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Classroom Management Organization Tips

Janelle Cox

Over the years, you may have heard of some amazing teacher desk organization tips, and may have even tried a few classroom management options like that yourself. Using classroom management to keep a clutter-free workspace and desk is not an easy feat. For many teachers, their desk becomes a catchall place for everything from homework to students’ valuables. While many try to keep a clutter-free desk, actually maintaining an organized space seems almost laughable. However, you’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish in the classroom when you have an organized workspace. Here are a few classroom management tips to help take control of your space and stay organized.

Classroom Management to De-Clutter Your Workspace

The first step to an amazing teacher desk organization space is to de-clutter it. Start by taking everything out of your desk and placing it on a table or the floor where you can see everything. Next, throw away the things that you no longer need or use and keep only the essential items. Think about how you would like your desktop to function and flow, then place the items that you use daily on the top of your desk. For example, you may use your calendar, lesson plan book, pencil cup, stapler, etc., every single day, so those times should be easily accessible and on the top of your desk.

Keep Essentials Within Arm’s Reach

The next step in your teacher desk organization revamp is to look at your workspace surrounding your desk. Do you have papers on top of your filing cabinet that need to be filed, or textbooks just lying on the floor? Organize your surrounding space so that the things you use the most are within arm’s reach. If you like the students to hand in their homework close to you, then place the homework basket in the table next to your desk so all you have to do is reach over to grade papers. Situate all of your essentials so that they are functional and organized.

Rearrange Your Space

Don’t be afraid to rearrange your desk and surrounding workspace once you have decluttered it. Now that you have gotten rid of all of the unnecessary items and kept all of the essentials, you can rearrange your space for maximum productivity. You may have to move and rearrange your space a few times until you find what works the best for you. The optimal workspace for a teacher is close enough to their students where they can see everything, yet far enough way where they can quietly work with students when they need help.

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When rearranging your space, try and think of zones or areas that you can group things together. For example, if you use your computer a lot, then create a “Computer area” next to or on the side of your desk. If you have a lot of paperwork, then create a “Paperwork area” also next to on one side of your desk. This area can have papers organized in a desktop organizer that has compartments for each topic. Specific zones or areas will help you stay organized.

Maintaining Your Organized Space

Labeling is an easy way to organize your items so they are easier for you to find. It’s also a great way for you to maintain your space. Teachers are busy people, and by labeling everything that you have, it will help you spend less time remembering where things are because they will already be labeled.

Another key to maintaining your organized space is to keep a wastebasket right next to your desk. Only keep the essential papers and throw away everything else. Never set anything on your desk and walk away if you don’t plan on filing it away. This is how a desk gets cluttered in the first place. A key phrase to remember is “When in doubt, throw it out.” If you think you may need it and you’re really not sure, then just take a picture of it.

A well-organized workspace puts you on the pathway to success. By having a clutter-free desk, you’ll be amazed at how much stress will be alieved when you walk through your classroom door each morning. Make a commitment to yourself that each day before you leave the classroom you’ll make sure everything is back in its rightful place.  You’ll be glad that you did.

What is your biggest classroom management challenge to keeping your desk clutter-free? Share with us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear how you maintain an organized workspace.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.