and pack them! Get in the habit of doing this after each unit is done throughout the year, and by the end of the year, you will have 80% of your room already packed!
Grab this container for all your books. Use your label maker to label the units these books are used for. (Ex. Christmas books, Earth Day books, Winter books) Then, once the unit is over, you can wrap the entire container in cling wrap with the books inside! This keeps the books from getting dust on them while not being used and makes it easy to pop in a cubby or tote at the end of the year!
When you are packing your personal items, go through EVERYTHING! Don’t keep pens and markers with no life left, don’t throw all of your notepads and papers into a collective bin to (maybe) go through later, and take the time to organize your things in ziplock bags. If your school requires you to empty your desks, this will help you restock when you come back for pre-planning the next year!
Clear out ALL things! I’m sure you have seen the odd things students leave in the most random places. The worst I’ve seen was a very well-used kleenex in a marker box. Yuck! So, go through all the bins, desks, and cubbies to sanitize and ensure all things are in the correct place. This is a must for art stations or center tables.
If you have these stations, or center cubbies, that hold bins or have drawers for classroom supplies, I will tell you the BEST teacher hack yet! Once again, breakout that cling wrap. Wrap the entire station, so you don’t have to put every individual container away or find the lids for them. This makes for a super easy setup the next year. Simply unwrap the cubby, and viola! That entire area is ready for the new class!
Label Everything. Label your personal things, all totes and containers (even if they are clear), and file boxes. You’ll want to make things as easy to find as possible for next year’s setup, and the best way to do that is to make sure each container has a generic label and even a detailed label if it contains multiple categories of things.
If your school moves everything out of the classrooms to rewax the floors or take other deep-cleaning measures during the summer, you need to label ALL things with your room number! Chairs, tables, your desk, totes that will stay at the school, and individual items. The best way to ensure none of your room’s things are lost is to group all you can into boxes or furniture you can cling wrap or attach in some way.
Make a layout of your classroom. Again, if your school moves furniture and other items out of the room for summer cleaning, then another way to make things easier for everyone is to make a map of your room. It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect, just easy to see where all things go. Then, make a copy, or take a picture, to keep for yourself and post the paper on the door or board at the front of the room for the people to reference when moving things back in. This makes for some thankful movers and a simple rearranging period when you come back.
You can number your moveable items and correlate that number to the placeholders on your room map. This is to keep count of the items in your room and for the movers to easily find the right desks and centers.
Dedicate a special place for students’ artwork. You never want to get rid of a picture a student drew specifically for you. It’s so special to look back on all these artwork gifts and notes each year! You don’t have to get rid of them! Grab this filing system to put those special memories in each year!
I hope these tips and tricks help make the packing process easier this year and every year after!