Decluttering and downsizing materials!

January 14, 2012

Decluttering and downsizing materials!

January 14, 2012
Happy Friday!! Today we had an unexpected two hour delay and it worked out so nicely for my decluttering plans! I finally committed to getting rid of the materials you see to the left. 🙂

I got in early (well, not too early, I have to admit I did sleep in a bit!) and started sorting through my files.

I mentioned before that I have been working on decluttering for quite some time now. All in all, it will have taken me two years to go through everything completely! That’s mostly because I try to do it in small bits when I have time (ha! What’s time??).

I’ve also found that I’ve needed to go around the room several times in order to really convince myself to get rid of certain items. Pretty bad, huh? Well, at least the third or fourth (or fifth) time around I have finally gotten rid of some old things.

Actually, today’s decluttering was really hugely thanks to Jodi, from Clutter-free Classroom. This brilliant girl posted a fabulous freebie: A Plan to Declutter. It is just so perfect! It is a cute little printout that has rules that really make you think about your items and whether you truly need them. I used these rules all day as I sorted and downsized.

So…I tackled the professional materials in my binders today. Don’t get me wrong. You know this girl loves her binders. But these are those the jumbo larger-than-they-need-to-be-to-hold-the-contents-inside ones we get from various workshops. And they don’t really match (which drives my type-A self crazy). And they take up A TON of space, which is the worst!

I threw out a few that were no longer necessary (well, recycled the papers and gave the binder to a student). But I did have a handful with some great resources. They were just too big and bindery…

So I took my first one (it’s a bit old, but has some really nice information). It was all paint splattery and gross…
Took it apart and bound it with the book binder…
And now it looks much nicer! And MUCH smaller! It even fits into my file drawers, where I don’t have to see it until I need it…
I got a couple of them done before my students arrived (much to their chagrin, they did indeed miss gym today due to the delayed opening, poor guys!)…
And I have one more visual, to show all the space those book-bound packets save versus the binders! (do you ever worry that one of your coworkers is going to suddenly walk in while you’re taking photos of a pile of resources? I do…they must think I’m crazy, taking a picture of old binders on a table! They don’t know I blog. It’s my super-secret alter-ego!).
Kind of a little thing, but it will make a huge impact on saving space in my classroom.

Are you decluttering along with Jodi? How is it going??

If you’re already fabulously organized, perhaps you have a super-secret blogging alter-ego too! Do you?!? I would love to hear if so! 🙂


  • Kate January 14, 2012 at 12:08 am

    My school has a binding machine that no one seems to know how to use! I need to take it upon myself to figure it out! Thanks for sharing, as always! So inspiring. Time for me to organize my room 🙂
    To The Square Inch

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Thanks Kate! I almost mentioned how it's taken me YEARS to master the art of the binder, but I thought everyone would think I was crazy! This makes me feel better!

    • Kate January 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      I actually don't think anyone in my school even knows how to use it 🙂 This will be my undertaking for the next couple of weeks haha
      To The Square Inch

    • Mrs. Joiner January 18, 2012 at 1:36 am

      Kate and Kristen, I just used our binding machine for the first day today! It is a complete life/space-saver! It is a little tedious threading the prongs into the little holes, but well worth the few minutes it took.

    • Kristen January 18, 2012 at 1:56 am

      Mrs. Joiner, I just did some more today too! It is a bit of a pain with those holes, but I got rid of a few more binders today…YAY!

    • JennRose February 3, 2012 at 2:04 am

      When I took ours out to use it last year, not a single person in the school knew how to use it, so I actually found a youtube video that we watched and figured it out! We joked about having a PD session on using the binding machine! lol

      Back Hall Collaborators

  • Reagan Tunstall January 14, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I love your super secret alter ego!!!!

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 12:29 am

      🙂 Thanks Reagan 🙂

  • Ms. Smith January 14, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Ahh love the idea of binding stuff instead of sticking it in binders! Great idea. Now I just need to figure out how to use my school's binding machine. =)

    Ms. Smith
    The Adventures of Ms. Smith

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 12:30 am

      I was just telling Kate above that I have had the hardest time with the binder–I'm finally ok with using it!!! Thanks for stopping by Ms. Smith 🙂

  • Courtney Bartlett January 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Great idea Kristen! I've been trying to declutter and got a little bit done since we had a 1 hour delay today. I would have loved a two hour delay!!! The school binder is definitely mysterious. It is intimidating at first but I use it all the time now. Thanks for sharing!

    Swimming into Second

  • Jamie January 14, 2012 at 12:51 am

    I DID have a super secret alter-ego, but was FOUND. Thanks a LOT Pinterest! :o)

    I am a binder junky. They make me all warm and fuzzy inside. The only problem I would have with the ring binding is that you can't label them and in my little happy place labels make me smile.

    Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Oh Jamie, it would be Pinterest that would do it, wouldn't it?! I'm off to check out your blog 🙂

  • Hadar January 14, 2012 at 1:03 am

    What a great and motivating post! And I'm totally secretive when taking pictures! haha! I have windows all over my new classroom so I always look around and make sure no one's watching. Not that they'd care, but still! And I've found myself telling my kids "work your hardest so I can take your picture" even though I don't actually get them in the picture. haha!

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Thanks Hadar! I just had a really funny visual of you looking at the windows! Glad I'm not alone 🙂

  • ~Stephanie January 14, 2012 at 1:06 am

    SO much better with the book binding! What a great idea…I never would have thought of that in a million years. Way to declutter!

    Teaching in Room 6

  • ~Stephanie January 14, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I just re-read and saw about your "super secret". Only a few of my coworkers know about my blogging…though if I keep posting videos, the cat is surely to be let out of the bag soon 😉 PT is my super secret. I NEVER tell anyone about that! 😉 hee hee

    Teaching in Room 6

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 1:17 am

      lol Steph!! PT is my other super secret too!! I will tell NO ONE!
      Kristen 🙂
      PS Your videos rock and are so worth it–even if they reveal your identity!

  • Lisa at Stories From Second January 14, 2012 at 1:16 am

    I checked out a key this weekend to do some decluttering. 🙂 Nobody at my school knows I blog either. My grade level colleagues don't even know how to insert clip art electronically. I think my secret is safe. 🙂
    Great job on the decluttering today!
    Stories From Second

  • Erica Bohrer January 14, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Thanks for the post. I am forwarding this to my mother, who is a teacher stuff hoarder!
    I love to give away my old teacher resource books. I once sold some old teacher resource books at my grandmother's garage sale. An aide at my school saw that I was selling books and started a rumor that I was changing grades! The rumor did not get far, since her logic was faulty.
    As far as an alter ego goes, I find no one cares! I share a lot of my products and my posts with teachers in my district. A few teachers are appreciative, but as a whole no one in my district gives a rat's behind. I also think my students don't care because they are only six and not into the internet.

  • bnwalton January 14, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Love this idea! I also love that most of us (including myself) have binding machines at our school and don't know how to use it!

    I also do not take pictures unless I'm sure no one is watching. I do feel rather strange! Also, no one knows I blog but it would be real easy to figure out thanks to my header. How funny…I assumed everyone was out in the open about their blogging with their coworkers…so glad I'm not alone!

    Living A Wonderful Life

    P.S. I totally think you should link up with Jodi if you haven't already! I saw your comment on her blog 🙂

  • Kristin January 14, 2012 at 3:09 am

    I use the book binder thing often but not for stuff in binders – this is SO smart. Can't wait to use it!
    And yes, I feel funny taking pictures of random things. 🙂
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  • Ms.M January 14, 2012 at 3:47 am

    This is bloody brilliant! I always think I want pockets in case I want to add items, but I could also bind a folder to it. Thanks for the idea!

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  • Ms.M January 14, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Oh and I too think other teachers at my schools think I am crazy for walking around the school snapping pictures on my iPhone. 😛 They have no clue what I am doing.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  • SunnyDays January 14, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Adopt-a-Salmon, huh? That looks interesting…lol!
    I did a big decluttering before my move to this new room at the beginning of the year, but it's already piling up again!
    Sunny Days In Second Grade

  • Erika January 14, 2012 at 5:32 am

    A co-worker came in and saw me taking the pictures for my blog post today and thought I was nuts! I've been going through my professional resources all year and it feels good to purge.

    2B Honey Bunch
    The Best Endings

  • Erika January 14, 2012 at 5:33 am

    BTW, how many of those plastic drawers do you have and what kinds of things do you keep in them? Do you use those instead of a filing cabinet?

    2B Honey Bunch
    The Best Endings

    • Kristen January 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Hey Erika! Ya, I got them to replace my filing cabinet a few years back. I like how they can stack and together they make a nice countertop space for supplies. The drawers are great 'cause they can hold worksheets and any books for a particular unit. I usually take a whole drawer to the copier with me, so I can go through it and grab what I want while I wait in line. I think I have about 30 of them…I'd have to count to be sure. I got them on a wicked good sale online at Joann's years back. I really do love them!

  • Natalie Kay January 14, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I do NOT believe that your teachers don't know about your blog! I mean I do believe it, but it's hard to believe it, ya know! They really have NO idea that they are teaching with a teacher blog genius?!?! Wow… won't they be surprised if they ever figure it out!

  • Dual Kinder Teacher January 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

    OMG Kristen! I just about died when a colleague said "I found your blog this weekend," But here's the weird thing, I blog for my parents, so they know, but to be outed to my colleagues freaked me out :/
    Dual Kinder Teacher

  • Malarie January 14, 2012 at 6:15 am

    I spent four hours after school today cleaning and getting rid of clutter. I am almost finished. I also can NOT believe your colleagues don't know about your blogging! I am constantly talking about blogging with my school friends!

  • Rorey Risdon January 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

    The idea of binding your resources into little books is fabulous. I am not sure if I even open my plethora of binders more than once a year, and I am sure a book will be much easier to manage! Thanks!

  • Erin Eberhart January 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    This has completely inspired me! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Eberhart’s Explorers

  • Edana January 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I did this over the summer & yes, I know how hard it is to "let go". I've been teaching for 10 years and I had tons of stuff from my student teaching experience that just had to go. It was hard, but my class is small & I just didn't have the space 🙁

    Color Me Kinder

  • A Teacher's Treasure January 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    You're a genius!!!!! After my decluttering on Friday I didn't know where to start with all of that paperwork that I piled up! I have a book binding machine in class and now I can just bind it together!!!
    THANKS!!! You are always so inspiring!!!

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

  • Kristen January 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks guys!! It has been a very rewarding process for sure! 🙂

  • rebecca sutton January 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Wow!! It is so hard for me to give up "stuff"!! I need to tackle this problem!! Thanks for sharing! Looks great!
    Teaching First

  • Anonymous April 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    This is amazing! Do you have your lesson plan template?

  • Sarah May 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Love this! I am in Kindergarten now and will be moving to either grade 1 or 2 next year and this will help with organization! I would need to label them so that they would sit nicely on my bookshelf – a silver Sharpie would solve that problem!

  • Anonymous October 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I spent the summer clearing out my classroom, too! My room is kind of small and I wanted a calm, clean feel to it. I think I must have been successful because several people (including former students) have commented on how calm it feels.

    I also have a super secret blog – where I posted pictures of my calm, clean classroom.

    I love your blog – great ideas!

  • Nicole W. March 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Its been awhile since you wrote this post I am wondering if you STILL prefer the binded pages? I like having things in binders so I can run them through the copy machine.

    • Kristen March 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Nicole! I do like them bound. Most of them are more resource-type materials and not things I have to copy, but I don't mind putting the bound book on the copier (though I know what you mean about binders!). I'm actually working to go more digital as the months go by this year and slowly parting with a lot of books I haven't really touched in years.

      Thanks for reading my blog 🙂 🙂

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