Tuesday, March 10th is Organize Your Home Office Day. Since our classroom feels like a second home, here are some great suggestions for keeping your desk tidy.
Your desk is where you will spend a great deal of time planning lessons and managing the flow of papers. The problem is this is where the universe collides and in some cases it can look like it. Yes, it is the easiest place to dump stuff. But if it’s only storing belongings then you may want to rethink how you use it.
People often feel they have to display everything they own on top of their desktop. Instead of having an open area to get their work done, they are continually reshuffling items or squeezing in-between stacks of paper. By keeping as few items as possible and only one of each item you will be able use the space as it is intended.
- 1 small container to hold pens (make sure they work) and pencils (sharpened and with erasers)
- 1 scissors or 1 ruler if you use them often, if not keep them in a desk drawer
- 1 stapler and 1 tape dispenser, but again only if you use them often
- 1 note pad/post it note pad
- 1 tray system for incoming papers
- 1-2 personal items, only
Store student papers and maybe even your computer in another nearby location. And if you want to know the #1 secret to making your desk look like it just came out of a home decorating magazine, buy matching desk supplies. They don’t have to be expensive, just coordinated for a professional appearance.
When storing items in drawers the key concept is “confinement”. You can keep materials like brads or rubber bands in their original packaging but stack them in a way so that they don’t slide around the drawer. If you have to, buy drawer organizers to contain them.
In your desk drawers keep supplies that you use maybe not on a daily but on a regular basis such as brads, paper clips, glue sticks, rubber bands.
Put the most frequently used supplies in the top drawer and less frequently used items in lower drawers. Store duplicate materials and rarely used items somewhere else in the room.
Desk File Drawer
If you have a way to store papers in a drawer at your desk then only keep your non-teaching paperwork. Contact lists, committee files, reference or record keeping forms can be stored here. Lesson plan resources and seasonal items should be kept in other places like a crate or your filing cabinet.
Another great file to store here is a “general memos” file. This is where I put all of the handouts from my principal, staff meetings, and schedules that I don’t need to refer to often but that I need to hold on to for now. Every few months I go through and toss outdated items.
Limit what you keep at your desk and it will finally become the place where you get everything done.
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