Clutter is usually the result of trying to do too many things at once. With so many fun things to learn, it can be exciting to bounce from lesson to lesson and task to task and creating a huge mess along the way. Don’t fight the fun of learning; fight the habits that made the mess possible!
Don’t make your long-term solution shoving the mess off camera. This is especially true if you’re the learning pod host – have a home that you love to show off to other parents.
Reduce Overwhelm With Totes
Overwhelm is the first step to a mess. Totes and cubbies make cleanup a lot easier because the question of “what needs to be put back?” is very easy to answer. It also makes finding the right tool for a particular type of lesson easier. Painting? Bust out the arts and crafts tote. Doing math? Snag the math and geography bucket. Tackle boxes make for reusable, easily-stored, and easily-repurposed school supply totes. Have a specific area these totes get returned to that is easy to remember and easy to reach.
Stackable totes make a big difference, but an organization system is only as good as the least organized person using it – so make sure to color coordinate lids or use Canva to create some fun-looking picture-based labels so kids know what goes where (and more importantly: where to put things back!)
Try to avoid over-stuffing these totes and try to group like items – every bit of prep you do here will save you headaches in terms of spills and make messes easier to address.
Plan Ahead and Build Habits
Giving yourself enough time as a buffer in between lessons and the next activity is important, as is establishing the expectation with your children that the classroom needs to be cleaned up any time there’s a change in activities and that they should be the ones to help with this.
A few years ago we shared a post about age-appropriate chores… we’re not saying that you have to dive-in that deep, but teachers in school often task each student with a particular cleaning job for a week. After that week, the students switch. Every student should feel ownership in the state of their classroom.
Messes happen – sometimes they’re totally unavoidable, especially when it comes to arts and crafts time. Breathe through it, ask for help when you need it, and do spot-cleaning as different activities wrap up.
Rolling Carts Around a Central Workstation
Classrooms are typically packed with lots of learning tools, but they almost always split these tools into organized sections of the room that orbit a multi-purpose workstation.
Everything has its own place (even if it moves) and teachers almost always take time at the start of the year to teach kids where to find and put things back. Being able to wheel in all the tools you need for a particular lesson is really handy and resetting the room by rolling a cart back where it belongs is very rewarding.
Magazine holders are useful for storing paper (either to save schoolwork or to keep fresh paper ready to go with minimal mess) and a bit of creative planning with magnet boards can put that day’s lessons in easy reach.
Also, consider scanning in artwork and homework so you don’t have to keep the physical copies unless you really want to. There are several good free scanning apps available for most smartphones (including the default Notes app on the iPhone).
Overall, you’re gonna have a lot of things to worry about when setting up for homeschooling or virtual schooling even one or two days out of the week. Don’t let your cleaning fall by the wayside – let us help! Call us at (970) 215-2224.
– Laura @ All Star Cleaning