Saturday, July 12, 2014

From Edu-Hoarder to Edu-Minimalist in 3 Steps

Let's face it. Most of us teachers are really hoarders in disguise. Sure, we may only hoard school stuff, but still...And it makes sense. Most of us walk in to completely empty classrooms and there are many years with no instructional supply money. The result is that we gladly take anything that just about anyone will give us and hold on tightly to it. After all, we never know when it might come in handy. It is nice to have on hand the things you need to work with students every day, which is why we constantly collect. (Most people would be appalled if they knew how much teachers put into their classrooms from their own budgets).

It wasn't too surprising that I had a very hard time parting with all my accumulated stuff when I left the classroom for my new position as Instructional Partner. Logically, I knew I didn't need all of my stuff, but I had worked for such a long time to get it all that it was a huge step to let it go. Seriously, who really needs seven different sizes of pocket charts? But there we were: my husband, son and myself hauling all of my classroom stuff out and moving it yet again.

So, how did I go from hoarder to minimalist?

  1. I realized that my "stuff" was hindering my work: In my new position, I had no use for most of my old items, and finding places to store them was extremely stressful. I was having a difficult time planning, organizing, and generally getting started on any of it because the task was simply too overwhelming. Getting rid of a lot of it was a major relief!
  2. I took honest stock of every item. The key here was to answer myself truthfully. I sifted through them with two main questions: Will I use this in my work with teachers and students? Will teachers come and borrow this to use in their classrooms? If the answer was no, out it went!
  3. I got rid of it: This one seems like a no-brainer, but actually getting it out of my possession was the final ending. I gave away most everything and sold my massive collection of books (aside from a few personal faves I knew I'd use). 
I feel like now I'll be able to really make a fresh start as instructional partner--a blank slate, so to speak. How about you? Have you done something similar? Which side of the spectrum are you on? 


  1. WOW! This week I have gone through a file cabinet and recycled so much paper. Now, for the closets in my room. I love your questions. I will use them as I pull things out, before I put them back in. Thanks for more motivation.

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

  2. I agree!!! Especially when we are moved grades. I started in K, moved to 1st, and now I'm I'm third. My thoughts were what I am moved back? I could use this with my daughter whrn she gets older.. And then you move schools...finally did what you just did and said...If I didn't use it last year, good bye!!

    Congratulations on your new job :)

    Learning With Mrs. S

  3. I need to do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can't even think straight right now when I walk in my little office at my house. Seriously, I have accumulated so much stuff from K, 5th, and 6th. Now I'm moving to 1st.

    And I JUST told my husband the other night that when I want something I just look it up on the internet. I DON'T rummage through my piles of paper. So this should tell me something. I need to get rid of it!!

    I'm headed to the beach next week, but hopefully I can tackle this the following week and start school with a fresh slate. :)


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