Saturday, January 7, 2012

Here we go!

Okay, it's Week #1 of Jodi at Clutter-Free Classroom's attempt to de-clutter the classrooms of America's finest. Brave woman that Jodi! I'm surprised she can even handle looking at all of the clutter! :)

I am so excited to participate in this project because my room is really hurtin' this year. This summer, I moved my desk, round table, and big rolling bookshelf, rearranged my computers, and added a library with seating and a rug. I didn't realize how much I relied on the space I had before because it's a little tight now and I find that it's just easier to drop a pile on my desk than to squeeze between something to put something away. My plan is always to put it where it goes when the kids leave but for the first time ever, I started just piling it on my desk. I'm not at my desk often so it seemed like a good piling place. Nope. Not good. My brain hurts when I look at it, which is usually at 3:30 when I'm ready to collapse.

I am getting queasy just thinking of uploading this pictures because it is so embarassing. It's happening though because I've made some really big attempts to stay organized and it is just not working this year. I'm hoping that making these cringe-worthy pictures public, checking out other teachers' classrooms (and hopefully breathing a sigh of relief that we are all in this clutter together), and hearing from you, will give me ideas and inspiration to make some much needed changes. Here we go!

I'm starting with the half of my closet that IS completely organized.
Mostly so that you won't think I'm a hot mess. :)
These bins are organized by item and labeled.

Sidenote: All shelves are in closed closets.

This is the top part of the same closet. A slightly different look to it. 
The majority are books that were left behind by the previous teacher.
This is also where I store extra binders, notebooks, and folders for the kids.
The whole top shelf is multiple class sets of novels.
My first two years at this school, I used them all.
Now I don't use any of them.

Brace yourself. Or close your eyes. Things are taking a turn for the worst.

In the tall closet...
The left side is where I'm supposed to store my jacket & personal items.
But once I saw a mouse jump up inside of it and that was the end of that.
The bottom has plastic grocery bags and empty baskets.
And a bunch of backpacks my mom scored for 97 cents each.
The bag hanging on the hanger is plastic cutlery and paper goods.
If it's hanging on the hanger, the mouse can't get touch it. Right?
The rest of the shelves are labeled and mostly everything matches the label.

The bottom two shelves are for math supplies.
The very bottom shelf is geoboards - too many geoboards,
unifix cubes, calculators, and mega flashcards.
With the exception of the geoboards, I use everything else.
I've never touched the geoboards. Except when I got rid of 50.

This shelf isn't as bad as it looks.
The yellow crate is released MCAS questions organized by standard.
Behind that is 2 of the sets of teaching manuals I got for our math program.
I still have 1 set at home, 1 on my teaching table,
and gave 1 to the SpEd teacher.
There are science kits next to books. Not math stuff.
This was just the only place that they all fit standing up.
I use the flashcards and game cards in the basket,
but I could totally use a better system.

The next two shelves are dedicated to science materials.
The labeled bins are about the only organization in here.
I use the colored buckets and random papers on top for labs,
so those come in and out all the time.
Behind everything is about 30 beakers. For what, I don't know.
I use 6 of them. For 1 unit. We have about 500 in our supply closet.
I don't even have a sink.

This shelf is mostly what I use for lab demonstrations.
And more beakers, obviously.
I also keep my supply of pond scum in here.
I haven't used the pond scum in a few years but I just couldn't part with it.
My friend has been collecting baby food jars for me.
These are some of the collection. (more on that project later)
Oh, and you're right if you think you see the top of an overhead projector.
When I got my document viewer,
that thing is just lucky it didn't see the trash first.

This shelf is where I keep cleaning supplies and extra tissues, sanitizer, etc.
Clearly, my stock is low.
I also keep a sweet collection of VHS tapes here, too.
The previous teacher left those and I was told not to get rid of them.
I don't have a VCR.

Disclaimer 1: My desk really never used to look like this.
When I moved my room around, I removed some storage from my desk.
I also moved all of my supplies in my desk drawer.
That left a completely clear desk top. Obviously that didn't work.

Disclaimer 2: This picture was taken the first day back after break.
I was in the middle of a serious assembly line to correct 100 tests.
Remind me again why I put essay questions on the unit tests??

This is truly the worst it's ever been.
I may have thrown up in my mouth a little bit while taking this picture.

This is my computer table, which isn't too bad.
Except my phone rings ALL. DAY. LONG.
I am constantly writing down notes and then they are left there in a pile.

This is the other side of my computer table.
I usually have my copies for the day here.
I also keep my teaching book and notebook open here.
We had just finished a project, hence the additional craft supplies.
How do you store your daily supplies?

This is my library area, which is pretty functional.
Except that I got a delivery of science supplies at an inappropriate time.
Where else was I supposed to put them on short notice?!

My back counter could definitely be more functional.
It served as a hot cocoa station the Friday before break.
It usually just has baskets on it with whiteboards, clipboards, erasers, etc.
You can also see the bottom of the unused overhead projector.
It makes for a nice way to display the pumpkin person, no? (Thanks Jodi!)

This place is behind my desk and is okay.
The plant just needed to be temporarily moved during break.
The drawers are labeled by day and I tried to store daily supplies here.
I really didn't like that for some reason. Any other ideas???
More beakers! Hah! I use these to water the plants. No sink, remember?

This is where my science bins go. Above an 8 foot tall closet.
This is about as practical as keeping them in the middle of my rug.
I'm 5'1. When I try to get them down, it's a sight.
The boxes are unused math manipulatives.
They're unused because they're foam.
FOAM manipulatives for kids to share? No, thanks.
I want to make a curtain to cover this. I'm still brainstorming how.

This little gem just happened.
I used to have a TV on a rolling cart in my room.
It did not have a VCR, DVD player, or even a remote that worked.
It was to make up for the fact that my classroom is the only room in the school that doesn't have one installed on the ceiling.
After 5 years and 3 uses, my complaints were finally heard.
I was in the middle of teaching when I got a phone call (duh).
to please send it down to the library.
Uh, right now? Yes, right now, please.
So now you're looking at a pile of student projects and anchor charts.
I use these when I'm introducing a new project or unit.
Oh, and a couple of random bulletin board supplies.
They're all homeless.

I forgot to take a panoramic room shot.
But you're probably not reading anymore and didn't notice.
Apparently in an attempt to cover up my clutter I became very long-winded.

I can't wait to get started. Go link up to join in on the fun!

And if you have ideas for me, tell me!
Just be nice. :)


  1. Thanks for linking up. Your classroom has so much potential. I think you could really utilize the back of the closets/cabinets to store things you don't use often (or the junk the former teacher left and you were told to keep) and put your stuff in front of it. I'm planning on talking about covering open shleving in a couple weeks and have some ideas for that space you want to add a curtain too so stay tuned. Also, I can see by the 4 dreaded letters [MCAS} that we're in the same state. Where do you teach?

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  2. I felt exactly the same way when I was taking the pictures!! I love that carpet in your reading corner!! Best of luck with the project. I know you're in MA (I've graded MCAS before as a test evaluator in my state) so we're neighbors--I'm from NY! :)

  3. You have goos storage space & I know what you mean having to keep some of the previous teacher's materials... It is tough moving into a room with so much stuff! With that space & the help of Jodi, we will all have the most organized rooms in our school!! :) Best of luck!
    Two Fulbright Hugs

  4. Maybe you could pull the kids in to help. Anything you want to "throw away" have drawings for and the kids can take them home. (They will be overjoyed.)

    For your paper problems, instead of multiple notes from your phone calls, compose a "To Do" e mail to yourself. Leave it up all day and add to it. (Perk: You can work on it at home too!)

    Hope this helps!

  5. Thanks for the support! :)

    I responded to your comment by email @ littlestlearners.

    I have a super young group this year and it has been difficult to have them help with too much. They try but it just doesn't turn out the way I planned. Bless their hearts! I do like the idea of a running "to do" list! I may use something like what they have at restaurants (the little poker thing that you stick through the paper) and clear it in the afternoon.

  6. A bit of a mess, but I think once you get rid of the items you don't use any more you will see that it's not that bad.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan