KonMari Your Classroom Routines and Procedures

Kellie shares the routines and procedures in her classroom that spark joy, and her tips and strategies applying the KonMari method. She includes specific resources, and includes everything you need to simplify and organize.

Updated: May 15, 2019

Teacher Bins

If you’ve been on any form of social media, you have probably noticed that someone, somewhere is ranting and raving about the newly released Netflix show Tidying Up. The show centers around Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, where she shares the Konmari method for cleaning and organizing.

"I decided that I wanted to start the new semester by getting rid of the things that don't spark joy for me in my classroom (and no, I didn't just throw away those dang essays, even though I wanted to)."

Routines and Procedures Spark Joy

Thankfully, my classroom stays pretty organized (thanks, Type A personality), and I have clearly defined spaces for supplies and paper. Using the Konmari method to get organized is important, but in all honesty, I think what helps my room stay organized throughout the school year are the routines and procedures I have established, and how I clearly communicate expectations to students.

"These routines spark a special kind of joy because they make my school day run much more smoothly and efficiently, so I can focus on what brings me the most joy, teaching."

Labeled Bins Spark Joy

Purchase bins and label them

At the beginning of this school year, I purchased bins and labeled them to hold our supplies. They come in several different sizes. Pick bins that fit your needs.

Label and organize your supplies separately so that there is no question about where things go.

Go through your supplies and throw away broken pencils or dried out markers or glue sticks.

I think as teachers, we all love fresh school supplies, so this particular organization task especially sparks joy for me because my school supplies are neat and orderly year round, not just at the start of the new school year.

Teacher Supply Bins

Establish procedures for allowing students to access these supplies

You may decide to allow students to retrieve supplies during transitions, or teach them non-verbal hand signals, so the class isn’t disrupted when a student gets up and moves around the room.

I teach high school students, so I allow students to move about the room freely to sharpen pencils or borrow supplies whenever they need to, but when I taught in middle school, students used hand signals and I delivered supplies to them in an effort to reduce movement and misbehavior.

"When you have an organized system, and students know the expectations, the system will run itself, and that will bring you joy."

Teacher Absent Work

Create a system for handling paperwork

I keep all of my absent work handouts in one central location.

Every day, when I put new handouts in the folders, I recycle the old ones.

I find that using a hanging organizer works best.

I’ve tried several ways to handle make-up work, but this way has been the most efficient and easiest to keep up with.

Turn-In Bins Spark Joy

I have one central location for all paperwork that comes to me, what I call "turn-in bins."

All student paperwork gets put in these two separate bins.

Since I've started doing this, I've never had an issue with students claiming that I've lost work because they know that if they turn it in, it is in those baskets or I've graded and filed it already.

The amount of paperwork that comes across my desk multiplies exponentially throughout the day and without a way to keep the papers in order, it’s easy to lose things or get overwhelmed.

Students know where to find the resources they need, and I know where all my students work is.

"There is a feeling of joy when my day runs more smoothly, and I don't feel disorganized."

I also have task cards in plastic bins that keeps them organized by unit or text.

Teacher Turn In Bins

Establish a procedure and have a central location for storing student cell phones

Each day when my students walk into class, they drop their cell phones off in this pocket chart that I have hanging right by my classroom door. I keep a clipboard near this pocket chart with student names and assigned numbers for pockets.

I use this system to easily manage cell phones and take attendance before class even starts.

"This routine sparks joy because it reduces distractions during class, allowing for students to be much more productive and focused."

Organize your cabinets by category

I have dedicated cabinet space to paper and cardstock, my teacher manuals and pedagogy books, tissue, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and old paperwork that cannot be disposed of yet.

Organizing Your Classroom Library Sparks Joy

If you have a classroom library, create a clutter-free space for reading by getting rid of any books that are falling apart, torn or that your students aren’t reading.


Teacher Classroom Library

Establish a system for checking books in and out

For me, it’s simply a clipboard with a chart where students log their name, book title, check-out date, and check-in date. Decide how you want students to return books. I have students return straight to the shelf, but having students put their books in a “check-in crate” and returning them to the shelf in batches is another option.

Find the routine that works best for you and your students, and communicate it clearly.

Ultimately, the routines and procedures you put in place should create systems that simplify the day-to-day workings of your classroom, leaving you to focus on what sparks the most joy, the teaching itself.

What are your favorite routines and procedures? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Kellie Bourque is a high school English teacher who enjoys sharing her passion for teaching with fellow educators. She believes that the best classroom management strategy is to build relationships with students and strives to create a neat and orderly classroom that is conducive to creativity and learning. For more on classroom organization, practicing self-care, finding a work-life balance, and even some occasional teacher style, follow Kellie on her Instagram account @kellie.bourque and her website Kellie Bourque Blog.  

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