Tips from Other Teachers {Ending the School Year Series: Post 5}

This post wraps up the Packing Up the Classroom miniseries. You can read the other four posts here:

Purging Before Packing
Packing Up the Classroom
Getting the Classroom Ready for the Summer
Getting Ready for the New School Year...Before You Leave

For additional tips on organizing and managing you classroom, check out my Clutter-Free Classroom Guide along with my previous blog series on Setting Up For the New Year.

Today's post is a compilation of ideas that were generously shared by readers through The CFC Facebook Page. I always love reading the responses to the questions over there and am amazed at how different teaching can be in different states and districts.  The tips below were in response to a question about packing and moving a classroom.
  • Our district's teacher's union is doing a "free to new teachers" garage sale. They are collecting anything any teacher doesn't want at the end of the year and housing it until early August when they are inviting new teachers to come shop for FREE. I think this is a great idea. -Anne
  • A lot of good advice here, but be careful about the students you ask to help and make sure you give them clear instructions or else you'll be REDOING all their work! I have learned this the hard way. - Jennifer
  • Get the BIGGEST plastic tubs you can find and label, label, label. Middle school kiddos love to help & LOVE movie gift cards - Mke & Mary
  • I had a week to go through floor to ceilings of what a retired teacher left me. Save yourself and label boxes once packing is done. While going through items now, get rid of whatever you won't use. It will save you time in those 3 days. If you can't get through box, store it up high and get to it when you can. - Alana
  • Labeling, Colored dots to indicate subject areas, something to indicate whether boxes are priority (teacher's desk, things for back to school), everything that is not used at beginning of year goes home. Everything that you need to sort out goes home. Only 1-2 hard copies of any papers. Do it gradually if possible - I stayed after school 2 hours a night for a month so that I would keep my sanity and stamina. Give yourself rewards for doing this hard work. Use one or two really good helpers. Have lots of tape and lots of sizes of boxes and tubs. Good luck!! - Mary
  • After 39 years of teaching I just do my best. Sometimes I have loaded it up and gone through it at home. Not my husbands fav but it saves my sanity! Good luck! - Eileen
  • I helped my mentee clean out his room by emptying all his cabinets into piles in the floor by subject. We then sorted trash and give-aways to other grade levels, then put everything away in a place that makes sense. I think it had been at least 10 years since some cabinets had been cleaned out! - Stacy
  • I've moved a lot over the yrs too, plus having to pack everything & store it elsewhere while walls were being built in our Pod (finally- a classroom with 4 walls after 16 years!). We did all that was previously mentioned, but there are custodians in our buildings all summer painting and doing repairs, so we can get in if we really need too. She should go to her union... 3 days is not enough time and she's doing it for free, to benefit the kids! They should be able to give her extra days, just ask! - Rebecca
  • My administration made lots of changes for the comming year. What we have done is band together and work together and WORK to get all of this done. We have one teacher who refuses to move, though. A small group is moving her, while the rest of us move each other. - Katherine
  • I had to move grade levels and buildings within my district last year this time. We had to pack my entire classroom before the end of the school year. I was lucky to have two instructional assistants who literally saved me!! I cannot believe how many boxes we packed by the end of the year. It was a wall of boxes. My kiddos did great with it, we didn't start until the last two weeks of the year. And in the summer I did a lot of the initial unpacking so I could put stuff where I thought I wanted it. But I enlisted help from former students (middle school age) who spent a day unpacking, sorting, labeling things. They were happy to help and enjoyed a pizza lunch on me. I have throw out and purged a lot this year and now I will have to do it again as I clean up and get ready for year two in the new bldg next year - Jennifer
  •  I use bins from home depot that are strong and sturdy and can be nested once empty. Also I can zip tie the top so no one can get into it. I love to get curriculum items and then redirect them to the grade level that needs it. - Genevieve
  • I sought help from my personal children and school children the last two days of school. My school children really liked helping move books, count textbooks, and sort school supplies. My personal child liked getting to come to school (she was out) and helping organize. All of my school belongings are now packed and ready to move-but I have to wait for floors to be refinished before moving. - Jennifer
  • I have to wonder, if she's a 20 year veteran herself, how much of these materials will she actually use? She most certainly has her own stuff, and a way of doing things that works. I started going through every page of materials left by a teacher who died suddenly. It felt disrespectful to get rid of it, but at the end of the day, I have my own things I haven't used in years, and I wasn't going to abandon what I was doing and start using what she left. I kept a few things as memories of her, left things out for a few days for others to take if they wished, and then made lots of trips to the dumpster. - Heather
  • I took stuff home  I'm moving classrooms and wanted to organize everything I had... Much more work, but when I return in the fall, all ill have to do is put items back on the shelves- shouldn't take too long to set back up - Courtney
  • Plastic bins are king! We have to pack up every last paperclip each year. I would say sort first like items and then toss into bins what you want. Toss what is junk or outdated (there is always some) and then leave what's left and send out an email to everyone to come and get or it's going to goodwill. Or into another classroom that is getting a new teacher as a surprise? - Kim
  • The retiring teacher in my building opened up her room and said take what ever we wanted. She cleared a lot of the big things out just by doing that. - Heather
  • We have to pack our entire classroom up every year and bring what is ours home. It cannot be left. And we are not allowed to start until the kids leave for summer- then we get 2 days. It can be done just label everything! - Pam
  • Our high schoolers need Community Service points. I'd call and enlist a few of them. - Eileen
  • Host an open house for new teachers in the district to come in and grab what they want. - Susan
  • As a ping pong ball that moved every year. I would get the older kids to help. Paid them with junk food. Also I got teachers kids who were in high school. They will do a lot for 20 bucks. It's movie money - Julie
  • Many of the parents in my area do not have money to give a gift for the end of the year. I spoke with our room parent and asked to send out a letter to parents with the option of the end of your gift to me being 2 hours of help after school during that week. I organized myself with a list of tasks I knew would take 2 hours. I setup Netflix and snacks for their kids while we got to work. Several of these parents even take the things home that I want to toss for their own kids. It's a win-win! - Gretchen
  • Last year over 70% of our elementary staff were reassigned to different grades or buildings, but we knew on May 11 that we were moving. Students love to pack... Are there any students in the building that can still help. My husband and inlaws helped a lot too. The hardest part was I had to move all my stuff home. Our dining room was filled all summer. Then the fun was moving it back in! Ugh! Having boxes for specific items helped... Professional books, phonics resources, comp resources, office supplies, decor, etc. - Jaclyn
  • Gotta be honest, most of that stuff is just that...stuff. Depending upon how long she'd been there, how long at same grade, etc, more than u realize can be purged. Get a GIANT recycle pile/box and get to it. If it's older than 2000 (& that's reaching), its probably too old to use & not in line with best practices with kids. Get rid of it! Most posters, etc, can be remade with kids (& they take more ownership of learning &using it if they help create it). If u can't, keep ONE copy in a labeled file, group together by subject/theme. If u don't use it in a year, get rid of it (donate, recycle, whatever!). I agree with someone else who said take it home, organize, bring back. Purge until the take home pile is feasible. - Barbara
  • enlist help. pay for help if need be? graduating seniors that need money for college might be willing to put in a full day's work for forty bucks, maybe? If it is an entire classroom full, it is certainly worth many many times that! Also, PURGE! A classroom full is not worth the clutter if it won't get used. Or box it all up and take it home with you, sort through it at home and have a garage sale for all the stuff you don't want to save. Many new teachers would love to find teaching stuff at a garage sale! - Jessica

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