A lot of changes are happening behind the scenes here at The Yellow Brick Road, including a new job for my husband and an upcoming move (more on that in another post). Consequently, moving and packing have been on my mind a lot lately, and I’ve been thinking about how that applies to music teachers. So, I created a list of ideas and free resources that I think will help any music teacher in the same situation as me, whether you’re moving to a new room or simply packing everything away for the summer. Hopefully I’ll take some of my own advice when the time comes! Okay, let’s get started…
#1. Boxes Need Lids
Whether you use cardboard boxes or plastic totes, it’s worth the price to get them with lids. I don’t know about your classroom, but mine never went a day without accumulating dust. If I left any item sit out uncovered for more than a week, it was swarming with dust bunnies, and not the cute kind. However, if you keep lids on your storage items, you’ll only have to deal with the dirt on the lid, rather than dirt that has stuck to the crevices of an instrument or classroom resource. In addition, boxes with lids have more stacking power. Have you ever tried to stack mis-matched plastic crates without lids? It’s not fun.
- Ask your custodians to save the boxes the copy paper comes in. Not only do they have lids and are sturdy, but they’re free!
- Check out your local dollar store and stock up on plastic tubs with lids. Get the sturdiest ones you can find. Bonus points awarded to those who find the tubs with wheels and a handle, those are amazing for transport.
- Visit local garage sales to find the ultimate storage device bargains.
- Ask friends, family, and colleagues. Their trash could be your treasure!
#2. Pack with Detail
It’s the end of the year, and if you’re anything like me, you just want to stuff everything into one box and not look at it again until August. However, we all know how that turns out in the long run. It’s worth it to take the extra time now to label all your stuff (using Sharpies and/or a label maker) and make sure it’s packed away in an organized manner. That way, when you return in the fall, you won’t feel stressed trying to remember which box contains your prized teacher-use-only pens. Plus, it’s nice to have a day where you can crank up the tunes in your empty classroom, work at your own speed, and take a restroom break whenever you want it.
I created editable and printable inventory lists for you to use you pack everything up for summer. I created them using one of the editable templates from my Music Teacher Planner and Binder Set. The lists can be edited and then printed out, or if you prefer, you can print them out and write on them by hand. You can download my free inventory lists >>HERE<<.
As a sidenote, I used Kimbery Geswein’s Be Still and Know font in the editable table, which you can download for free, personal use >HERE<.
#3. Toss it
My husband would tell you that I’m the opposite of a pack rat. I toss things like there’s no tomorrow. And while that may seem irrational and heartless to some, I never regret it. If I haven’t used an item for a year, and I don’t have a specific plan for it in the near future, it either gets donated or placed in the trash/recycle. Think of it this way, you don’t want to have weeks worth of stuff to sort through when you retire (whenever that may be). And it’s not likely that the stuff that you’ll “get to next year” will actually be gotten to…ever. So, again, crank up those tunes and enjoy working at your own speed. Your future self will thank you!
The image below is a guide I created for you to use while contemplating whether or not to toss specific items in your classroom. While it is a bit tongue-in-cheek, I do think it will be useful for those items that continue to creep back into your cupboards year after year. The only exception to this rule is the obvious staples, such as musicals, which you might rotate through every 5 years or so.
This image is also included with the free inventory lists, which you can download >>HERE<<.
I hope these ideas and resources make your packing and unpacking a more enjoyable process this summer and beyond!