Classroom Organizing Challenge: February, Week 3: Teacher Desk {Daily Reset}

Welcome to the second month of my Classroom Organizing Challenge!

Each month this year, we're going to focus on a specific part of our classroom to get rid of clutter, organize, streamline, and make our classrooms more stress-free!

Below is the list of topics and months, so you can join in and/or catch up anytime.

If you haven't read the Getting Started post, I recommend reading that first for some simple tips, a fun playlist, and a big-picture view of 2019.

You can always catch up on the Classroom Organizing Challenge Page HERE. Here's our yearlong overview:

Getting Started
January: Student Desks
February: Teacher Desk
March: Visible Storage
April: Hidden Storage
May: Technology/Digital
June: Classroom Library
July: Student Life
August: Class Routines
September: Teacher Life
October: Home-School Link
November: Mom Life
December: Maintenance

. . .

Before You Leave: Daily Reset

Besides the larger projects we're undertaking, I want us to be able to establish simple, but effective habits that can ensure my organized teacher area is an ongoing reality every day, each year.

One of the most important habits I want to emphasize is what you do every day in the time after the students leave and before you go home for the day.

There tend to be two moods I fall into: very productive or running away. For me, I am looking to establish a habit that falls in a happy medium between the two.

I want to leave my teacher area neat, tidy, organized, and ready to go for the next day. I don't want to stay in my classroom doing a deep clean, but I also want to walk in the next morning feeling ready to go.

I think of this Daily Reset like Clean Mama's Kitchen Reset each night. Check out her 10-minute daily kitchen clean HERE (and the rest of her site if you haven't had the chance yet!).

Her site encouraged me to have a clean sink each night and I love that ritual. In the morning, when I'm barely awake and bleary-eyed, heading to my coffee machine, seeing a clean and tidy sink is such a better feeling than last night's dishes and cups stacked inside.

I want to extend this feeling to our Teacher Areas each and every day.

Teacher Area Reset

So, how do you reset your Teacher Area each afternoon?

I think the first step is to create a simple checklist. This can be the same (or similar to) the Zone Checklist from Week 1, or you can create something even more simple.

For me, I call it the Daily 5 (since it's so common in our daily vernacular, why not?)

My Daily 5 consists of:

  1. New date & schedule change
  2. Piles sorted and put away
  3. Planner out and ready to go
  4. Copies made and lessons in place for the next day
  5. Random tidying (pens, paper clips, post-its, etc.)

This isn't much and takes less than ten minutes, but to walk into a clean Teacher Area the next morning is priceless. Plus, I remember this feeling on days when I just want to leave as soon as possible and get home into my yoga pants, and it motivates me to get it done!


The first thing I always do is change the date on our front board and switch the schedule on the back board. Read more about the schedule cards I use HERE.


From there, I attack any additional piles and files from the day. If something needs attention tomorrow, I make a sticky note and leave it on the keyboard of my laptop so I'm sure to see it first thing.... because I will never remember otherwise! Read more tips on piles and files HERE.


My wonderful Erin Condren Teacher Planner is next. I check off lessons that were complete, move and adjust lessons that we didn't get to or need reteaching, and make sure all of today's to do's are finished up. If they aren't, I will either get them done quickly or move them over to tomorrow's to do's. Read more about my Teacher Planner HERE.


I try to make most of my copies during my planning time when I have access to the copier, so by now, I have piles of things we'll do tomorrow. I organize them near my projector so they will be ready to go.


Random tidying is something that has the biggest bang for its buck. This is the time when I put away all of my random pens, pencils, Sharpies, markers, and other various writing tools I've been using and leaving on my teacher desk all day long. I put away my binder clips, paperclips and white out, and toss any Post-It notes that I'm finished with. If I still need them, I try to compile them to just one and toss the rest.

. . .

At the end of my Daily 5, only ten minutes have passed, but my Teacher Area is clean, tidy, and ready for the next day already. Best of all, it's ready to go in case of emergency sub day. This has definitely come in handy when my daughter has woken up sick!

Because I organize the rest of my Teacher Area in Zones, I don't worry about rearranging my drawers or any of the other areas at this point. They all have their day and my goal is just to get my small area and the daily schedule ready for me the next day.

While the schedule and date are nice, it's a true stress-reliever to walk in and see a nice desk each morning. Believe me, there are still tons of to do's and things to get graded, sorted, and filed, but the visual calm of a cleaned off workspace helps get my day started off on the right foot.

Good luck creating your own small checklist for your Daily Teacher Area Reset! I hope you'll find these strategies increase your productivity as well as your morning zen each day!

. . .

This Week's Think Abouts:

  • What is the area that could use a Daily Reset each day after the last bell?
  • What 3-5 small checklist items can I do each day to get this area tidy and ready for the next day? Time yourself going through it-- make sure it takes less than ten minutes.
  • Do I have an area for leaving notes to myself for the next day?
  • Do I have an area where office supplies are clearly stored and easily accessed?
  • How does my Teacher Planner fit into this Daily Reset?
  • Where do I put copies for the next day's lessons so they will be ready to go?
  • How have I organized my systems for piles and files?

* Would you like these Think Abouts in a handy PDF? Click HERE

Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram @3rdgrthoughts on both my feed and my IG Stories throughout the year.

Tag any of your before & afters, progress, or projects using #ClassroomOrganizingChallenge. Together we can finally tackle the visual clutter and stressful spaces!

Join me next week when we switch directions and start tackling Visible Storage for our March challenge!

Happy organizing,

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