When I had to leave the room I left everything the same so the kids would have consistency. After a long term sub and finally a full time teacher the room ended the year by being lived in by three different teachers. Everyone had their own organizational style and three different styles gave way to a fairly disorganized room.
I'm going back in today (the last day of school- yes, we are still in school) to help sort through things and pack up my own supplies since I won't have a classroom next year.
On Monday I went by and packed my plastic baskets. So. Many. Baskets. As an elementary school teacher there seems to be a rule that you must own as many baskets as possible. Baskets for pencils (one for working pencils, another for broken pencils, then baskets for each table group) baskets for crayons, markers, scissors, glue, paper, 100 baskets for a well organized classroom library, baskets for where to turn work in, baskets for center supplies, for storing upcoming activities, for notes to the teacher. We are talking a lot of baskets. The money adds up.
So I'm left with the great basket debate-without a classroom I have nowhere to keep the baskets, but if I get rid of them I will just need them again in a few years when I go back to having my own classroom. I made the mistake of getting rid of baskets when I left my room the first time- and then had to spend so much money buying them again.
The same theory for files, teacher made games and centers- I am not going to need any of these things in the near future but if I just throw them away or donate them I will find myself recreating them all again in a few years. And frankly I'd rather spend the money on buying new baskets than the time it takes to recreate center games. The hours of cutting laminent are just too painful to have to recreate.
Maybe part of my hesitation to purge my room is my sadness for leaving the classroom. I love having my own room and I'm not ready to get rid of the supplies that represent all the fun I have teaching. The mountain of baskets is calling to me, begging to be filled with pencils and crayons once again.
Wish me luck today as we try to sort out the room!