How to Get Rid of the Clutter in Your Classroom

If you are a teacher you have probably heard the ‘c’ word before. No I’m not talking about chalk or children or even a ‘C’ on a report card. I’m referring to clutter. Clutter, as defined by wikepedia, is a disorderly state or confusion. Every teacher has to work to keep clutter out of their classroom. The job is demanding and most teachers struggle with it. Consider the following tips to eliminate clutter and keep your classroom looking orderly.

1. Throw things away

Teachers are bombarded with paperwork. Unfortunately many teachers are also pack rats. They refuse to throw things away because there is always the thought “I may need that one day.” The truth is most teachers have tons of papers and other things on their desk that they don’t need. If you haven’t used it in weeks the reality is you probably won’t use it. Throw it away. A teacher’s desk in particular is one of the first places people notice when the come into your room. Learning to throw away things you don’t need will not only keep your desk clean, it will eliminate lots of clutter.

2. Be a giver

When I began my career as a teacher I had very little in terms of materials and furniture. There was only so much money given to me to purchase things. Fortunately I had a number of colleagues who were willing to share. During my first two years I had numerous teachers who came to me and offered materials or books that they no longer had space for. They were able to get the extra materials out of their room and I got some things I desperately needed. You can do the same. Look for a young teacher who has just begun their career. Decide on things you could give them from your room that you no longer need. Giving these things away just might really help a young teacher out.

3. Develop a system for filing

It took me an entire year to learn the importance of filing away papers. Having a good filing system will not only keep you organized it will keep clutter out of the classroom. Consider grouping things based on subject. Purchase good sturdy folders that will last a while. Stay on top of papers that need to be filed. If you have a stack of papers waiting to go into a folder, it could soon turn into clutter.

4. Take advantage of technology

Technology is hear to stay, why not use it? Computers can do lots of things that humans can’t. Store important information on your computer and then toss the paper in the trash can. Instead of having sticky notes or lists of things around your desk, type them on a word processor and save them to your computer. The work will as a result be neat, and saved for whenever you need it. Even better if you are working with a laptop, you can take all of your important information with you wherever you go.

5. Delegate responsibilities to children

There are only so many hours in the day. You can’t do it all. Consider giving responsibilities to children. Children can surprise you with what they can do. Assign cleaning responsibilities to children. This will help to keep your room clean. If you have children that are old enough, allow them to help you with certain files. Be careful to not allow them to see personal student information that should only be seen by the teacher or another adult.

6. Stay on top of things

Ultimately the key to keeping clutter away is to stay on top of things. Don’t be a procrastinator. Get the job done right away. If you follow this and the other tips, you will be well on your way to maintaining a clutter free room.

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