In my school district we have to entirely pack up our rooms every year so that the entire school can be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned. We can’t leave a command hook or label anywhere in the room. Between being in the habit of packing up so completely every year AND moving schools a couple of times, I KNOW the value of putting things up well so that when you go to set everything up again you don’t have a mess that is larger than necessary.

The one thing I remembered to do this year that I am most happy about is my “first day back bucket”.  I gathered things that I have learned that will want immediately upon my return to work at the end of the summer. I put my packed bucket right at the front of my most accessible cabinet and put a label on it so that when I go back I’ll have everything at hand and can get down to business right away.  All of the materials in my bucket (and the bucket itself) have a place in my classroom where they are typically kept, but SOMETIMES when the whole room is packed up so completely accessibility is a challenge.

Here is a list of the items that I put in my bucket.

  1. FRESHLY LAUNDERED BAR TOWELS. I use bar towels for all sorts of cleaning chores in my classroom. They are extra absorbent, they don’t generally have messy threads, trim or lent like typical kitchen towels or paper towels, AND they are large so they can handle anything from a mess of cobwebs, to major soap and water cleaning.
  2. PERMANENT MARKERS OF VARIOUS TIP SIZE.   LOTS of things need labeling at the beginning of the year, AND, many a label has been ruined by not having the right type of marker.  Sure, when time allows, I like nicely computer printed or TPT labels as much as the next person, but sometimes the quickest way to an organized room is the use of a good marker. 
  3. CLEAR PACKING TAPE. It’s amazing how well clear packing tape will work as a substitution for lamination in an pinch. 
  4. DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE. DON”T put this tape on walls!  Do use this tape when assembling all of the things that you plan on hauling down to the laminator.  
  5. STAPLER AND STAPLES. – There you are, ready to tackle your bulletin boards, but WHERE IS THE STAPLER?  Also, you don’t want to be caught mid-board without any staples… or whatever adhesive you have to use for your setting.
  6. GOOD SCISSORS.   Simply essential for happiness. 


Other items you might consider adding to your bucket include, Command hooks, sticky tack, sticky notes, plain card stock, magnets, pencils, yard stick, chalk (for marking walls), wall level, labels, label maker

Right next to my bucket I have my personal fan and a power strip ready to go because air conditioning in the early days of the school year is iffy and setting up a classroom can be hot work.

Have a restful summer!