Finishing Up the School Year in a Flash


It’s that time again. End of the school year and nothing sounds as great as chillin’ at home with a great book or watching your own kids play in your backyard. But, you still need to get that classroom packed up, cleaned, and plan those classroom celebrations.

Organizing for the end of the school year doesn’t have to be difficult when you break it in to smaller pieces.

It’s that time again. Organizing for the end of the school year doesn't have to be difficult. Use these three tips to have it done in a flash.

You know there are things you really don’t need in that classroom.

You might even tell yourself, “I’ll come in early in the fall and organize it before school starts.” The problem with that is you’ll be trying to squeeze every last vacation day out at the end knowing you want to savor the time off so coming back in early (for many of you in the July or August heat with no A/C) won’t become a reality. I have been in a sweaty and stifling classroom digging through plenty of boxes during the dog days of summer myself.

Now, imagine what it would feel like to be able to leave for the summer knowing that when you return, all the clutter has been cleared? Would you feel freedom in knowing that in the fall you will know exactly which box to unpack and when, and that your classroom setup could be done in half the time? And that it will only take you one week of staying after school for a couple hours?

Let’s get started!

Classroom Cleaning Tips

Begin simply by grabbing 3 containers in which to gather materials. These can be boxes, bags, baskets, or anything else. For now it is just important to start.

Pick ONE wall in your classroom that you will attend to after school. Personally, I suggest picking the smallest wall or the wall with the smallest amount of items housed on or near it. Start on one end of the wall and grab anything. Each item will fall into one of the three containers (you already have) listed below.


This container is reserved for broken crayons, dried out markers, books with pages falling out, old gum wrappers, folders with chewed up corners, and more. If it truly is trash and cannot be reused by anyone in any classroom, toss it.

If it is a sentimental item, then take it home. Students, parents, and administrators won’t appreciate the item anywhere near as much as you and if it is in a broken or worn-looking state, it will appear as though you are a pack rat and keep everything. (Even if you are now, we are hoping to alleviate that a bit.)

Wrapping up the Year eBook Cover

Grab the ultimate end of the school year resource guide for teachers!

Wrapping Up the School Year in Just 3 Days!  27 page guidebook with checklists and a plan of action so you can enjoy the last week of school with your students – rather than feeling overwhelmed with your task list!  Click HERE to download it now!

Recycling also makes this container by the way. Old papers with dog ears, copies that will never be used again, and tiny pieces of construction paper you think one student might get a circle out of should all go. Recycle it – don’t toss it – but make sure it heads to the appropriate place.


This box or bag is reserved for the items you use daily or at least twice a year in your classroom and are in good working order. This is important! Do not place items in this container that you have had for the entire school year and never used {tissues or other consumables are the exception to this rule}. If it is a game or manipulative or poster you have not used in the past year and you knew it was there, don’t put it in the Treasure box. Why? It is not treasured if it wasn’t used.


Last up, place whatever is leftover into the last container, which is the transfer pile. This pile should be filled with great teaching resources, professional development books, trade books, lesson files, and other fun teaching materials you just didn’t have time for in the last school year, or that have been used in the past but never took off the way you thought they would. This pile has a wonderful collection of ideas – just not ones you will necessarily use yourself every year.

Finishing It Up

After your entire chosen wall is in one of the three containers, take a 5 minute break and celebrate! You have made it further than 95% of what your colleagues will do to prep their classrooms for the end of this year AND for the upcoming school year already! The hardest part is over for the night!

After you have had a small break, grab your Trash container. Make sure the recycling gets to the right location, and toss the rest. Your container is now empty again and ready for the next night of organization.

Take your Treasure container and you can then repack items from this container into boxes for summer.

After everything is nicely packed and condensed, grab a piece of colored duct tape or even a marker and slap that color on every side, and top of each box.

When you do this same step for each of the other walls, make sure each set of boxes has a different color. That way in the fall upon returning, you can organize your boxes in front of the walls and know where everything in those boxes already go.

You might want to check out:

End of School Year eBook Cover

Need some new ideas for your end of the school year routine?  This 70 page digital book has you covered!

Includes 9 articles from Organized Classroom, including topics such as:

  • 140+ Quick EOY Student Activities
  • Printable Award Certificates
  • How To Pack Up Your Classroom Faster Than Ever
  • Fun Summer Reading Challenge for Students
  • DIY Unique Award Ceremony Ribbons
  • Planning Your EOY Party in a Snap
  • Super Cute Tag for EOY Student Gift

…and even more!

Includes 5 additional freebie files!  No need to enter in an email address for each one separately – just click and go! 

See it HERE.

The last container, Transfer, is usually the hardest. It is where you are not necessarily giving away your items, but rather sharing or allowing another teacher to borrow them. If you are sharing the items with others in your building, you are actually just maximizing your storage space.

If you are really on the shelf about whether to give the item away to someone else, make a quick note on your cell phone about who has that item – or just download the free form below. Then, if you really need it again for that obscure lesson where you think you have to have it, ask, and borrow it back again.

Personally, this is my favorite part of the process. All teachers love new doodads for their classrooms and you get to play the part of Santa. Even better if you deliver to their classroom with a handwritten note about why you feel they are the best recipient. They will feel honored to be able to share your materials with their students and take care of it like so.

Trash, Treasure, or Transfer

Just remember the 3 steps above and take your time to clear one wall at a time as you are packing up your classroom. If you use this method, your room will be organized and free of clutter, trash, or other materials that are no longer in use.

Grab your free Materials Transfer Form here!

It’s that time again. Organizing for the end of the school year doesn't have to be difficult. Use these three tips to have it done in a flash.

You will feel great knowing you are not only completely ready to relax and rejuvenate over summer break, but you can also know that you won’t have to return to school early to organize – it is already done!


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