A place for everything and everything in its place.

Cliché – yes. But super important for all the teachers getting ready for the school year to start. With so many young minds to shape, having an organized and welcoming classroom is a great first step, especially when so many other things will be top-of-mind.

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When I was in elementary school my classrooms were bright, colorful and cheerful. Take away the posters, books and decorations and you’d be left with fluorescent lighting, white floors and bare walls and desks (not the most inspirational place to learn).

Looking back I have to give my teachers big props for turning those bare classrooms into something special. As my thanks to them, I present ideas to get the classroom ready for students.

  • First thing I’d do is be sure the desks are set up as you like, whether that’s in groups, pairs, or rows. Pick a spot you’re comfortable with for your desk too – where you can see everything that’s going on, get work done and students can get to you easily. You’ll be spending at least seven hours a day in that room and you should feel good about being there!
  • Decide if you’re going to create a seating plan or let students choose where to sit. If you do make a seating plan, especially for younger classes, place name tags on the desks so students know which one is theirs on the first day. If your classroom has cubbies, label those also.
  • Next be sure everything technological: computers, projectors, TVs is working. Better to find out ahead of time if something needs to be fixed or replaced.
  • Stock up on extra pens, pencils, scissors, glue sticks and paper. It goes without saying at least one student will forget something.
  • Have all your lesson plans for the first week ready to go and photocopy everything you will be handing out. Create a system for yourself to store all that paper, whether it’s in a filing cabinet or with trays on your desk.
  • Now for the fun part: decorate! Posters, banners, cushions, bean bag chairs and age-appropriate books on the bookshelves will all help turn your classroom into a comfortable, warm learning environment.

Since I’m not a teacher, well, a school teacher, I can think of what logically makes sense to do.  That said, I’d love to know what you (a real school teacher) does as your back to school prep plan.  Ideally, we’ll get a nice comment thread going and others can benefit from your good advice.

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Good luck this year, teachers! And thank you for all that you do.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Thank you very much for the informative article. Sorry to write here so late.
    I am a teacher and therefore I understand perfectly what it means to properly organize a classroom that will be comfortable for others. I will definitely follow your advice.

  2. For a great clean smell in my classroom? I let my first graders practice spelling and word families in shaving cream on their desks. After they are finished, they use wet wipes to wipe them clean. It is fun, educational and gets the room smelling great. Now if I could just come up with a shaving cream recipe that is natural.


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