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Packing Your Classroom for Summer Break

packing up your classroom for summer break

As the school year winds down and summer break looms on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about packing up your classroom. For many Pre-K through fifth grade teachers, this task can seem daunting. Between organizing materials, cleaning, and storing supplies, it’s easy to overlook some crucial steps that can make the process smoother and set you up for success when it’s time to return in the fall. Here are some helpful, friendly suggestions to ensure an easy, organized time both packing up and unpacking your classroom.

1. Label Everything

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth unpacking process is to label all your boxes and containers clearly. Rather than just labeling a box “Art Supplies,” be more specific: “Art Supplies – Markers, Crayons, Paints.” This will help you quickly identify what’s inside each box without having to open it. It’s also helpful to note where each box should go, such as “Reading Corner” or “Teacher’s Desk,” which will save you time when setting up next year.

Packing up classroom using labels

So, like them or not, carefully labeling your classroom items will make setting up your classroom next year so much easier!

2. Technology Care

When it comes to classroom technology, proper care and storage are essential. Make sure all devices are properly shut down and unplugged. For items that use batteries, remove them to prevent corrosion over the summer. Back up important data from computers and tablets to a secure location, such as a cloud service or an external hard drive. Protect screens with covers and wrap cords carefully to prevent damage.

3. Inventory Management

Before you pack away all your supplies, take an inventory. Note what you have and what needs to be restocked. This is the perfect time to check for dried-up markers, broken scissors, or depleted glue sticks. Creating a list of items to replace or purchase for the next school year will make your summer shopping much more efficient.

4. Organize Instructional Materials

Sort through your curriculum, instructional materials, and lesson plans. Discard any outdated or irrelevant materials and organize the rest in a way that makes sense for you. Group similar items together, such as all math resources in one box and reading materials in another. This will make it much easier to find what you need when you start planning your lessons for the new school year. I don’t know about you, but I am obsessed with task card boxes. They just look so nice and clean while keeping all of my instructional activities like these differentiated phonics clip cards nice and organized!

5. Carefully Handle Bulletin Boards and Decorations

Bulletin boards and classroom decorations can be expensive and time-consuming to replace. Carefully remove and store these items to prevent damage. Roll posters and secure them with rubber bands, and place smaller items in labeled envelopes or folders. Store everything in a way that keeps them flat and safe, such as in a portfolio or large plastic container. I literally had no clue that you can buy storage specifically for bulletin board items!

6. Cleaning and Maintenance Requests

As you are packing up your classroom for summer break, make note of any maintenance or cleaning issues that need to be addressed over the summer. Whether it’s a wobbly desk, a leaky ceiling, or a carpet that needs a deep clean, communicate these needs to your school administration or custodial staff to ensure they can be taken care of before the new school year begins.

7. Manage Student Work and Records

It’s important to properly file or dispose of student work, assessments, and records according to your school’s policies. Shred any documents that contain sensitive information, and store student records securely. If you keep digital files, make sure they are backed up and organized in a way that makes them easy to access when needed.

shredding classroom files
If only everything could be so automated!

8. Document Your Classroom Layout

If you’re happy with your current classroom setup, take photos before you start packing. This will serve as a useful reference when you’re setting up your room again. Even if you plan to change the layout, having a visual reminder of what worked well can be helpful. This is especially helpful if you have flex seating in your classroom.

packing up your classroom for summer break (2)
packing up your classroom for summer break
packing up your classroom for summer break
packing up your classroom for summer break
packing up your classroom for summer break

9. Remove Personal Items

Don’t forget to take home any personal items or valuables to avoid loss or damage. This includes personal teaching materials, decorations, and personal effects. It’s better to store these items at home where you can keep an eye on them during summer break.

There are two kinds of teachers. Which are you?

taking things organized
packing up everything

10. Keep a "First Week Back" Box

Pack a special box with items you’ll need right away when you return, such as scissors, tape, markers, and basic office supplies. Having these essentials easily accessible will help you get started without digging through all your packed boxes.

packing up your classroom for summer break (1)

11. Reflect and Celebrate

Take some time to reflect on the past school year. What went well? What could be improved? Reflect on your accomplishments and give yourself credit for the hard work you’ve done. To be sure, celebrate your successes and think about what changes you want to make next year. Bring it all back to your “why.” This reflection is incredibly valuable for personal and professional growth.

TM packing up your classroom for summer break.

12. Take Care of Yourself

Finally, remember to take care of yourself. The end of the school year is often hectic, and it’s important to make time for rest and relaxation. You’ve spent months dedicating yourself to your students, and now it’s time to focus on your well-being. Whether it’s taking a vacation, enjoying hobbies you love, or simply spending time with family and friends, make sure to prioritize activities that rejuvenate you. Recharge over the summer so you can return refreshed, re-energized, and ready to inspire your students in the new school year. Remember, a well-rested teacher is a more effective and joyful educator.

Life is Better in Flip Flops packing up your classroom for summer break (11)

Packing up your classroom for summer break doesn’t have to be stressful. By taking these extra steps, you can ensure a smooth transition both as you close out the current year and prepare for the next. Here’s to an especially restful, productive summer and a fantastic start to the new school year!

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing! I always feel like the end of the school year comes slow and fast all at once. I intend to be clean and organized but in that chaotic last week, it can feel hard to stay on-track. I love the reminder to submit maintenance requests now versus August 31st when I have 7 broken headphones and 2 iPads that don’t function. I am going to submit my tech requests TOMORROW so that it is not a worry during the first week of school. This year I kept folders of each unit and teaching point with all of the corresponding assessments/worksheets I have gathered. Last year I focused on creating bins of math games and this year was getting my units organized. Now, I know a bit more of what I can do to finish organized. Overwhelmed… BUT I can do this!

    1. Hey Jackie! What’s that saying? … The days are long but the years are short. I think that definitely applies to teaching! I’m so glad that the maintenance request tip was helpful. I was the worst about putting it off. I had an old tube tv that was never used hanging on my classroom wall taking up valuable real estate for more years than I’d like to admit. That’s so smart of you to compile your resources along and along as you taught. I’m sure it’s going to make planning next year a lot less time consuming. What a great idea!!! Keep making small adjustments like you’re doing and you’ll have it all whipped in no time! Happy End of the Sbool Year!

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