Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share

It’s the end of the school year, and I can count on my hands the number of days left. Which means one thing: my desk drawers are back to haunt me. It’s as scary as it sounds. I like to use my desk drawers as a receptacle for, well, everything.

For example: A student gives me two green notecards as a Christmas gift? In the desk they go. I get a thank you note for helping out with Unified Theater? Into the drawer you go. I eat a fortune cookie? Oh, hello, fortune here is your new home.

You would think that I would have mainly teacher-y things in my desk. And I do. I have sticky note pads, passes for students, Common Core ELA resources, articles I was given to read, SBAC binders…

…but I also have a lot of personal items. Like afore mentioned thank you cards, Chapstick, sandals, purses, … (hey you never know when you’ll need a pair of hot pink sandals!), board games, jewelry students have made me, food, … really it’s like a miniature composite of my life.

Last year I just ignored it all. Hey, I was coming back to the same desk and the same classroom. NBD. If I didn’t wear the sandals last year (at all), then surely I’ll wear them this year (I have yet, to ever, wear the sandals. Because, you know, I generally come to work ALREADY wearing shoes. Shocking I know).

This year, unfortunately my position was cut (but no worries! I still have a job for next year! Well, as long as the budget gets voted in soon), which means I’ll have a different job next year, hopefully in the same school, maybe in a different school in the same district. This also means I HAVE to clean out my desk.

I actually (cringe) have two desks.

Since I work in reading and math, I have my math desk in the math resource room, but I also have a reading classroom with another desk.  

Thankfully I don’t use my reading desk as much as my math desk but it still is used. Which means it still needs to be cleaned: of vintage school t-shirts, loose staples, unopened packs of pens, more Expo markers then I know what to do with (including a coveted yellow one), random items that were left behind when I inherited the desk (such as clear calculators for assistive tech use and a collection of dead electronic thesauruses), students reading files from the last two years . A nice assortment.

And that’s not mentioning my book collection.

About two weeks ago another para offered some cardboard boxes to box up my reading books. I nodded and smiled but inside I was tearing up. No! I refuse!

The math specialist (one of my bosses) kindly offered to let me keep the books (boxed up) in the reading room, which technically is actually a math room. Yes, not sure I understand all the logistics of room ownership either. But, regardless, I at least have a space to store the books and don’t have to lug them all home. Because I kind of maybe have taken up that space at home with…clothes…and more books.

I also have decorations. Those will be easiest to clean up. I’ll just take them down and throw them out (or recycle them). A lot of them are sun faded (my bulletin boards for some reason are positioned directly across from the windows allowing for maximum sun fade).

My method of choice is to do a little bit each day, and to do it when I’m alone.

I don’t know about you, but cleaning when I’m around other people drives me wild because

1) I feel like there critiquing my cleaning methods, because…
2) I tend to make a bigger mess before making it actually organized
3) I need the space to make the mess and having others around infringes on that physical and (mainly) mental space.

So for the next nine days, my goal is to do SOMETHING each day. Whether it’s organizing a drawer, taking down a bulletin board, or boxing up a box of books, something will be needed to be done that way on the last day I can relax and enjoy the last day.


  1. I STILL need to clean my room... which is my plan during our make-up PD tomorrow as the afternoon is "classroom time." Everyone's classrooms are all cleaned and ready for new decorations, posters, etc. but spending the last week in Louisiana (I know you feel so bad ;) ) really limited the time I could recruit little second graders to help me out to clean out our room... oh well, at least if I'm cleaning I'll know where I'm putting items and what items really need to find their way to the garbage (or recycle bin) as opposed to if my kiddos were doing some of the cleaning!

    I hope your cleaning was successful!

    1. Hi Ashlee!
      I was successful! I debated employing my kiddos too but I think doing it myself I was able to really decide what to chuck, what to recycle and what to save. It's definitely interesting when it really comes down to it what is truly a keeper!
      And poor you suffering in Louisiana! ;)


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