It’s June. Time to tackle the last hurdle before you make your final walk to freedom – packing up your classroom! You might be tempted to recruit a few students and have them throw all of your supplies, willy-nilly, into boxes. Don’t. The last thing you want is to start the new school year sorting out last year’s mess.
Before you begin your pack-up, check out these easy tips that will make the job easier on both ends of the summer.
1. Invest in the proper supplies
- Good (not too big) boxes. A good box is one that is small enough to be lifted by one person when packed with your heaviest items, like textbooks. Bonus: the custodians will love you!
- A heavy-duty packing tape dispenser. This is a small investment that will pay for itself year after year.
- Packing tape. Duct tape costs nearly double that of packing tape and is and not very efficient for the job of sealing boxes. Don't even think about using masking tape!
- Painters “blue” tape. Use this instead of masking tape or labels to mark furniture. It will save you from having to scrape cooked adhesive from the surfaces next fall.
- Bold black and red markers.
- Plastic wrap
- Packing material. More on this later.
2. Conduct a major purge
This is a tough one for teachers, especially when resources are so dear. Truth is, some things are just too outdated, worn, or just not useful anymore.
One year I set a goal to reduce the number of boxes needed to pack my classroom by half. It meant getting rid of many old books that the students we not interested in, as well as a mountain of “free” stuff that I’d picked up from other teachers. I cut my box load from 70 to about 40 – not exactly half, but a good beginning.
If you are having trouble letting go, ask yourself:
- Have I used this item or supply within the last 2 years?
- Will I really use this, or do I just have it because it was free?
- What is the worst thing that can happen if I get rid of ________?
3. Gather all liquids first
Hand sanitizer, paint, glue, and cleaning sprays can damage their boxmates if they leak. Line a box with a trash bag and pack these items together. Label the box “Liquids, This Side UP”
4. Glass and fragile items next
Use torn down bulletin board paper or newsprint to wrap breakables. Place fragile items together in boxes marked “fragile,” in big red letters. If you have very special breakable items, consider storing them at home this summer.
5. Pack “around” the room
For the rest of your room, begin at one point in the room, say the door, and work your way around the room clockwise, packing items into boxes. Number each box in order. When you go to unpack next year, you will save a ton of energy because you can set the boxes around the room in numerical order and unpack with minimal walking back and forth. It also saves having to think about where everything is supposed to go.
6. Create a packing list
Instead of labeling each box with its contents, use a packing list instead. Number a sheet of paper and write a general description of what is in each corresponding numbered box. This makes finding packed items a breeze.
7. Use plastic wrap to hold items together
Wrap your desk tray or mini supply drawers in plastic wrap to hold all of the items together and keep them from falling all through your packing box.
8. Take pictures of electronic hook-ups
Make re-connecting your technology a no-fail at the beginning of next year.
9. Pack yourself a surprise
Put a little treat for yourself in one of the boxes. A pack of gum, some mints or hard candy will be a great pick-me-up as you are tackling the beginning of the new school year. Just make sure it is well sealed and not something that rodents might chew through your boxes to enjoy.
10. Don’t forget the custodians
While you’re sunning yourself at the beach, your custodians will be hard at work. They’ll be stripping and waxing floors, moving boxes and furniture, and deep-cleaning the boy’s restroom (yuck). Make sure they know how much you appreciate their work by leaving a nice note and/or a little treat for them to find.