While it would be amazing to leave your classroom intact at the end of the year and start your summer, not everyone has that chance! Many schools require teachers to pack their classroom so the room can be deep cleaned, used for summer school, undergo renovations, and more. So, how do you pack up a classroom?
Whether you’re changing grade levels, moving to a new school, or simply getting a deep clean, here are some tips for packing up a classroom…like a boss!
Stock Up on Boxes
Be proactive about stockpiling boxes for your move. Ask the people in the lunch room and front office if they can save boxes for you. The earlier you start collecting, the more prepared you’ll be (and the less money you’ll spend on your own boxes).
You can also buy plastic tubs that you’d typically store in a garage or attic. These are great if you’re required to pack up every year. They are an upfront cost, but they will save you a lot of money, time, and headache later! Plus, you can use them to store items you aren’t using during the school year.
Purge As You Pack
Take this time to purge stuff you haven’t used in a long time, or that is falling apart. Over time, markers dry up, and books fall apart. Instead of packing them up and dealing with them later, throw them out, recycle them, or donate them now!
One of the best hacks for packing up a classroom is to label everything. You will thank yourself later! You can label these boxes by the type of item or content area.
Don’t forget to add your name and room number to the boxes. A lot of supplies get temporarily relocated over the summer, and you want to make sure you get everything back.
Make a First Week of School Box
When packing up your classroom, it’s a good idea to pack supplies you will need to start off next year in one easily accessible box and label it “first week of school”.
Include supplies you know you’ll need right away, like curriculum binders, notepads, writing utensils, chargers, and more. You'll also likely need tape, scissors, stapler, and staples. Think of anything else you might need during the first week back.
Pack Your Books
Books are probably the biggest (and heaviest) pain when it comes to packing up a classroom. The more organized you are when you pack away your books, the easier it will be to set them up next year.
Group books by category, such as leveled books, free choice books, picture books, etc. Pack professional books separately from kids’ books. To prevent overpacking, use milk crates. They’re sturdier and have handles for easier lifting (because these boxes will get heavy fast!).
Most teachers keep their manipulatives in plastic containers throughout the year. But do you know how to pack up classroom manipulatives? Use this trick!
Plastic containers are great for storing and organizing manipulatives day in and day out, but they can be bulky to move. To save on space, empty each set of manipulatives into large ziplock bags. Then stack the plastic containers to save space. All of this can be placed inside one box (or two if you have a big collection).
Pack Your Classroom in Groups
Remember, you want to pack things up in a logical way so that you can quickly get organized when you unpack next year. One way to do this is by packing in groups.
For instance, you can pack by subject area, activity, or classroom location. However you want to pack up your classroom, make it make sense for you! Once you come up with a system, you’ll be surprised how quickly the work goes.
Pack a Little Each Day
Whatever you do, try not to leave the work for the very last minute. Nothing creates chaos like being in a rush, especially when summer is just a few moments away.
If you can tackle materials you are no longer using a little bit at a time, you can chip away at the process. Before you know it, you’ll only have a few items left at the end of the year.
I don’t think any teacher looks forward to packing up their classroom. However, with these tricks for how to pack up a classroom, you’ll be ready to head into summer feeling organized. And you can walk back into your classroom next year with a little less stress.