How to Clean Out Curriculum the Right Way

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Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to say “out with the old, and in with the new.” Don’t worry, this isn’t going to require you to get out gloves and bleach! BUT, you will have to get your hands dirty metaphorically.

Together we are going to face our nemesis…old curriculum. I know, the thought probably fills you with dread, but unless you and I want to be the next contestants on the show “Hoarders,” we need to start finding homes for our wayward resources!

Today, we are focusing on sorting and clearing out past curricula and educational resources ONLY! So, don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the clutter and end up organizing stickers. We are focusing all of our attention on the curriculum.

By the conclusion of this post, you will have a fresh understanding of why you are keeping unnecessary curricula, a newfound motivation, and a plan for attacking the mountain of curricula threatening to crush you.

Let It Go

How to Clean Out Curriculum

Before we get into the actual curriculum removal, I want us to get to the two main reasons many of us keep resources we genuinely don’t need.

  1. We fear we might need it in the future.  I know you have experienced this! When I taught public school, I was always afraid to get rid of any educational resources because I never knew which grade level or subject I might be teaching the next year. Have you ever thought the same thing? Then after I began homeschooling, I realized how much of a struggle it was to get rid of the resources my boys had outgrown. I keep thinking I might need them if I go back to teaching in the public schools. Does that scenario sound familiar?
  2. We feel guilty for getting rid of something we paid good money for.  We’ve all done this. You pay a lot of money for something, and then it just doesn’t work the way you need it to. Unfortunately, you keep it because you feel guilty for spending the money. But, even though we have all done this, I would dare say that keeping the item never brought back the money spent on it.

Whether you are homeschooling or teaching in a school system, you know the agony of which I am speaking. Even if you are a sixth grade math teacher, it’s just plain difficult to get rid of a kindergarten letterland book from 1985 because you might need it in the future! {Honestly, anyone who isn’t a teacher doesn’t understand how real the struggle is.}

But these two lies are just that…lies. So, starting today, we need to allow ourselves to let go of some things that we have kept for far too long. Are you with me? Let’s start cleaning out!!

Preparing for the Purge

We are going to apply a very common method of down-sizing to our curricula. Many people refer to it as the “keep, donate, or trash” method, but I like to call it the “save, share, or sling” method. I think it just sounds snazzier.

You’ll need 3-4 containers for this process. These containers can be anything from laundry baskets to garbage bags, but they need to be labeled. You can use “keep, donate, trash” or “save, share, sling.” (You might also want one labeled “sell” for the items you know have selling potential.) Label your bins with whichever words your prefer. Trust me, it doesn’t matter as long as you do it!

Once you have them labeled, you need to apply the one touch principle. The idea is to touch every item only one time. As soon as you pick up a resource, you put it into one of the containers. You’ll either be saving it, sharing it, slinging it, or selling it.

Since there is no “I’m not sure” bin, indecisiveness won’t cripple you. This will force you to put the item into one of the bins. Simply choose a container and keep going.

Curriculum Questions & Requirements

curriculum cleaning

Now that you have your bins labeled, let’s address HOW you are going to decide which container the item goes in. Here are some questions to ask yourself…

  • Is this curriculum appropriate for my students?
  • Will I use this again in the future?

If you can honestly respond yes to these two questions, this item needs to be saved. If you answered no, but you find yourself wanting to keep the items because you spent a lot of money on them, consider sharing them or simply selling them.

You can put the items on Facebook, eBay, or another reselling site. This will help you “Let It Go!” (If you find yourself floundering here, refer to the beginning of this post and reread the lies we tell ourselves.)

If you answered yes to one question, but no to the other, consider asking yourself a few more questions to help you overcome your indecision…

  • Has this information become outdated?
  • Can I find this same information online?

If the information is outdated, just throw it away. Don’t contribute to another teacher’s hoarderish tendencies by offering something that’s useless to them. We all have a hard time turning down free resources, and you don’t want to be an enabler!

If the resource is available to you elsewhere, it needs to go into the share pile. Acknowledge that the resource is still useful, and then share it with another teacher. But remember, you want to be certain another teacher can gain something through this resource.

Simply continue this same technique of questioning and dividing until you have conquered your curriculum chaos! The relief you will feel at having removed all of the unnecessary “junk” will be so worth the frustration and indecision you experience while cleaning.

Just remember you’re doing this to get yourself more organized and add desired square footage to your workspace.

Decluttering your classroom or homeschool room can be overwhelming at best. As a teacher, you are torn between being a hoarder of all the supplies and things and adopting a minimalist attitude toward your space. Find organizing ideas to help you reclaim your classroom from all of the random curricula and school supplies. #declutter #classroom #organization #homeschooling

Knowing you will no longer fear for your life when opening the closet doors in your classroom will make it all worth it! You can do this, and I’ll be right here waiting if you need a little encouragement.

So, what are you waiting for? Get to it!