Teachers score points when they're able to liven up their classroom spaces. Plus, a room's lived-in look makes students more comfortable. But when late summer rolls around, your room seems so bare! It feels like starting over from scratch every new school year. With lesson plans due, materials to review, unpacking underway, and schedules and duties looming, who has extra time to decorate?

Actually, you don't have to put it off, and you don't have to wait for inspiration. Following are real ideas from experienced teachers to help you take down decorations and store them smarter:
  • "Get student help on the back end. A little reward should yield enough volunteers to make the year-end tear down process go easier, and it will help you resist the urge to purge!"
  • "Frame your posters or attach them cardboard stiffeners. They'll travel so much better when you have to move and store them."
  • "Replace those old brown boxes, oversized totes, and garbage bags -- with clear plastic tubs! They can be stacked; you can label them; and they look better!
  • " 'This Year's Upcoming Birthdays' is an easy way to get the decoration ball rolling. Students will love knowing you care about their birthdays, and wrapping paper and ribbons can be recycled from actual birthday parties."
  • "If you use items together, keep them together. If you tend to use borders and letters at the same time, store them in the same place."
  • "Keep a running list of supplies; it helps to be able to scan your inventory. It's also handy for jotting ideas and quotes for later use."