Friday, January 20, 2012

Clutter-Free Classroom Project: Week 3

It’s Week Three in the Clutter-Free Classroom Project!  Part of the prompt said, “Let us see those trash bags bursting at the seams, the recycling bins filled to the brim, and the boxes of treasures waiting to be welcomed into the lives of other teachers…” and I was beginning to panic.  Then I looked at the title of the assignment and took a deep breath.  If you look closely at the graphic, printed under “The Clutter-Free Classroom Project,” you can read the challenge: “Week 3: START to Purge the Clutter.”  Okay, I’ll admit: I added the capital letters to the word, START.  But I sure felt a lot better after I did!  (I’m sure Jodi doesn’t want us hyperventilating—or giving up!)


I guess I am just a “baby steps” person. In my heart, I want to be a “giant steps” person, but I find it is pretty easy to get discouraged when I think like that.  When I originally checked, no one had posted any pictures, and I didn't want to be first.* That made me nervous all over again because some lucky declutterer might have filled a dumpster and I had just gotten started.  But then some real nice people posted and I felt better.  Again.

*(By the way, it seems like I only enjoy being first when I can beat Hadar, Farley, or Reagan to posting first on Teeny Tiny Teacher’s site—and those gals must be fast typists because I rarely win!) (And, meandering FURTHER off topic, which I am justifying by using yet another set of parentheses, did you know that Farley and Reagan met up with several other BlogFriends on Friday, and  I am so, So, very SO, THO jealous!!! I AM expecting pictures!)

Back to decluttering…
A million years ago, in January, I posted some pictures of some huge piles of school stuff in my house.  I took several boxes out of my classroom because my room was looking so cluttered and I no longer knew what was in the boxes!  (Note to self:  Bringing unidentified school stuff home is usually a bad idea!).  Once I photographed the piles, I felt even worse… but not as bad as I did when I decided to spread all of that wonderfulness {heaping sarcasm} all over my house.

Which is why I mentioned those baby steps…
I had to start somewhere.  So I began with the pile in my house.  (Here I need to clarify:  It’s the pile that was photographed.  Please do not infer that other piles--of school stuff and home stuff--cannot be found elsewhere!)

I started the clean-up with seventeen boxes—seventeen boxes filled with a peculiar combination of items.  First, I put away the Christmas presents, which, in some cases, meant I ATE my way through the Christmas presents!  Then there seemed to be a clothing section, so the scarf, mittens, and socks from the Washington trip (and a collection of hangers) were put in their rightful spaces.  I never found the cupcake that went missing, but a few pieces of chocolate resurfaced (not hard to figure out where those went) along with two Starbucks cards that went directly into my purse.  There were also several things that went back to the classroom (they already had homes there).  And some bills were paid, important papers were filed, and a recipe for an Indian dish that was in the math practice book (No, I don’t know why) was instead relocated to the front of a cookbook.

What became obvious as I dug deeper was that several of the boxes were filled with books—mixed in with other debris.  So, I pulled all the books together in boxes and labeled them, “Books.” (Crafty, aren’t I?)  These books need to be labeled and leveled to be put into my classroom library, but it was clear that they were books and not cupcakes, so that put my mind at ease.

That left three boxes to be sorted.  I turned on some less-than-educational TV and got through the first box.  Two boxes remain.  If you can’t read the label, it says, “Items to be sorted (Gee I wish I knew where this stuff went!)”  I did give the piles a quick perusal to determine that there was nothing critical, time-sensitive, or living.  The recycling bin shows the evidence, but I’ll leave the “trash” to your imagination.  

I have a lot more to do.  But I have made a START.  After all, that’s what the graphic said.  And typing this post has given me motivation to look in the second box.  There may be more Starbucks cards to uncover or another piece of chocolate.  I just hope I don’t come across that missing cupcake.

Now, click on  the Cluuter-Free picture up above or here and read some more decluttering tales.

AND check back here at Finding Joy in 6th Grade on Sunday, January 22nd, because I have interviewed Maria Dismondy, author of the new children's book, Pink Tiara Cookies for Three and I just KNOW you are going to love her.  You may be the one who takes home a copy of her book (and a tiara cookie cutter too!)

Can't wait until Sunday?
Want a chance for a copy of Maria's book right NOW?
Here's an idea... Click below to go to The Corner on Character.  She's GIVING AWAY a copy of the book AND a pink tiara cookie cutter!!  And then stay awhile and read some of Barbara's other posts!  She is amazing!

Oh, and one last (I did say LAST) thing...
Tara at 4th Grade Frolics is just two blinks away from reaching 800 followers.  EIGHT HUNDRED.  That's really a lot.  And she has a great blog!  Right now she's at 798.  But since 800 feels like a LOT more than 798, you could jump over, become a follower, and give her that 800  It could be you who brings JOY to sweet Tara's day.  Wouldn't that feel nice?  So, just do it!  Click below. Be the one...


  1. All of these decluttering posts *almost* make me want to jump on the bandwagon and begin in my own room.....almost.

    Can't wait for Sunday's post. How awesome that you got to interview the author!

    Teaching in Room 6

  2. Love your blog!!! Follow each other??? xoxo from Rome

  3. I'm with Stephanie - I'd a.l.m.o.s.t. like to do that, too . . . . it's SUCH a good feeling when things are orderly, eh?

    Can't wait for your post about Maria's new book - she's in TX today and wrote a guest post at the Corner if you want a sneak peek and a another chance to win the gem and a Tiara cookie cutter!!!

    The Corner On Character

  4. I love the pictures of your progress. I need to start "decluttering" because I have lots of school stuff at my house too.

    I noticed you have a box of books to be leveled. Is there a particular program that you use to level the books?

    Ms. Green Apple

  5. Thanks for linking up. That last picture makes me smile.

    And no I don't want you hyperventilating. Baby steps is definitely the way to go! :)

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

  6. Ha!!! I was cracking up when I saw my name. You're too funny!!! I like to be first when commenting, too. And Farley emailed me after last night's meet up, and made me even more jealous. Although, we are going to try to meet up in Texas in June. I'm going there to see my twin. Want to come? I'm sure you could stay with the twin's family and me. :) :) :)
    I'm going to say GREAT JOB on your start. I think it looks good. I'm especially impressed with the signs on everything. I might just have used a sharpie marker. It looks very PROFESSIONAL.
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  7. Kim! You've made TON of progress! I love how you labeled those boxes for sorting, so smart. Don't be too hard on yourself--I'm telling you, it's taken me almost two years of going around my room repeatedly to get it done (I am wicked slow I think...or I just get overwhelmed easily). I am loving seeing your progress. Happy Saturday girl!
    Kristen :)

  8. haha! I may or may not have her blog on auto-refresh so that I can always be first to comment ;)

  9. Yey Kim!!! So proud of your progress! I didn't get any decluttering done this past week because we had a very short week. I also have major filing to do. It seems to be the hardest part of decluttering.
    Kristen had a great suggestion to bind the papers into mini books by subjects to avoid single pages all over the place. A great idea if you have a book binding machine {which I do}.

    Keep up the good work!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  10. LOVE Tara and LOVE the shout out . . . thanks for sending your friends my way. Cannot WAIT for your interview tomorrow!!!


  11. Oh my goodness - that's so much more than a start!!! Well done on the organizing - makes me so much more than a little bit jealous ;). Must clean up some piles in my classroom tomorrow morning - have some important people coming in to take part in my math class tomorrow afternoon. YIKES!!! Wish me luck!

    Runde's Room

  12. So I read your little intro header and thought, "Oh my goodness...she just described me! (although I don't drink coffee but still love Starbucks!...weird, huh?) I am so curious as to what part/district of California you teach in. I just started my teacher blog this last month and would love to "talk shop".
    Des @


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