How To Clean Your Classroom at the End of the School Year

Clean classroom at the end of the year? Tidy up your classroom so you can return in the fall to an orderly and calm atmosphere. Included is an end of year classroom clean up list. Clean up your classroom and purge your life of unnecessary clutter.

Looking for how to clean your classroom before summer break?

Finals are over, reports handed out. You promise to meet your coworkers for tea over summer break. You sigh and turn off you classroom light.

Classroom cleaning and disinfecting might not be on your to-do list. In fact, you might not even have a checklist.

Before you leave for break, take some time (probably an hour) and clean your classroom. You can make life easier in a few months by following this list now.

Clean classroom at the end of the year? Tidy up your classroom so you can return in the fall to an orderly and calm atmosphere. Included is an end of year classroom clean up list. Clean up your classroom and purge your life of unnecessary clutter.

Do y’all clean your own classrooms?

Yes, teachers often clean their own classrooms at the end of the school year. It’s a common practice to tidy up, organize, and prepare the classroom for the next academic year. Don’t be surprised if you are told to tidy or given a to-do list.

Ask Questions

Before you completely empty your room, be sure you have permission for your plan. A clean classroom (aside from waxing the floors or dusting shelves) might be expected! If a maintenance crew will deep clean your room, you might need to pack up books and supplies. Ask questions so you know the expectation.

Also, secondary schools might want final exams kept for at least one year. Other schools ask that you keep communications on file. Can you toss all student work? You might want to keep excellent student work as examples for the upcoming years. Sometimes, I use work as classroom decor. (I try to ask students before I do that.)

Finally, before you begin cleaning, ask your mentor or administrator what you must store. Do it now; you won’t remember what and where papers are in two months. Making your cleaning checklists, and hopefully, reuse them for years.

Then. . .

Wipe Out Spaces

At the end of the school year, my concern is not about preventing the spread of illnesses or ending flu season. If I am leaving my room for long periods of time, I don’t want leftover chocolate melting.

A great way to clean before summer break is to start by decluttering your classroom. Remove any unnecessary items, such as old papers, broken supplies, and things you won’t need next term. This will not only make your cleaning process easier but also create a fresh and organized space for when you return.

Next, dust and wipe down all surfaces including desks, chairs, shelves, and windowsills. My cleaning tasks in May are not as serious as my ones in August. Still, with a bit of regular cleaning as I tidy, my return in August is easier.

Finally, as you wipe, throw out clutter. Discard of tools that create more messes (glitter) and broken crayons.

Clean your classroom at the end of the year

Draw a Map

Is your room undergoing a deep cleaning—desks, rugs, bookshelves? If items will be moved, draw a quick map to help those who will move your stuff.

Make multiple copies of the map. Tape one to the desk, put one inside the desk, place one in the filing cabinet, and take another one with you. Take a picture of you mapped learning environment.

Items in a classroom are large. You may not physically be able to move filing cabinets, book shelves, and a teacher’s desk. The map will help everyone get your classroom ready in a few months.

Pack Boxes

Only once did I have to pack up my room, and it was when I got new carpet. If you need to pack boxes, label each one with your last name and room number, and tape it shut.

When I returned, I found all of my supplies! Happy teacher.

A small piece of advice: I have heard of stolen items though, especially if the items are not stored at your school but rather in a garage or rental unit. (Don’t be a sad teacher.)

Finally, I take hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and permanent markers home because they dry out over the summer.

Take Down Wall Decor

Every school I’ve taught at turns the air off for the summer (I assume all do.) I’ve left decor on the walls and returned to curled and yucky posters. Materials that I could have reused were instead ruined. Some of them were on the floor, tape everywhere, walls in need of a pressure washing.

I (try) to start fresh every school year. This encourages me to decorate differently, to implement new ideas. Take posters down, remove the tape, lay them flat if possible.

Freshen Whiteboard/Chalkboard/Writing Tools

With a chalkboard, you might only scoot the chalk dust into the trash can. If your room has a whiteboard, wash off the last lesson so that heat doesn’t make it difficult to erase.

I have both electric and manual pencil sharpeners, and I empty both.

Overall, when considering how to clean your classroom, think about the little efforts that will make your return easier.

Strive for a General Cleanliness

How to clean your classroom… well, the least fun part… you probably need some dust rags or paper towels. (Sorry.) After a bit of packing and sorting, break out the cleaning supplies.

Wipe down general areas, knowing this is not a deep cleaning. Throw away obvious trash so that the maintenance crews can do the deep cleaning. Even if you don’t scrub everything—I don’t—be sure to remove drink containers and gum from cubbies and bookshelves.

Final tips: How to clean your classroom?

My best advice, best tip, is to ask what the maintenance or cleaning services will do over the summer. Will they wash walls? Only wipe touch surfaces? Clean vents? Touch trash cans? At the end of the day, you want to return to a room that is ready for your to cultivate a healthy environment.

One time, I arrived in August to organize and had left my classroom in a hurry. The maintenance crew did not know where items went, I was frustrated, and I wasted time cleaning and organizing. One year, I returned to ants in the garbage. Another year (maybe one of the previous?), a soda had busted on a bookshelf, ruining books.

Cleaning as the school year ends may seem like a drag when you want to sprint out the door for summer break. I get it.

Spend some time now to make the return to your classroom in a few months easier. Learn what areas of your school and classroom the summer team will use, and plan accordingly.

You’ll be happy that you did.

Experienced teachers: what would you say to new teachers? What advice would you give for how to clean your classroom?

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