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Decluttering Our Spaces

This month, I invited teacher coach Tammy Musiowsky-Borneman to share ways educators can declutter our spaces. Check out her thoughts and recommendations below.

What are the most common challenges you see educators experience when it comes to organizing spaces?

There are a couple of common challenges. The first is managing all the incoming stuff that gets thrown into all the spaces in which teachers need to spend their time. In addition to that is the maintenance of any kind of sustainable organization system to keep track of all those things. Teachers are managing classrooms, home teaching spaces, virtual classrooms, Google Drives, paper materials, and resources. The shifting between home and school is a lot to maneuver and is really hard to be consistent with over time because of this movement. An organized space ends up becoming the thing that gets left undone because it doesn’t seem like a priority.

How do cluttered spaces affect our workflow and productivity?

Cluttered spaces, both physical and digital, can cause us to freeze or feel mentally drained simply by knowing how cluttered the space is. We can feel the weight of those things and that can cause unnecessary stress. Some people claim to operate just fine in clutter, but I question if it’s really a sustainable choice! Trying to find things in piles takes precious time and energy so having some kind of system to manage things helps to minimize disruption in workflow.

Can you share 2-3 quick tips to help educators do a little spring cleaning of their professional space without feeling overwhelmed?

  1. Identify one or two things that cause you to feel stress, assess its value (or lack of), and remove it from the space.

  2. For your digital file clean up, look at the folders you have set up and determine if you can combine any of them. Rename and color code them. You can sort through them later. The first step is to streamline.

Where can educators find you? Do you have any resources or upcoming learning opportunities you would like to highlight?

The links to all my online spaces and resources are on my Linktree. There you can subscribe to my weekly email resources and blog update, find a free toolkit to help manage your to-do list, and my guidebook "From Cluttered to Calm: A 6-Step Process for Organizing Your Teaching Spaces."

This month, I’ll be facilitating a couple of webinars for Arizona ASCD on redesigning learning experiences and inquiry-based learning, and in May I’ll be facilitating a few workshops on third grade strategies with the Bureau of Education and Research.


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