the storage dilemma; how to declutter your learning space.

Finding a place for everything, with everything in its place, is something we can all identify with. Whether it's at home or at school, storage always seems to be in short supply.

Finding homes for art supplies, robotics, books, pens, shoes, bags - not to mention your own belongings - can be overwhelming and costly. Then there’s the issue of how long you hold on to something before you give it the old 'heave ho'. It’s easy for classroom collateral to take over but, as Maggie, one of our account managers reassures, “there’s always a solution” when it comes to storage.

We’ve sourced some helpful tips to sort your space from some decluttering and space-organising experts. Read on for our top five storage solutions for your classroom and get your things in order.

When it all seems too much, just remember - you set the standard for your students. If your working space is cluttered and untidy, your students will follow suit.

 

Classroom decluttering tips that have a positive impact on teaching and learning:

Students today are digital natives. Large textbooks and reams of paper are becoming less of a requirement.

Go paperless.

 

With platforms like Google, Dropbox and Office 365, you can create and save all documents in the cloud. Students can collaborate and work remotely, giving you access to review their work quickly and effortlessly. You can also share documents and ideas easily with your colleagues, all the while doing your bit for the trees.


Open storage and display provides visibility for students to easily find their classroom resources.

Separate and store.

 

If an item doesn’t directly help learning, or won’t be used by students, store it where student learning doesn’t occur on a daily basis. Learning spaces should reflect the learning and not become a teacher storage facility.


Choose different options for different types of resources. Here library books and classroom readers are stored appropriately.

One thing at a time.

 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when decluttering. Don't try to tackle an entire room or fall into the habit of cleaning “spaces” such as the teacher’s space, the student's supplies space, the cabinet space, the book space. The problem with this method is you start to shuffle things around, from one space to the next. This isn’t decluttering. Instead force yourself to focus on one category at a time – books, art supplies etc.


Categorise your resources. Remember, if they aren't needed in the classroom, store them elsewhere.

No file left behind.

 

Get everything out so you can examine it. Organisational guru and author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying" Marie Kondo advocates making a huge pile of everything you own in order to categorise it. So, if you’re going to sort through student papers, that means all student papers are pulled away from wherever they are hiding, whether on the walls, in file folders, in drawers or on shelves.


When it comes to displaying student artwork on walls, keep it balanced and keep it fresh.

Nostalgia is the enemy of decluttering.

 

Start with the items that you don’t feel any emotional attachment to, or haven't used in the past year and work from there. Begin with discarding and removing unnecessary items from your space. Do not choose what to throw away, choose what to keep - this mentality helps to throw things out. And as for all that student artwork, once it's finished being displayed in the classroom, it's time to send it home. 


When you've selected what remains in the classroom, make sure it's clearly labelled for students to use.

Have a strict selection criteria.

 

When deciding what to discard, remember that the end game isn’t to throw out or donate as much as possible, but to make sure that the things you hold onto have a direct positive impact on student learning. This is where picking up each item and asking yourself "does this enhance learning?" comes in. It may sound like a hazy benchmark but with practice, it becomes an invaluable tool.


Kowloon Junior School have plenty of storage options to keep their space organised.

Everything in its place.

 

After discarding, designating a specific home for every single item you keep is critical to avoid a clutter relapse. According to Kondo, fancy stackable storage solutions encourage hoarding, so simple and easy-to-use options are best. Ideally it should be just as effortless to put something away as it is to locate it later.


Tote trays allow students to own their own personal storage so it is accessible to them at any time.

Student ownership.

 

The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture has noted the importance of people having spaces that they can call their own. Feelings of comfort in their learning space are vital to students and if they feel that they’re all invited to actively take part in the ownership of their classroom, they will be encouraged to keep their environment in order. Are materials neatly organised, hidden out of sight yet accessible and available for students to obtain independently? Is everything clearly labelled for student visibility? If students feel invested in their space, they will feel more inclined to participate in keeping it tidy and organised.


 

Our top five best-selling storage products to help declutter your learning spaces.

 

Constraints around physical space and limited budgets can often dictate the organisation of a classroom. Which is why, when we design our products, we're always looking to make them functional, flexible and multi-purpose. They look good too!

#1 Teachers Hub  

 

Without all that paper holding you back, you can now release yourself from your oversized desk and go mobile in the classroom with the Teachers Hub. With its small footprint, this clever design has storage for laptops and personal belongings. There's added flexibility with two working surface options: standing height or the handy pop-out desk for a comfortable seated workspace. 


#2 Seating Tote Trolley.

 

If you’re looking for a product that can be used as storage, a seat and a room divider then look no further. This clever multi-purpose product can be easily moved around your space to create seated nooks and corridors and the tote trays provide much needed storage.

#3 Tote and Centre Shelving Unit

 

This unit is a fantastic storage solution. Students can name their own individual tote trays while the adjustable centre shelves and unit top, with its extended sides and back, allow plenty of space to house your own boxes and student resources. This handy shelving unit is also mobile.


#4 Step by Step

 

Keep things tidy and display your classroom items with this multi-purpose store-it-all. Accessible from both sides, the Step by Step storage unit comes with six colourful tote trays for storage of smaller items. Meanwhile there's plenty of space to show off your classroom treasures or house students' favourite books. Create spaces within spaces by positioning it as a room divider.

#5 Tote Trolley Range

 

The smart and simple storage solution for your classroom, the Tote Trolley Range is perfect for eradicating clutter and mess. Available in a variety of configurations, use tote trays to colour code your resources - yellow for art, black for robotics. Alternatively, allocate trays to students to keep their stationery and items required for learning.


References: 
 

Konmari de-clutter method – Marie Kondo is an organisational guru who has taken the blogosphere by a storm recently. She is the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and is a firm believer that decluttering your home will have a positive effect on all aspects of your life.

 

The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture - This organisation explores, educates and applies new research on how the environment enhances brain function, form and development through architecture. 

 

 

 


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