Time Management Tip: Outsmart the Clutter

Turn everyday items like coffee cans and see-through cosmetic bags into classroom clutter-busters!

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Clutter in the classroom means valuable instructional time lost scrambling to find small items like math manipulatives, glue sticks, and extra No. 2 pencils.  

Here's a tip: You can prevent clutter from taking over your classroom without spending a fortune. The answer? Recycling everyday items to create clearly marked storage containers for everything.

Ask your friends and family to help you collect the following:

  • coffee and baby formula cans (cover with contact paper)
  • shoe and cigar boxes (cover with contact paper)
  • tea tins
  • old canister sets
  • tall plastic cups
  • plastic cereal bowls
  • see-through cosmetic bags
  • plastic-zippered bags
  • plastic milk crates
  • egg cartons
  • durable restaurant and deli takeout containers with lids
  • plastic ice cream and sherbet containers
  • wicker baskets of any size
  • shoe caddy with see-through pockets
  • small pails/buckets (often available as part of kids' meal promotions)


Need advice on clearing out the clutter another teacher left behind? Check out "How to Make an Old Classroom New Again."


New Teacher Survival Guide

Find practical and easy-to-use tips, solutions, and advice to help make your first year in the classroom a success.