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Classroom Management,  Organization

Teacher Organization Part 1: Organization Basics

One of my top skills as a teacher and the thing I probably pride myself the most on is organization. I cannot function in a disorganized room, and firmly believe that staying organized is crucial to your success as a teacher.

I know a lot of teachers consider this a strength of theirs as well; however, I have also met many who struggle with teacher organization skills and have run into problems because of it.

I decided to focus my blog this month on helping teachers prepare their classrooms for the upcoming year with a teacher organization series. Every Tuesday and Thursday in August, I will share a post focusing on a different aspect of teacher organization. I also have two guest bloggers this month who will be sharing their organization tips with you as well!

Today, I thought we’d just start out simple with some organization basics! Organization doesn’t come natural to everyone and some people have no idea where to start. Here are three things to consider as you work through organizing your classroom for this school year.

Where to Start – 3 Teacher Organization Tips

1. PURGE, PURGE, PURGE!

Unless you’re a first year teacher, you probably have a bunch of stuff lying around that you really don’t use anymore. It can be a big job, but will save your sanity later on if you can get rid of anything you know you don’t need now.

Old textbooks and papers, broken or dried up school supplies, manipulatives or resources you just don’t use anymore – get rid of them! Throw them away. Give them to a coworker. Donate them to a charity. Get them out of your classroom. You don’t need all that extra stuff taking up all your precious classroom space!

Once you’ve purged, get into the habit of purging things as you can throughout the year. Toss extra papers you won’t need again. (Don’t fall for the, “I’ll use these next year!” lie. You probably won’t. Just throw them away.) Send home textbooks you are no longer using instead of keeping them in your classroom for the rest of the year. Purging as you go will make your life a whole lot easier at the end of the year!

2. Put Like Items Together

This seems like a fairly obvious teacher organization tip, but some people really don’t take the time to do this. Sort out all your things so that like items are together. Put school supplies in one group, educational games in another, manipulatives somewhere else, etc. Keeping like items together will make it so much easier to find things when you need them.

Let’s say maybe you don’t know EXACTLY where the glue sticks are. If you have items organized by type, you can at least go to where you keep the school supplies and find the glue sticks there. If you don’t have the glue sticks with other school supplies…they could literally be anywhere.

Teacher organization for school supplies
I keep all my extra school supplies in these bins on one of my shelves. Super easy to find!

3. Personalize Your Organization

What works for one person may not work for another. The most important thing to consider when organizing a space is that it needs to work for you (or whoever is using the space most). There is no one right or wrong way to organize. Well, there is a wrong way, and that is if it doesn’t help you! Organization should make your life easier, not harder.

For example, I like to organize hard copies of resources by topic. Some people like to organize resources by date instead, or alphabetically. I like to organize some things alphabetically, but not everything. It just depends on what I think will make things easiest for me to find.

Before you start organizing your classroom, take the time to think through a) what you need to organize, and b) how you want to organize it. I am not going to tell you the best way to do this, because I am not you and I am not using your classroom. I will, however, give you some helpful tips and tools along the way.

Create a Plan

Once you have an idea of how you’d like things to be organized, and you have your various items purged and sorted, create your plan! Figure out how you would like things to be organized.

Consider the space you already have in your room. Do you have shelves? Cabinets? A closet? What kind of furniture is provided for you? Figure out how you can utilize what you already have before going out and buying anything. You often have more space than you realize! Start organizing things in the space you have, then figure out what to do with any extra things, and make a shopping list. (We’ll go over some great and affordable storage options in a later post!)

Okay, that’s it for today! It’s fairly simple but can certainly be a big job. Your homework for this week is to purge, sort, and create a plan! This is honestly the worst part and takes the most time, so go ahead and get it out of the way, and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday to talk about organizing on a budget! (On Thursday, we will be having a guest post, so make sure you check that out, too!)

What is your best teacher organization tip?

Like this post? Be sure to check out the other posts in this series!

Part 1: Organization Basics

Or, if you have a small classroom, check out these 7 tips for organizing in a small space!

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