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Classroom Cleaning Checklist: Tips and Tricks

Classroom Cleaning Checklist with Tips and Tricks

If you’re dragging by the end of the year, you are not alone! Between report cards and fun days, classroom cleaning might be the last thing on your mind. While it may be tempting to throw everything in the closets and run home for a much deserved nap, you’ll want to check out these ideas first. I’m sharing my teacher-tested classroom cleaning tips and tricks. ✨ Plus, you can get my free checklists to keep you organized and ready for back to school! ✨

Let’s get started ⤵️

Classroom Cleaning Supplies

After spending a decade packing up classrooms, I discovered some surprising supplies that make classroom clean up and organization a breeze! With a quick trip to any dollar store, you should be able to find everything you need.  To begin with, add these supplies to your shopping list:

  • plastic containers
  • dusting wands
  • shower curtain liner
  • pillowcases
  • shower caps
  • coupon organizer
  • washi tape
  • sticky notes
  • plastic wrap

At my former school, our classrooms were closed ALL summer, which meant we could not step foot into our rooms until mid-August. In an effort to make back to school as easy as possible, I learned some helpful tips and tricks. Let me walk you through how I tackled each classroom area and left for summer break feeling relaxed and confident. 

BONUS POINTS: Let your students help! Watch out for the green check mark in this post to discover kid friendly activities. 

✅ Classroom Cleaning: Library Area

While it may be true that packing your classroom library can feel intimidating, I’m ready to help. Take a deep breath and keep reading. Here are some tips to get your shelves ready for back to school season now.

  • After removing books, clean your shelves and inside your book bins. I recommend using a dry dusting wand so there isn’t any unwanted moisture left behind. 
  • Repair any books that need some TLC with tape or a long arm stapler. 
  • To protect books over summer break, slide your book bins into pillowcases from the dollar store.  Depending on the size of your containers, you may be able to fit two or three smaller bins in each one. 
  • Plastic tablecloths or shower curtain liners are perfect for covering book carts or open shelving. 

Believe it or not…this is the BEST time to organize your library! You already have a room full of assistants who would love to help you with this project. Print any new library labels or stickers you may need and let the sorting begin!

These Classroom Library Labels with Matching Stickers are my favorite! There are over 150 ready to print labels with real photos and easy to read fonts. This means that everyone, including emergent readers, can keep the library organized ALL year! #teachergoals 

Invite your little librarians to help with this classroom cleaning project. Give them each a bin of books and a set of stickers. They can carefully place the stickers on each book and set them back in the bins. Watch them beam with confidence as they help you organize the classroom. 

✅ Classroom Cleaning: Student Supplies

It’s time to tackle student supplies! Get started by tossing anything that’s broken or dried out. I gave my students bins of markers and asked them to test them on scrap paper. Anything that was dried out went straight into the trash can. Repeat this process with dry erase markers and glue. Kids can also sharpen pencils and sort or organize crayons. Classroom cleaning is much easier with extra helping hands!

Once you’ve sorted out the good from the bad, you want to protect your supplies! You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your classroom. Keeping everything safe over the summer is important! Check out these clever solutions:

  • For smaller bins, shower caps make the perfect topper. They prevent spills and keep out dust. You can find packs of six shower caps at your local dollar store! 
  • Larger bins and open storage can be covered with a shower curtain liner. This protection keeps out dust and water.
  • Plastic drawers can be secured with washi tape. It keeps everything closed without leaving a sticky residue behind. 
  • Organizers with lots of little drawers, like a teacher tool box, can be protected with Press N Seal. Just wrap that baby up like a platter of leftovers. Your smaller supplies will be safe and secure all summer. 

Classroom Cleaning: Closets

When it comes to classroom cleaning, it’s easy to throw everything in the closet and pray the doors stay shut.  Before you begin tossing things inside, take a moment and imagine the relief you will feel when you open the doors and see clean organized shelves for back to school season. I promise it’s time worth spending!

Ready to get started? Just like student supplies, you want to purge. Find something broken or missing pieces? Toss it. Find something you haven’t used all year?  Donate it.

Now it’s time to organize the good stuff. I am a BIG believer in using bins and labels to keep everything organized. Any bin will work, but these clear $1 bins are my favorites. Remember to add labels for organization that lasts all year!

Classroom Cleaning: Organize with Labels

My favorite Classroom Labels have real pictures and kid friendly fonts. I use them inside my closets and around the classroom. With over 250 ready to print categories, I can keep EVERYTHING organized, including classroom materials, art supplies, math manipulatives, center activities, and more!  Of course, you can also make your own custom labels for special classroom supplies. 

These labels double as environmental print so student can use them throughout the year to support their literacy development. 

Classroom Cleaning: Bulletin Boards

Are you required to take everything off your walls before summer break? If you do, my hearts goes out to you! I’ve been there too! Whether you’re clearing everything or just looking to stay organized, these classroom cleaning tips for bulletin boards will save you lots of time. 

Here are some ways to organize your displays:

  • Snap a few photos before you take anything down. It’s amazing how much you can forget after a couple months. When you come back, open your camera roll for an instant reminder.
  • Put ALL the pieces for one bulletin board together. Depending on the size of the pieces store them in gallon storage bags, accordion files, or scrapbook storage book. Label the container with a sticky note. 
  • If you’ve got BIG pieces, make yourself a BIG folder. Tear off a big sheet of bulletin board paper and fold it in half. Staple along the sides but leave the top open to slide things in and out. Write the category or theme on the top. You can see my “Autumn” folder with big back to school displays inside. 
  • Don’t waste another minute searching for bulletin board letters. Store all of your letters in a coupon organizer or plastic file pouch. ✅ This is another great way for kids to help! 

Bulletin Board Prep

If your classroom cleaning list doesn’t involve removing everything from the walls, you’re in luck! You have an opportunity to reward  your future self. The end of the year is a good time to get new bulletin boards ready. 

I hung this Sound Wall bulletin board during the last month of school. You can imagine the thrill of unveiling it in August and knowing your work is already done! If you don’t have time time or energy to hang something now, print your new pieces and prep them over the break. 

Classroom Cleaning Checklist

Here’s one thing I’ve learned about classroom cleaning. If I don’t write it down, I will absolutely 100% forget! In light of my forgetfulness, I started making detailed reminders so that even if my brain turns to mush, I can still whip my classroom back into shape.

To prevent complete memory loss, I created some helpful lists. This gives me one place to jot down anything I might need to finish or get ready for next year. 

PRO TIP: Print your Classroom Cleaning Checklists on brightly colored paper so they don’t get lost during classroom cleaning and packing! 

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    The finish line is in sight my friend! As you wrap up the year, remember to try these tips and tricks for classroom cleaning. Your students will enjoy helping, and they will be proud to get things ready for the next lucky group of kids who get to call you teacher! 

    If you’re already thinking about next year, check out these popular posts for setting up your classroom!

    Setting Up Your Classroom

    Flexible Seating Classroom

    Emily Yerty

    Emily Yerty

    I’m a teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

    26 Responses

      1. Thanks Romo! Can you believe I am still finding student teaching plans? Of course, there are some things I kept holding on to! Thanks for your feedback!


      1. Thanks for your sweet feedback Anisa. The font on the lists is "CC Jungle Queen" from Cara Carroll on TPT. I hope they help you stay organized 🙂


    1. Fantastic!!! I love being organized and function SO much better when I am. I just have to mak the time to actually DO all this. My files are what make me crazy!!

      1. Staying organized can be such a challenge! My files are a bit crazy too, especially by the end of the year! I am going to try a new system for my files soon! Right now I have lots of file folders for students and binder for curriculum. Thanks for your feedback 🙂


    2. I am so glad you found the ideas helpful La'Keisha! It's always refreshing to try something new. Best wishes as you move to a new grade! 🙂


    3. I love your organization! I especially love your library organization with the cute labels! Do you know where your library shelf unit came from? That would fit perfectly in my classroom 🙂


      1. Hi Danielle!

        Thank you so much! My big bookshelf came from IKEA. I got it my first year teaching so it has lasted almost an antire decade! I have smaller similar shelving units from Target that have the same size shelves. I use them for my students individual book bins. I hope you can find something for your classroom that you like! 🙂


    4. I just finished my first year of teaching middle school math, or should I say, I survived my first year. Now that I am accumulating things like calculators, small blocks for counting, rulers, and pencils I can see that I need to find a way to organize all these supplies. I especially appreciate the labeling aspect; maybe my 8th graders will be able to read the labels and put the calculators back where they belong at the end of class!

      Bo Tolbert @ HJS Supply Company

      1. Congrats on finishing your first year! The first year is sooo much work, but my first class will always have such a special place in my heart! I am glad to hear that in middle school kids still can't put everything away– How funny! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog 🙂

    5. I purchased your classroom labels. What’s the best way to print and put on bins? Did you tape them or print them on label paper? What size? Thanks so much!

      1. Hi! I used clear adhesive pockets for the smaller labels so I can switch them if needed. For the larger tubs of books, I just used tape on then back of the label to attach them. Thanks so much!

    6. Fabulous ideas!!! Can’t wait to implement these!! How do you store all your files/materials used for lessons?

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