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Declutter Your Classroom in These 5 Easy Steps

It's time for class again! Everyone is excited, and the atmosphere is carnival. However, not everything's that clear cut—you suddenly realize that your learning space needs mopping up. How on earth are you going to declutter your classroom? Where do you even start?

Not to worry—consider adopting these five fantastic ideas to declutter your class in a few minutes.

1. Tidy Up the Teacher’s Desk

For starters, make your own desk well organized and clean. After all, every teacher knows this is where the clutter usually piles up. So, let's first put things in order here; tidying up your desk takes priority. 

Throw away the trash, hand out graded work, and neatly sort and stack any other assignments. Going forward, ensure your desk is spotless; this is the secret to getting your work done efficiently and swiftly. Don't dilly-dally, either—do it here and now!

You can even try these 12 Must-Have Desk Accessories. These convenient tools have done wonders for countless teachers who want to be better organized.

2. Reorganize the Small Group Teaching Area

The small group teaching area is another hotspot in your classroom clean-up endeavor; here’s where most teachers tend to pile things throughout the day, such as your manipulatives, whiteboards, markers, etc.

seasoned elementary school teacher advises her peers: "…Even if you don’t meet with students in the small group very often, you at least want administration thinking you do."

When people see a cluttered small group table, it immediately tells them you aren't meeting with the class in that area. You don't want to give this impression, so focus on this area. And we suggest putting that area to use!

3. Reset and Reorganize with Brain Breaks

You can destress and unclutter the classroom in another creative way: Moving. Add activities like songs, stretches, chair yoga, and countless other brain breaks into your schedule.

Seasoned educators recognize that when they allow the kids to move around in a structured manner, they are less likely to move around when the teacher prefers them to sit. The same principle applies to you and your efforts to clean—take some breaks to keep yourself moving.

Try giving your kids a fifteen-minute recess; this is an excellent way to break up the longest part of the school day, increase attention in class, and get a little cleaning in. If anything, it will give you time to clean up from one assignment before you move on to the next.

4. Rearrange the Students’ Desks

Don’t forget the kids’ desks! You know what happens—the junk and papers fall out of their desks and add to the irritating classroom clutter. Some teachers try to change the students’ seats every so often, like once every six weeks.

So, when it’s time to change the seats, grab this chance to clean out the cubbies and meticulously organize them. As you’ll soon discover, doing this helps contain the stuff that usually falls out of the kids’ desks. A rolling stone gathers no moss, so it follows that a rearranged desk forces cleanliness!

5. Get Rid of Assorted Classroom Items

Introduce a recycle and donate box to your students. This is an excellent solution for a specific cluttered classroom area. And it doesn't take rocket science to build one. Here’s another suggestion: Put three plastic bins in your classroom, and label them Recycle, Donate, and Sell.

Next, look around the room; locate any stacked and piled up items, particularly those piled on top of each other. Determine what things you’d like to keep and what things you need to get rid of. If you have no idea what to recycle, donate, or sell, consider these items:

  • Outdated decorations
  • Old books
  • Dried out markers
  • Old board games
  • File folder games
  • Teacher resource books you no longer use

Want more? Check out this list of 51 items you can easily eliminate right now. 

Final Thoughts

Your effort to successfully declutter your classroom should be a bit-by-bit endeavor. Kickstart the process by ridding your space of as many obsolete things as possible. Dated textbooks, bulky shelves, etc., can be easily removed with the aid of a fellow teacher or custodian. 

Declutter and reorganize the crucial areas in your classroom, and you’ll soon have a spotless, clean environment to enjoy with your students throughout the year. With these tips, you can enjoy your teaching time and ditch the stress in no time!

Written by John O. Ndar
Education World Contributor
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