1. Create a schedule. If you wait til the last moment chances are you'll be shoving things in cabinets (I've been guilty of this!) If you know your last day is in 3 weeks then set goals for each week and an objective for each day. If you only have 3 days then set your priorities of what has to be done and what could wait til after the move.
2. Focus on one area and stay on task! Packing can make more of a mess so stay on task and don't create "piles everywhere you go". Make the last two days with your kids "Bring a Board Game Day" so they have something to play and yours can be packed away. Close to the last day I have packed most of my desk and left out only the "essentials" tape, post-its, pens, chocolate.
3. Enlist your kids to help! In K I would always have a puzzle check station and any puzzles with missing pieces didn't get to go back in the cabinet. My kids this year will check all the markers and retire those not in good condition.
4. Make an "Essentials, Unpack First" box. Just like when I moved my house there are things you need immediately like toilet paper, dishwashing soap, and the coffee maker. I use a clear tub and bright masking tape labeled "1st Day". For the classroom I put masking tape, sharpies, scissors, stapler, hot glue gun with glue sticks, and any bulletin board material you need to do first. You could brign this one box home if you think it may get lost.
5. Label everything! Blue painter's tape is easy to peel off even after hot summer days when masking tape will be hard to take off. Anything that can move gets put in the hallways to wax the floors and you would be amazed how far your trashcan can travel down the hall if not labeled! Also label where it goes and take a picture on your phone. Even though I spend my life at school, I forget every year how I had things arranged.
6. Decorate now. If you can, go ahead and set-up your bulletin board, calendar, or word wall letters now and cover it with butcher paper. I like to cover my boards with fabric (a twin sheet works great and is sometimes cheaper than fabric by the yard). You will feel so accomplished when you start your planning days in August with the calendar and alphabet already done.
7. Clean and purge! If you didn't use it this year, get rid of it. If it's from a different grade level you used to teach, get rid of it. If you have a year's supply of paper towel tubes, get rid of it. When I left Kindergarten after 6 years I had things left from the previous teacher I never used. "Maybe the next teacher will want them," I thought to myself. Guess where I saw them in August, in the lounge donate pile. Just save everyone the time and ditch the old now. If it's something valuable but you just don't use it, offer it to others or donate to Goodwill. I've had success with online yard sales via Facebook surprisingly. Search your town and "sale" or trash to treasure" and see what you find.
8. Organize. A few plastic containers can go a long way. For my reading and material manipulatives, I take them out of the original box, put in Ziploc bags, and place all the same skill in one labeled tub. This helps so much to cut down on the empty space boxes create and visual clutter too. Shoe size buckets are great for office materials. You can find tons of cute free labels on TpT too here!
9. If you can, try to make copies now for the first week. Laminate and cut your nametags now so all you need is a classlist and a sharpie. Make and assemble your writing journals. Make those adorable "Get to know you Booklets". Put everything in a box labeled "1st week" with a class set of sharpened pencils and you'll be patting yourself on the back in August!
10. Ask for help. I always tell my husband if you help on the last day I'll be done faster then we can go out to dinner wherever he wants. Take turns with your teaching bestie. I'll help you move the heavy tables, then we can do my room. Plus you can gossip about all your exciting summer plans (napping and watching netflix for me!)
If you have ideas that work for you please share in the comments. Happy almost summer and take time to relax and rejuvenate :)