Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Big Summer Clean-Out

Does anyone else have a drawer that looks like this?

I started my “Summer to Do” list this weekend after attempting to open this drawer. It was so jammed up that I couldn’t find what I was looking for without everything falling out! So #1 on my list is: Clean out junk drawers! My motivation is that I’ll find stuff to contribute to my class prize box, the teacher’s lounge “Free to a Good Home” pile and maybe a few other places along the way. Most importantly, it will be out of my house. Do you need some motivation too?

Here are some ideas Erin and I brainstormed for THE BIG SUMMER CLEAN-OUT!

What to clean: Closets
What to look for: hats, jackets, scarves, umbrellas, mittens, gloves and shoeboxes
What to do with everything: Hats, jackets, scarves, mittens and gloves - Donate to kids at your school, hold a school clothing drive or even try a Staff Scarf Exchange. Encourage members of your staff to bring in a scarf they no longer wear. (Make sure they wash it.) Display all the scarves in your teacher’s lounge where participants can swap their scarf for a new one.

Umbrellas - Keep extra umbrellas in the office for staff members who get caught in those sudden storms at bus duty.

Gloves - Cut off the fingers and let your students make puppets out of each finger.

Shoeboxes - Use for dioramas about books or SOL content. Check out this diorama of a rainforest ecosystem!  

What to clean: Drawers
What to look for: buttons, junk jewelry, key chains, wallets, change purses, pens, notepads and socks.
What to do with everything: Buttons - Make math counters/manipulatives or eyes and noses for craft projects.

Fake jewelry - Use for a dress-up center (if you teach kindergarten or pre-school) or put it in your prize box for the girls.

Key chains - Put in your prize box. Kids love to attach them to their backpacks!

Wallets and change purses - Our students are always bringing lose change and bills for lunch money. Allow them to borrow a wallet or change purse to transport their money safely to the cafeteria.

Pens and notepads - Can be used at your classroom writing center or put them in your teacher workroom or teacher’s lounge for staff to use or take.

Socks - Use for sock puppets in your classroom or see if your art teacher needs them

What to clean: Garage, Basement or Attic (All 3 if you have them!)
What to look for: games, toys, stuffed animals (slightly used, not grungy), picture frames, marbles, flashlights, books and coffee mugs
What to do with everything: Games and toys - perfect for indoor recess. If you don’t need them, give them to a first year teacher in your school!

Stuffed animals - Wash them on the gentle cycle then stock your reading corner or classroom library, donate to your school library, or put them in the class prize box.

Picture frames - Frame student artwork, poems or letters. Set them up around your teaching space to add a polished look to your classroom. Picture frames without glass can also be put in your prize box.

Marbles - Play an old fashioned game of marbles during indoor recess. (Use a hula hoop on the floor, to keep them contained and from rolling under furniture.) Marbles also make colorful fillers for vases that hold flower pens or flowers if you get them.

Flashlights - Save for a campsite escape (see previous post), lights-out reading (turn out the lights and read by flashlight) or put in the prize box.

Books - Put in your classroom library, give to a first year teacher, host a teacher book exchange or have a “Free Book Giveaway” and let each student choose a book or two to take home.

Coffee mugs - Donate to your teacher’s lounge or use at your classroom writing center to hold pens, pencils and crayons.

Ann Marie


  1. Ann Marie and Erin,
    Wow! What an impressive, informative, and good old fun venture! I know you both will be dedicated to this forever(or until retirement), whichever comes first! LOL! I know a pretty good editor...

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed what you read. Please check back in with us as we'll be updating often!

  3. I love this blog! I am using the thank you note idea...and I came up with one for you all to add

  4. I love what you guys are doing! Two great teachers can inspire 20 more. I am one of them. Thanks!