Professional Organizing?! Yes, it is a career and one I found myself drawn to seven years ago. I'm Heather Ryan and while professional organizers focus on any number of areas, my specialty is homes, specifically family spaces. When you combine my belief in the benefits of organization with my passion for virtual schooling, you have organizing advice for active virtual schooling families.
In honor of ‘GO Month’ (that’s Get Organized Month for those in the Professional Organizing Industry), I’ll be looking at organization through the eyes of the Learning Coach. Some of these tips might just keep you sane in the coming months and keep your students on track to a great second semester in your virtual school! We’ll start with a look at how to freshen up and declutter your school area.
Tip: No matter their age, this is a great project to do with your students. Involving them in an organizing project teaches them valuable skills, allows them to be part of the process and will help ensure your school area stays organized for months to come!
How to organize and freshen up your school area in 8 simple steps
- Take a quick inventory of what’s in your school area—a computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse, books, notebooks, files, writing instruments, calculator, calendar, a picture of the family dog, etc.
- Remove all items from the desk and group them into categories.
- Equipment: computer, printer, phone, etc.
- Office supplies: pencils/pens, paper clips, tape, post-it notes, stapler, etc.
- Books: textbooks, reading books, notebooks, etc.
- Filing materials: manila file folders, hanging file folders, tabs, etc.
- Reference materials: computer manuals, dictionaries, etc.
- Quick reference items: teacher phone list, your weekly schedule, etc.
- Personal Items: framed pictures, awards, etc.
- Purge the items you don’t need.
- Discard all trash
- Recycle unnecessary papers
- Return last year’s books to your school
- Donate duplicate items – I promise, you really don’t need three staplers
- Clean up
Take advantage of the empty desk and school space to wipe it down and get an early start on spring cleaning!
- Keep things handy
Now that you are only working with your “keep” items, start to replace them in your school area keeping in mind that anything you use regularly should be close at hand. Less frequently used items, such as replacement toner cartridges should be stored out of the way in a supply closet or drawer.
- Organize supplies
Use organizing supplies, such as pencil holders, drawer organizers, and file holders to keep appropriate items contained and clutter-free. (Many organizing and office supply stores have sales on these items in association with GO Month—take advantage!)
- Make it easy to find subject related materials
Rather than stacking books on your desk and losing valuable surface space, place books on a nearby bookshelf. Students should keep all items related to one subject, textbook, workbook and notebook together so that he or she can easily grab all materials when it’s time to study that subject. (This tip applies to you too, Learning Coach!)
- Digitize awards
Take a long hard look at those personal items. Are they taking up a lot of space or potentially distracting your student? I often find that the number of items can be cut in half. If your student is really partial to all those trophies, try something creative, like taking a picture of each one and using them as a rotating screen saver on the computer. That way the memory of all those great accomplishments is right there, but the clutter isn’t.
Enjoy your new clutter-free school area and watch your student thrive!