Make a Clean Sweep: CFC Project 2013 Challenge #3

If you are just joining us, you'll want to start here or check out my Clutter-Free Guide to Classroom Organization & Management.
It's time for week 3 of the The Clutter-Free Classroom PROJECT.

Last week had you all developing plans for getting rid of the clutter. You were asked to come up with some non-negotiable rules for deciding if an item can stay or go and to make a plan for where the unwanted stuff would go to. Now it is time to roll up your sleeves and MAKE A CLEAN SWEEP!

Let's take a quick second to look over some things that I really and truly want you to embed in your brains and think about throughout the process...
  • You can't organize clutter.
  • The less you have, the less you need to manage.
  • Your trash is {quite possibly} another person's treasure.
  • There is no value in an object that isn't being used.

Throughout this week I want you to make a clean sweep of your classroom. Don't get overwhelmed. It's actually a lot easier than it sounds. We won't be getting into those crammed cabinets, overstuffed drawers, and bursting-at-the-seams boxes you have stuffed in the closet just yet. We'll tackle those when we really roll up our sleeves and take on one section of the room at a time for a hardcore decluttering, deep cleaning and organizational makeover in the coming weeks. For now I just want you to take on the obvious clutter that is causing visual chaos and is a constant source of stress. We're going to wipe out the stuff that makes people think you aren't as organized as you could be people when they walk into your room. 

I want you to start in one corner of your room and work from top to bottom and left to right. Ultimately you'll do a complete 360 around the entire classroom.  Get rid of anything that is out in the open for everyone to see that does not fit within the rules you decided upon. If an item is out of place, move it to where it should be. Don't worry about doing a deep cleaning, but wipe down surfaces as you go.

  • If you haven't already taken "before" photos make sure you do so prior to taking on this week's task. You'll be so glad you did.

  • If you haven't already made a plan for where your clutter will go or prepared your sorting bins, be sure to do that first as well (related links to help: large Sorting Bins , Small Sorting Bins, Make Labels for Sorting - free printables included).
  • Ask an honest friend to help. We are in our classrooms so often that we take things for granted. Having an outsider come in and offer honest thoughts and opinions about how your room presents itself can be a huge asset. 
  • Make sure you have a timer of some sort to keep you on task. The faster you work the less you'll second guess yourself. Use a countdown timer and set a goal. For example: I'll clear off this counter in less than 10 minutes. Play beat the clock.
  • Break the task into manageable goals. Look at it as a weeklong project. Plan to tackle one of your four walls (including open shelves and counters) each day Monday through Thursday and then use Friday for the surfaces in the center of the room.
  • Don't be tempted to go into cabinets, closets, closed containers, desk drawers, etc. This week is strictly about the surface clutter. It can include excess furniture that is not being used, piles of papers on counters, decor that isn't purposeful, outdated anchor charts, etc.
  • Get the stuff out of there IMMEDIATELY. Use your plan for where the clutter will go and get it there right away rather that means walking it to the dumpster, recycling bin, teacher lunchroom or another teacher's classroom. Just get it out of there and don't look back.
  • Take pictures after you make a clean sweep. Compare them to your before pictures. It will feel great and motivate you to keep going.

On Friday, I'll put up another Linky Party related to the Clutter-Free Classroom PROJECT. The Linky will be ongoing and you can always jump in and link up at anytime. If you don't have a blog you can respond to the prompt in the comment section on Friday's post. Below is this week's prompt. Keep these questions in mind as you take your pictures:

BLOG PROMPT for Friday's Linky:
Show us your "Clean Sweep." Let's see those initial before and after pictures or photos of your pile of "clutter" just before it exits your room and starts you on the path to having a "Clutter-Free Classroom."
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