The thought of packing your classroom at the end of the year can be intimidating. Regardless of whether you’re moving classrooms or moving buildings, you’re exhausted by the end of the year and packing up your space is the last thing you want to use your energy on.
I get it. I’ve been there. At the end of my first year in public school, our building closed and we moved to a new one. Two days before the last day of my second year, the custodian told me my room needed to be completely packed because they’d be doing work in it over the summer. At the end of my third year, I quit.
Since I didn’t actually have a plan for where I was going, what I would be teaching, or if I’d even get a job, I had to be really strategic about how I packed and moved all of my stuff. I’ve now spent three years in my current classroom and I have loved every single second of not having to pack and move. I learned A LOT about how to pack a classroom and now that we’re approaching the end of another school year, I want to share those tips with you.
1.) Start Early
Do not…I repeat, DO NOT wait until the last minute to pack. Packing your classroom is going to take TIME. Give yourself at least three, if not four or five weeks to pack. I know, it sounds crazy but the last time I moved buildings, I started six weeks before the last day of school and I was still packing boxes as the movers were carrying my boxes out. Of course there are times where you don’t have a lot of advanced notice but start as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the more organized and less stressful the process will be.
2.) Label Everything
Once a box is packed, label all four sides AND the top. That way, no matter what angle you’re looking at the box from, you’ll be able to easily see the contents and it will save time when you’re looking for something specific.
3.) Re-home Your Stuff
The more you own, the more you have to move. When packing your classroom, really think about the things you’re putting in boxes and whether or not they need to go with you. If they do, pack ‘em up! If they don’t, find a new home for them. Maybe there’s a first year teacher or someone else in your building who could use whatever it is you’re getting rid of. With that being said, also think about whether or not it’s actually useful. Some things just need to find a new home in the dumpster.
4.) Pack by Area
Pick an area of the room and pack the whole thing. Jumping from area to area when packing your classroom can get confusing, especially when it comes time to label your boxes. Pick a spot and stick with it until it’s finished.
5.) Keep a Supply Inventory
Keep a list of materials that you’re going to need in the fall. Are you low on markers or crayons? Do you have a gazillion spiral notebooks but need more composition notebooks? Make a note of this stuff now so when it comes time to place a supply order, you don’t need to dig through boxes to find out what you need.
6.) Create a Back to School Box
Back to school you will thank the end of the year you for this one. Think about the things you know you’re going to need in the fall no matter what or where you’re teaching. Dedicate a box or two to JUST the things you know you need during the back to school season. When moving, move those boxes last because they’ll be the first ones you’ll have access to.
7.) Last in First
When packing your classroom, put the things you know you need LAST in the box FIRST. That way, the things you need first will end up at the top of the box. For example, if you’re packing seasonal materials, put the end of the year stuff in first. You may not end up with a ton of time to unpack and set up in the fall but your beginning of the year materials will be at the top and you can access them easily while you’re still working on unpacking.
8.) Use Ziploc Bags
It seems like it would be easier to take materials that are already organized in bins and just drop them into boxes, right? If you aren’t concerned about the number of boxes you need to move, that totally works. If you’re trying to save space, transfer those materials over to ziploc bags and drop them in the box then simply stack your bins.
I hope you found these tips helpful. To make things a little easier during this busy time, I’ve created a FREE set of packing labels for you! You can find those as well as a free classroom supply inventory list below. Happy packing!
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