It’s finally here…
The end of the school year!
The end of the school year is an exciting time, but it is also one of the busiest times for teachers. Think about it…
There’s so much to do. You need to pack up your classroom and plan for the summer. One important task that often gets overlooked or procrastinated is cleaning your classroom.
We all know that a clean classroom creates a positive environment that students are more likely to succeed in. You will feel better and more prepared if you take the time at the end of the school year to clean in preparation for the beginning of the school year.
So, let’s dive into 15 things you should be doing to clean your classroom at the end of the year.
>>> Want a FREE checklist for your science classroom clean out?
I’ve made a checklist so you can easily keep track of everything you’ve done! There is an editable Google Slides version included.
1 – Sort all supplies
At the end of the year, it is so important that you sort all of your supplies. While you may do the same activities every year, you never know what you will be left with at the end of the year.
If you start by sorting your supplies, then it will be easier to determine what you have and what you will need.
2 – Inventory supplies
Once all of your supplies are sorted, you need to inventory them. This is the easiest way to quickly determine what you need and don’t need each year.
My advice would be to create a Google Sheet that automatically calculates how much you have left of your different supplies. As you complete activities, you can update the inventory sheet. Then, it’ll be ready for ordering at the end of the year!
3 – Organize supplies
After supplies are sorted and inventoried, you need to organize them. If you organize your supplies at the end of the year, the beginning of the year will run much more smoothly for you.
You will thank yourself when you can find exactly what you’re looking for during the next school year.
Looking for more tips on organizing your classroom? Check out my post on 10 ways to organize your science classroom!
4 – Label supplies
Now that your supplies are sorted, inventoried, and organized into categories, label them!
Label the boxes, label the shelves, and label the cabinets. Label everything!
No matter how organized you are, you need labels to remember where everything is. A science classroom is home to a variety of supplies, and it would be impossible to remember where everything is.
5 – Dispose of chemicals
It’s time to be honest.
When was the last time you cleaned out your chemical closet?
… I’m waiting.
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s time. I bet you have chemicals in there from the early 2000s. We all do. This is something that always gets pushed to the side.
So, here I am telling you to go through your chemicals and dispose of the ones you don’t use or that may have expired. This is a task you will need help with. When you are ready to start, notify your administration so they can contact the appropriate company to come take your chemicals so they are properly disposed of.
Don’t wait until the last minute!
6 – Clean and sanitize lab equipment
As the end of the school year nears, your lab equipment could use a little TLC.
You have used these supplies all year. By this point, they are dirty and grimy.
You know you want to start the new school year off on a clean and organized slate, so you want to make sure your lab equipment matches that energy.
7 – Organize textbooks
Textbooks can be easily forgotten about.
At the end of the year, it is important to ensure students have returned their textbooks and store them in numerical or alphabetical order.
If a student does not return a textbook or it is severely damaged, be sure to document it and take it to administration. From there, they can decide how to handle the situation.
8 – Recycle old papers
How’s that drawer of papers that never got graded?
It’s a safe space here… Feel free to be honest.
We’ve all been there.
One of the things I make sure to do at the end of the year is recycle all of the old papers that I don’t need anymore. I look through every cabinet, drawer, and file folder.
I really dislike paper clutter and, even though it’s bound to happen, want to start the year with a clean slate.
9 – Put all personal stuff away
Over the summer, your room will be cleaned and sanitized by the janitorial staff. You want to make sure that all of your personal items are put away.
I’m talking about pictures, pens, decorations, all of it!
By doing so, you’re making sure that all flat surfaces are empty, which makes it easier for them to clean and sanitize your room. There is nothing better than walking into a fresh and clean classroom at the beginning of the year, so this helps out the janitorial staff.
In addition, while we would love to trust everyone, we all know that our possessions can grow legs and disappear…
10 – Submit your science supply order
At my school, the science department orders the most supplies out of everyone – between chemicals, office supplies, and lab equipment, it’s a huge undertaking!
In order to be prepared for the next school year, you want this order to be placed before you leave.
This way, the different companies have ample time to package everything up and send it to the school. When you walk into your classroom at the beginning of the year, it’ll be like Christmas morning.
11 – Submit any summer work requests
Paint chips on the wall, broken faucets, leaky lab tables….
Yep… things are always breaking or needing repair.
One of the best times for the janitorial staff to fix things in your classroom is the summer. This is because no one is in the classroom and they can do it at any time of the day.
So, make sure you enter all of those work requests that you need done.
Trust me when I say that you will love walking into your classroom where everything is fixed and looking splendid.
12 – Take down and store bulletin boards
We all have bulletin boards in our rooms, and they always need to be taken down.
Over time, paper can curl up and not look as pretty. Be sure you are storing your bulletin board pieces flat and away from direct sunlight to help reduce fading.
For the bulletin board borders, I store them using a binder clip to hold them all together and hang the binder clip on a hook in my closet. It’s great – they stay flat and take up virtually no storage space.
13 – Wipe down all surfaces
Even though the janitorial staff will wipe down and clean everything over the summer, I always like to wipe down the flat surfaces in my classroom. This is also beneficial to do before the next item on the checklist – cleaning flat surfaces without lab chairs on them is much easier than moving every chair out of the way.
To me, it feels good to leave the classroom looking as pristine as possible, but also makes it easier for the janitorial staff to keep up with all of the classrooms in the summer because they won’t have to spend so much time scrubbing.
This is also a way to inspect all of the surfaces and cabinets to make sure everything is working and looking properly and that no work requests are needed.
If you don’t want to do this, you can even have the students complete this task on their last day as a part of their final assignment.
Let’s be honest. They’re the ones that created the mess.
14 – Put lab chairs on the lab tables
This one is just a common courtesy for the janitorial staff.
They do so much to make sure our classrooms are clean and ready for the next school year. They shouldn’t have to put all of your lab chairs on the tables.
Once again, this is something that the students can do. On the last day, have everyone in your last class grab a chair and put it on the table after it is wiped down.
This task took each person one second, as opposed to the multiple minutes that one custodian would have to spend doing it.
15 – Document your cleaning efforts
Most schools have an end of the year checklist to complete before signing out. You should do the same for your cleaning checklist.
Check off what you complete at the end of the year and what you may not. This will make it much easier to know what needs attention when you return to school.
I’ve made this super simple, by creating an editable classroom cleaning checklist for you!
Psst. It’s ok if you didn’t finish everything at the end of the year. It’s a crazy time!
Cleaning your science classroom has to be done…
It ain’t fun, but getting your classroom spick and span is an important task.
You can ensure that your science classroom is clean and ready for the next school year by following this checklist.
Here are some benefits to closing out your classroom at the end of the year:
- It will help you start the next school year off on the right foot
- It will help you keep your classroom organized and tidy
- It will help you prevent mold growth
- It will help you create a more inviting and productive learning environment for students
Simply put, it will make a big difference!
Some of these tasks can be done with the help of your students in the last days of school. Many hands make light work! And (some) students like to feel productive rather than just watching movies.
Have a wonderful day and an even better summer break,