The school year is over, your students are soon off for their summer break, and you’re more than looking forward to the next few weeks free of education.

But here’s the final hurdle before you can kick back and relax; the dreaded cleaning out of the classroom. Depending on the age range of your students and your organization throughout the year, this process can be easy or a seemingly impossible task. But before you don the rubber gloves or begin sorting those piles of classwork, sit down and get planning.

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What exactly do you need to do to clear out your classroom?

Tackling just about any cleaning job is much easier with a to-do list in place. Here are just a few things you should consider including in the planning process:

  • What students need to take home for summer
  • What do you need to take home with you
  • Paperwork and classwork that needs to be kept
  • What needs to be recycled and binned
  • What needs a good clean

Once you’ve got a good idea of how to sort your cleaning into neat little piles, you’re well on your way to having a shiny, bright, and fresh-looking room ready for the new year. Still looking for tips, tricks, and ideas to help make the cleaning process more bearable?

Read on for a little more insight and inspiration to get you started:

Set your students up for summer

According to The Lettered Classroom, creating summer packages for your students should be your top priority during the week before the summer break. These packages should include continuation of their work over the summer and some guidance for parents to support them properly. Something as simple as creating a journal can be an excellent summer holiday idea to keep your skills fresh and your mind active beyond all the fun summer activities they have planned.

Prioritize what you need to do

A messy mind won’t help a messy classroom. Start by making a to-do list of everything you need to do and prioritize each task from most to least important. Time-sensitive work, such as things that require your students’ input, should top the list. Getting caught up on the little things that don’t matter is easy, while the less-fun big things get forgotten about. Being organized, and prioritizing correctly, can help make the process that much smoother – and far less complicated.

Don’t be afraid to throw things away

Honestly, do you use or even need some things you keep around the classroom?

From popsicle sticks to toilet paper tubes, outdated teaching equipment to little-used furniture, purging can be a great way to make your classroom feel clean and new. If you’re upgrading furniture or more substantial, expensive items, sell them instead of keeping them as spares. Or even pass them on to a new teacher in your school, who will appreciate the help. We’re not saying go full-on Marie Kondo in your space, but at the very least, get rid of the extra bits you’ll never use.

Label, label, label

An organized classroom is a productive classroom. According to The Organized Classroom, packing away and managing your class can be made far more comfortable using a label maker or stickers. This is especially essential if you’re moving classrooms or your classroom has to be fully emptied for maintenance or decoration. Knowing where everything does not only make it easier now, but your future self will be thanking you when it comes to unpacking all over again.

How do you manage the yearly classroom clear-out?