Friday, January 6, 2012

Organization Project: Wk1: The Before Pictures

Oh my goodness,am I tired. I didn't even have students today and I feel like a Mac Truck hit me. I had to lay down for 20 minutes when I got home. I think going to bed at 2:00am and waking up at 6:30am is not a good combination. Anyway, I'm here to share my before pictures.
Ok, I can't begin to tell you how embarrassed I am right now. As I was walking around taking pictures, I thought, how on Earth did I let it get this bad? Ugh, ok please don't judge me too harshly.

This is my biggest hurdle. My class library, reading center whatever you call it, it is a mess. I want to properly label my books and baskets for my students. I want them to be able to put things away in their place.
This is the first year I have a proper counter and I should say I have not treated it properly. I just end up dumping all kinds of stuff on top. What I really want is to make id a functional working space.

These tubs were great when I had materials sorted by class in them. However, I moved to another system. They became a catch all.
This is my little dorm room desk, that I got when I had a MUCH smaller room. If you remember this year, I switched to 2 tables in an L shape so that I didn't have an additional table for small groups. So I have used this small desk as more counter space. Again, it is a mess! I am so disappointed in myself.

I like the way I have my Writing manuals and my mentor texts here, I just would like to find a place for all the stuff I just pile on top of it.

This stack of papers are my students work, that I display. I collect it monthly, I compile them, and give to my students at the end of the year. However, I don't have a system for this and it is unsightly. :(

These tubs were purchased to hold my thematic units, seasonal work and centers, by quarter. As you can see I have not taken the initiative and started working on this. The goal is that I would work out of one tub every quarter. Right now I have just been stacking stuff on top. As you can see I have a problem with stacks of papers.

I also have little areas of clutter, that I just have to go through and eliminate and a drawer that I think can be put to better use.

Finally, this is my overhead center. Ignore the chairs, they are left overs from our holiday celebration. However, if you look closely, beneath the overhead, you see those white binders? They were donated and I snagged a bunch to use with my kids next year. I DO want to keep these, I just have to find a place to store them where I am not looking at them.

Because I felt so terrible after snapping the pictures, I cleaned up a bit. Here is what my little desk/ counter looked like after. It is not perfect, but much improved.

Also I got rid of the numbered dots on the carpet because they were looking pretty shabby. I didn't replaced them the floor because I will start using my carpet squares.

I did switch out the numbers on the desk.

Finally, something to make me feel good. I got pictures of my paper trays in action.

As Jodi said "Please take some time to offer some comment lovin." I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Clutter-Free Classroom


  1. You've already made such a great start! My desk is also a HUGE problem as is every flat space! So easy to put things down on the most convenient shelf. I look forward to seeing more of your progress!

    Down Under Teacher

  2. Ms. M,
    Thank you for sharing your before pictures. I too have counters that look like this. Paper and piles seem to be my downfall. I started cleaning, organizing and rearranging after school today. I am getting rid of my teacher desk. Yeah and Yikes all in one! Things are already looking up in your room. Keep up the effort. I can't wait to see more after photos.

    2B Honey Bunch
    The Best Endings

  3. I love how REAL your room is! I was mortified taking the pictures of my room and I'm sure it will be even worse tomorrow when I link up, but it needs to be done. It looks like you have all the right things in place to organize everything, if only we all had more time! I can't wait to see everything when it's finished!

  4. My desk's alter ego is "Dumping Ground" and this year I am determined to prevent that! I look forward to seeing your progress!
    ✪ Liam ✪
    Twist of Liam

  5. I love those labels on your students desks and the clip-on signs on your in-boxes! Where did you find them? I, too, would like to work on my library. I used to have a super organized library, but then I moved up grades and got rid of books and acquired more and it all went downhill. I know that by supporting each other, it will help! Good luck! :)
    Teaching With Style

  6. Thanks for linking up! I have a love hate relationship with binders. I was lucky enough to snag a binder shelf (rounded to accommodate the shape). You might want to find a basket that they can stand in or else store them upright (back to back) on a shelf.

    I love your paper trays!

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  7. Forgot to add....those clear bins are perfect for when we start purging next week. I would use them for that and then hold onto them for your units once you start storing things.

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  8. I am impressed that you posted the "before" pictures! That is a huge step! The desk is looking good!


  9. Hey from your newest follower! I am really looking forward to reading your blog, especially your Clutter Free Classroom project!! You may have just inspired me to do it too :)

    I would love it if you would check out my blog, just started this week!
    Learn, Laugh, Grow

  10. I'm so glad to know that there are others out there like me! I tend to clutter up any free surface in my room. Then, when I try to find something I have now idea what pile it's in! I need help!

  11. Wow! What a job! I love your little carpet squares with the alphabet...where are they from?


  12. Oh my goodness, you have nothing to be embarrassed about! You have two classrooms in two different schools...I would never be able to manage that as effectively as you do!! And you are a very quick organizer--you already made a ton of progress. I adore your new paper trays and matching signs--how gorgeous and organized!! I can't wait to see more!
    Kristen :)

  13. I love the new paper trays :) It's nice to see someone who is creative like myself and it shows :) Love your blog and I will be posting my terribly messing (yet creative pics last this week too on CFC :) Keep the great ideas coming :)

    Lisa :) (new follower)

  14. It will be fine. Take deep breaths.
    Your paper trays in action are awesome. :)
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  15. Love the paper trays!! Can't wait to see the after pictures! I wish I could fly out and help you!!! organizing is my absolute fav! and by organizing, I mean throwing things away, so it's probably a good thing that I can't come help you ;)

  16. Kylie, I so know what your talking about.

    Erika, I love my 2 tables as my desk. I will have to take pictures of that next time. This desk, is not really a desk anymore just storage space. I'm just not using it well. :/

    Miss. P, Thanks, and I look forward to seeing your room.

    Liam, LOL, I love the alter ego thing. I love your room and can't wait to see what you do with it.

    Nicole, I made those labels and if you look at my two previous posts you can get them as a freebie.

    Jodi, so glad to get you on here. :) The problem with the binders is that they are not in use. I wish I had a closet to store them. Maybe I will box them up, or put them in a file drawer. I want them out of my eyesight. Thanks for the idea for the bins. They aren't doing anything now anyway.

    Jennifer, I slept until 10:00 am today, so I think I got it. Thanks.

    Lori, it was hard, but like a friend once told me "feel the fear and do it anyway".

    Amanda, Thanks for following. Love your blog design.

    Karen, I know exactly how you feel.

    Mrs. Wheeler, the carpet squares come from a company called Nasco. They are called "Fun with Phonics Kit" and are not that expensive. I got mine through a Donors Choose Grant.

    Kristen, you always know how to make me feel better. I completely forgot I am in 2 buildings. My other room is tidy, but it is much smaller. I think I tolerate clutter more in a larger space.

    Lisa, thanks for the compliment and for following. I look forward to seeing your room.

    Kristin, The deep breathes worked. :) I wish you would get in on this, your commentary is hilarious.

    Hadar, I would love for you to come in and clean it all out. Ha, ha! I would cry, but it would be neat.

  17. Oh my goodness, where did you find those adorable carpet squares? I need those for my kinders!

  18. Whew bless your heart, that's a bit of a hot mess. But the good news is you realize it and your working towards fixing it :) Do you have a closet or somewhere to store some of that stuff? I have a huge closet and that's where a lot of my stuff goes. I have a calendar thats probably 15 feet long and its completely empty because I am crazy about clutter. I also use the top of my cubbies to store my notebooks and things. I have fabric curtains to cover all that up so you don't see it. You could put some fabric on your desk and then store stuff under the curtain so no one could see it. My library center is also a hot mess...and I don't know how to fix that problem either. I got a "shelf marker" where they are supposed to stick it in leave it and get their book and then put it back but that is an epic fail so I just straighten it up every day. I can't wait to see what you come up with for organization. Maybe I will take some pictures of my room and how I get organized!

  19. Oops, I meant counter instead of calendar!

  20. The best part about posting pictures?!...we see our clutter in a whole new way. I personally think this is gonna be a blast!
    I am impressed at how you addressed some areas right away! It is always the stacks of paper that seem to be the toughest to deal with! I cannot wait to hear how you feel after you purge the boxes and reorganize!

  21. I agree with Mary about seeing clutter in a whole new way through pictures. I was just talking with our custodian yesterday as I threw out two LARGE bags of paper about how it's so hard to not pile papers, especially in the midst of a hectic day! Can't wait to see your progress.

  22. Brittany, see my comment (#17) about the carpet squares.

    Mrs. Patton, no I don't have a closet, just what you see and already packed file cabinet. I don't want to hide things I just want to organize or get rid of things. For my library, I know what I have to do, I just don't want to put forth the time and energy to do it. :/

    Mary & Reflections from within, I agree, pictures help you feel so ashamed that you are forced to do something about it. :P

    Ms. M

  23. My room is worse!! Ha! We just need more time to organize and keep up with it! This year I did pretty good up until December and my room is a hot mess!! I will be working on it all next week!!! :)

    I can't wait to see you "new" room!

    Sweet Times in First


  24. I gave you an award over at my blog Teaching With Style. Go check it out! :)

  25. I can't wait to see the after pictures. Good Luck! I know I'm going to need all the luck I can get.


  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. I had a heart to heart moment with you when I saw the class library pictures. I struggled for so long and reorganized my class library every year, until this last summer. I read somewhere, I think from the sisters with Daily 5, to number your books and bins. Why hadn't I thought of that before?? It has been wonderful! Students know exactly where to find the books they want (a master list if the contents of each box is posted for students ex: box 1 level A books, box 33 dinosaur books, box 44 Junie B. books etc.) The even better part, they know exactly where to put them back. I have had none of my former class library problems this year. Good Luck and thanks for bravely posting the pictures.

  28. Sandra, I agree more time. Now how do I get it?

    Nicole, thanks. Your too sweet.

    JJ, your rooms not that bad. You will do great.

    Melissa, good idea. Thanks.

    Ms. M

  29. It seems like you have a lot of what you need to get going. Thanks for the encouraging comment on my blog. Can't wait to see the transformation.

  30. I will be taking pics Monday because I was to join....You have a terrific site here! I am so glad I found it and I am your newest follower!
    Come see me too!
    ­ Kindergarten Lifestyle

  31. You have a lot of paper work that needs a home, but other than that, it is just moving things around perhaps to gain as much space as possible. Thanks so much for sharing...I am getting tons of ideas just from looking at each blogger's photos!!

  32. I always say that I want counters but I fear that I would just make piles there too!! Ay caramba. I was relieved to see your pictures because it is like looking in a mirror for me. But just think about it... people like you and me will feel EXTRA happy when everything is decluttered because we will have come so far! ;)

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  33. Your post cracked me up! I am SUCH a piler too. It is nearly impossible not to be. I have a system in place for papers...I just don't use it. Hmm...probably not effective then. I am loving seeing everyone's posts because I know I am not alone. Can't wait to see what's next in store for the project!

    Living A Wonderful Life

  34. Vanessa, thanks & your welcome.

    Jeannie, welcome & can't wait to see your room.

    Kimberlee, thanks for the encouragement.

    Jill, I would prefer some tall closets, to counters.

    bnwalton, glad I am not the only piler. :)

    Ms. M

  35. Piles, piles. They just seem to happen right? Good luck trying to elimante them from happening!


  36. Thanks Ms. M for the clutter post. Now I feel a little better about posting my disaster of a classroom on my blog to catch up with the linky party. I have tried to purge things... I finally organized under my desk but you can't really tell as my desk area is "my dumping ground.":(
    Kinders on the Block


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