The Big Tidy Up

By Andrea J. Spillett on April 4, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2

Is your classroom caving in on you? Are there piles of work pages that need to be filed? Do you spend time each day after school tidying up your room only to do it again the next day? If you answered yes to all of these questions, WELCOME TO MY WORLD! There is no better feeling in the world than coming back from vacation with your classroom ready for the students and you! Sounds great, right? Here are some suggestions for you to use now to enjoy your spring vacation with a clear CLEAN conscience.





After I clean my classroom I look around and see teacher materials nicely organized, but it still clutters up the room or looks messy in a bookshelf. A solution to this problem is to hide it! Go to a fabric store and buy a couple of yards of fabric and velcro. Cut the fabric to fit the shelf and line the velcro at the top to make it stay. The one I bought is two years old. The one that was in my room before I moved in has been there for many more years and is still going strong. Believe me it was a well-invested purchase!



Some of the best ideas I have ever used with my students have been found in the bottom of a drawer. Take a little time to go through the folders in the dreaded file cabinet or bookshelf. You may find some treasures that you didn’t even know about.



I like to have easy access to my teaching materials. Because of lack of storage space, I used to have to move all my book boxes around in order to put my hands on the box that contained the one book I needed. Does this sound familiar? First, take a good look at the space in your room. See what is not being used and what could be used. I noticed the space under some wooden black benches wasn’t being utilized so I placed my book bins underneath. All of my books are so easy to get to and I no longer have to go through “Oh no, the book I need is in the box at the bottom of the box pile.”


The Big Tidy-Up

Written by Norah Smaridge

Illustrated by Les Gray

I have to conclude this post by sharing with you my most favorite book as a child and it might even inspire you and your students to clean up your classroom! The Big Tidy Up is a humorous, clever, rhyming book about a little girl, Jennifer, who doesn’t care about keeping her room clean. She has an old lollipop stuck to her bathrobe pocket, her new sweater is on the cat, and there is an unknown lump in her bed. Jennifer enjoys her messy freedom for awhile, until one day she can’t even stand to be in her own room and begins her own big tidy up!




For those of you going on your spring break -- have a terrific vacation!




For Christmas one year, I put a 'clean-up day' on my wish list. Many parents pitched in and cleaned my classroom the day before vacation. They weren't able to sort or file for me, but they wiped down all surfaces and tidied up everything. Best. Day. Ever.

I love the idea of putting fabric on bookshelves. I am going out to get more fabric tomorrow after school.

Andrea, you've inspired me to tidy up! Great idea about hiding all of my stuff - my classroom is pretty big, and still it fills up so quickly. I've already amassed so much stuff teaching, it gets overwhelming at times. Your ideas are a big help - thanks!

As we know it is a work in process! Just when I have my room just the way I like it a couple weeks later I look at it and think it needs some tidying up!!!

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