Not only do I love to read, but I also love to organize spaces.
There are some nice perks that come along with being organized. Keeping my classroom organized is a time saver and lifts my mood. An organized space makes me feel happy, calm, and less overwhelmed. As much as I love to organize I try to keep bigger projects for breaks or I work on them for short periods of time for a few days during the week. Otherwise, I’ll start to feel overwhelmed with all of the other responsibilities I have.
I’ve tried many different organizational systems along the way. I want to share with you my favorite organization tips that have worked best for me.
My system for paperwork is to deal with what I can the minute it is in my hand. When I pull my mail out of my mailbox I quickly scan through it. Anything that I can deal with right there in the office I do it. For example, if something needs my signature, or needs information that I can quickly fill in, or if it needs to be recycled I do it before leaving the office. This means less paper ending up in my room making a mess and lengthening my to-do list.
I take the rest of my mail to my room and continue to take care of it. If it’s something I can complete quickly I’ll take a few minutes to complete it and then add it to my pile that needs to go to the office at the end of the day. Occasionally, I have something that takes a bit more time. I put time-consuming tasks in my to-do basket and then make a plan for tackling it. I take a moment to write the item on my to-do list, which is broken up by the days of the week, in my planner. That way I’ll be sure to get back to it without forgetting about it or having it clutter up my desk.
I have reduced my files down to one filing cabinet drawer. I have been trying to be more environmentally friendly by keeping or making mostly electronic copies of my resources. I still have some favorite resources that I like to have hard copies of. I also have separate files for my Reading Recovery students’ folders and files for my Leveled Literacy Intervention planning materials.
One day I came across a blog post called 30 Minute Filing Cabinet Makeover with Free Template on Kate’s Classroom Cafe and I loved it. Instead of taking 30 minutes I actually took several months to do this project because I took the time to clean out each of my file folders. Not only do I love how it looks, but I’m finding that it is easier and quicker to find what I need.
3. Digital Clutter
Every summer break I do a big clean out of all of my electronic files. It is important to me to have my files organized into folders. Having hundreds of files in crazy disarray makes my head spin. Many of my files are organized by month because that is what works for me.
On a regular basis, I clean off my desktop screen. I delete any files that are no longer needed. I keep a folder named “important” for files that I access frequently or for a project that I am currently working on to make accessing those files a bit quicker.
At the beginning of this school year, I took the time to gather all of my supplies, sort them into labeled containers and put them all into one place. I have moved classrooms several times and this particular project was always set aside. Having all of my supplies in one spot saves me a lot of time. I don’t have to search through all of my cupboards to find what I need. It also helps me when is time to take inventory and order supplies for next school year.
I love coming to school to an organized desk and work tables. I take 5 minutes right before I’m about to leave school at the end of each day to work on my desk and tables. I don’t completely clear off my desk and tables, but I tame the chaos that accumulates throughout the day. On my desk, I leave anything that needs to be taken care of right away the next morning. If I have planning that still needs to be done I leave that on the tables.
These 5 tips are what help me to start each day feeling calm and ready to take on the day. There are days that I fall behind and things aren’t quite the way I would prefer, but that is life. I make an effort to schedule in time to get reorganized. Do you have any organizational tips that really work for you?