I absolutely loved setting up my classroom! I know I may be in the minority on this, but I was the one calling the office every day to check if the rooms are done, then going in any free moment to organize every millimeter. By October, it’s all a mess but I enjoy making a beautiful, organized space even if it’s fleeting.
Whether you’re like me OR you prefer spending as little time as possible prepping your room before school starts, OR you’re moving into a new classroom, here are some tips to help you set up your classroom stress-free!
Step One: Plan Out Spaces
When you first walk into your new room, it can be overwhelming with everything that needs to be done and you may not know where to even start. I highly recommend planning out how you will use the space first and moving furniture accordingly.
Start with your desk and your meeting area. Both of these spaces will be based around technology. If you plan to use your smart board for whole group lessons that’s where you’ll want to have your meeting area. Your desk will also be confined to where you’ll be able to plug in your computer and classroom phone.
The next area you will want to plan is where you will be meeting students for small groups. If possible I would recommend meeting with your students away from doors and high-traffic areas to reduce distractions. Also, consider storage for small group materials.
Last but not least is the classroom library. If students will be reading in the space during rotations or centers you may want to have a small rug or some seating options. Also, consider if you’ll want to have your books in bins or directly on the shelves. I have a separate blog post dedicated to setting up your classroom library.
Step Two: Declutter
Once you have the space set up, the next step will be to go through what’s currently in the room. I would recommend doing this before you buy anything for your classroom because you may be surprised at what you find!
Toss anything that is obviously outdated (transparency documents, vhs tapes (true story), as well as anything you’ve had for years and haven’t used (I’m looking at you, bags of colored pasta and sand).
Check and see if you have a space to place extra materials that can be used by the other teachers. Of course, if you’re not sure if you can toss something, just ask!
Step Three: Organize
The next step in your classroom setup is to organize what you have. I recommend placing a box (or boxes) in each space. Place any items that will go in that space in the boxes. This will help you see if you’ll have enough room in that area or if you will need extra storage space.
This is also a great time to make a list of supplies that you will need to get. For my favorites, check this post on must-have school supplies.
You may have to get creative with smaller spaces. Consider using crate seats for extra storage! You can also hide messy areas with curtains or tablecloths. I have a blog post with over 25 organizational tips for more space-saving ideas!
Step Four: Decorate
The last step is arguably the most fun and it may be tempting to skip right to it, but doing this last will save you time redoing things! Take it from someone who has very little patience for waiting and rushes to hang up decorations right away. 😂
Start with your bulletin boards as you’ll want to place student work on these or use them to post a welcoming message for your students. Plus, I always feel like I accomplished a ton when my boards are up!
Of course, you can cover the boards using paper or fabric, but if they are in good shape and you’re short on time, you can absolutely leave them bare and just add a cute border. If you have a large bulletin board, you can use the border strips to break up the space into smaller sections!
At this stage, you may want to consider if you want to follow a certain color scheme or even a theme for your room. You can also just keep it simple, it’s completely up to personal preference.
If you do decide on a color scheme or theme, remember you do NOT have to have everything ready at the beginning of the year. You can slowly add to it over time. If you are like me and love to run with a theme, I do have a couple of options in my TPT store:
You can’t go wrong using bright rainbow colors as it so easy to mix and match with other decor. This Bright Decor Bundle will have everything you’ll need for your classroom and more!
If you would like to use a theme in your classroom, I have two options for you! The first is this amazing Ocean-themed bundle. This was my favorite to use! Again, it will have everything thing that you will need and more. Many of the pieces are editable so you can tailor them to your needs.
Last, but not least, there is also a Farm-themed Bundle. This is the theme that I used in my classroom my first few years. This bundle just recently got a huge update!
- If possible, visit other teacher’s classrooms to see how theirs are laid out. In some buildings, the classrooms are built to be almost identical.
- Have a place for everything to avoid clutter. This will prevent an avalanche of collected things on countertops!
- In that same vein, keep a bin for things you won’t have time to put away at the moment. When you have a few minutes, clear out the bin.
- Remember to focus on essentials first. There will be time to decorate as you go.
I hope this helps make your classroom setup easier this year. The main thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Your classroom will evolve as the year progresses and your students add their own touch to the room. You may also need to change the layout of the room to better fit your students’ needs. If you have any questions or tips for setting up your classroom please leave them below!
And make sure to save this post on packing up your classroom at the end of the year so you have an easy classroom set-up next year!