A couple of summers ago, I read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. One thing that I really took to heart was that everything in your home should bring you joy. As I worked on implementing Kondo’s strategies for organizing and keeping clutter at bay, I decided to start in my closet. I took everything out of my closet, every single piece of clothing that I owned, and put them in a huge pile on my bed. Then, one by one, touched and held every piece of clothing, and asked myself, “Does this bring me joy?” I got rid of a lot of clothes that day. While my closet may not look perfect every day, it is so easy to tidy up in no time at all because everything has a place. Getting dressed each morning is a breeze because of the ease of accessing my wardrobe and accessories.
Classroom design has a major influence on the learning environment in your classroom. Having an organized classroom will not only look amazing, but more importantly, will allow you to maximize instructional learning spaces for your students. So before you start packing your room for summer break, take a good look at your classroom right now. How does it make you feel? Does it bring you joy? Do you have areas of clutter and disarray? Is your teacher desk covered with mounds of papers to the point where you can’t sit there to get work done? Do your walls have too many posters and charts that make you feel overwhelmed or even claustrophobic? Are your closets stuffed with materials you didn’t even use or open this year? If you answered “yes” to the last four questions, then it’s time for you to start de-cluttering the things that don’t bring you joy!
Don’t feel bad about getting rid of the following things (recycle what you can):
Any procedure charts that you created with your class… You will need to do this with next year’s students anyway.
Classroom library books that are damaged and beyond repair
Instructional games/toys that have broken or are missing parts
Broken furniture (it’s a safety issue)
Your teacher desk (if you never use it and just accumulates clutter… you can survive without it)
You can find some inspiration from the following:
You can learn more about the environment as a third teacher at the following link: http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/2009/how-the-environment-inspires-curriculum