Give up your Desk? AND your Filing Cabinet??


The Question:

I just finished closing down my classroom….how many of you still use a 4 drawer filing cabinet?

I have been teaching for 19 years and am trying to make more space available for my kindergartners.

Any suggestions for “paring down?

The Answers:


I still use filing cabinets, love just pulling things out of the drawers. Good idea to pare down though, clutter is not a good thing!


 Do away with teacher desk and student tables or desks…frees up a lot of space!


I actually store BOOKS in mine now. Top drawer is for student files, bottom 3 are for picture books.


 How do you do away with student tables and desks. Where do they work?


More room for large movement and learning styles


I agree with getting rid of your desk! I never used mine except to pile stuff on. Not sure I could lose tables though.


Definitely lose the teacher desk! I had a friend that went through her resource books and binders and scanned anything that she might use and then got rid of them!


 I got rid of a ton of teacher books this year. They were taking up so much space! Always use pinterest or TeachersPayTeachers now!

Mrs. Miner’s Kindergarten Monkey Business

 I emptied my filing cabinet out and had the custodians roll it right out the door! I hadn’t even opened it last year!


 You could always sell your teacher books, I’m sure there are lots of teachers, including myself, who would buy them,


If you don’t have one, get a cheap scanner. You can scan anything you want to keep into the computer. Take pictures of art projects you want a sample of.  Liberating!


 Don’t forget to recycle what you can.


I have 2 filing cabinets. In one I store my collection of audiobooks, and in the other student data and assessments. They are behind the teacher desk that is required in my classroom.


I copy everything and put it into PDF form to save on flash drive.


Great suggestions!  I’ve never used a teacher desk thanks to my mentor teacher:-) I’ll try the scanner….thanks so much:-)


I got rid of my desk. I never sat at it and just piled stuff on top. I only have a 2 drawer file cabinet but I have a metal cabinet in the hallway with tons of materials (they go along with our reading curriculum, which I know will be changing in 2014-2015.


Scan it in and toss it! I love being paperless! Put it on google drive, so no matter where you are you can access the data. I also gave away my teacher desk 5 years ago.


I saw a great idea on The Organized Classroom Blog. She got rid of the stuff in her file cabinet and used it to store construction paper and other things she used to put in cabinets and shelves.


Christine, this is like we we’re twins…I too have been teaching 19 years(going on to my 20th year in the fall) & I too took home 4 LARGE BINS filled with my teaching files at the end if the year this year. I cannot make myself trash them, but I am going to downsize my files by reducing any multiple copies and 3-hole punch them to put into labeled binders and store them one a shelf then. We’ll see how that works. I hardly EVER opened my file cabinets either last year with our new curriculum in both reading (Journeys) & Math (Investigations) and with our smartboards…paper files are becoming old…like me-lol!


If you think your plan books are great, how about donating them to a “teaching library” or professor of education to use as samples/examples to up and coming teachers, as lessons in writing one, keeping up with one, “how-to’s” of planning, or whatever.


The irony here is that today I was all excited to go in and set up my room! Teachers get in on August first in my district. We got out the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.


My local union hosts an annual “new teacher flea market” and I’ve always thought it was a great idea! At the end of each school year or over the summer, experienced teachers can donate any items they want to purge (resource books, games, posters, baskets, pointers, manips, etc…) Right before school starts, they lay everything out in a room and the new teachers can come and pick out whatever they need. It helps the experienced teachers pare down while helping the new teachers build up. Love it!


I moved to 1st two years ago from kindergarten after 13 years and my rule was if I had not used it that year I threw it out. Last year I had only one drawer left of thematic file folders and this year when I shut down my room I was able to throw it all out. I got rid of my teacher desk two years ago as I also piled stuff on and in it, now I just use my guided reading table as my central station! I also use tPt and Pinterest mostly now….I was able to lighten my load for moving, closing up and more importantly for students~good luck.


I am getting rid of my desk this year! I can’t wait for the extra space. Every year (6 years) it’s really just collected piles, and figured I needed to have it because everyone had one. I’ll be cleaning out the file cabinet too – every year I have never gone in it. Last year I had to move rooms & grades (k to 1) – & like Angela (above) if I hadn’t used it, I pitched it. It felt really good. I’m going back to K now & anything I saved as “maybe” & didn’t use is going in the trash. Instead of my “out of sight, out of mind” file cabinet, I started to use cubbies on my shelf with those snapping envelopes tabbed with what’s in there -Pinterest idea –


I went from ten drawers to about 3 because i have so much on pinterest!!!


I use filing cabinet to hold all our workbooks and to store my memory books and all the stuff that go with them!


I was just in a workshop yesterday with a new teacher who was complaining that her desk only had 3 legs…I explained that I don’t use my desk…I use my guided reading table and have Rubbermaid rolling shelves behind my table to store ‘desk items’


I got rid of TONS of those great resources as well just 2 years ago. I found a local college and put up an ad on their education bulletin board that any student graduating within that year could come and take any or all of my things at no cost! First come, first served! It was so fun and a great feeling for both of us. What was left over I donated to a home school mom from our church.


Take pix or scan what you like! Then do digital files. I’m hoping to do more of this as I am able. Then donate to teachers college or love the idea above of the union collecting for new teachers! Or how about sending to tornado, fire, or flood victim schools? Hate the idea of throwing away…seems so wasteful!


I am inspired! Thanks all! We just hired 2 new people onto our team and I would love to give them all my hard copies! I would love to scan all important documents in PDF and put on Google Drive. I can access that from my phone if I want to! I have TONS after 20 years and it seems like every summer I pare down, but to no avail! Still loaded with stuff!


No desk? Where do you put your computer, pens, pencils, tapes, and other “stuff”? I don’t work at mine, but don’t know where the rest of that stuff would go…


I got rid of my desk and file cabinet a few years ago….just throw stuff away. I find that if I file it I forget I have it so I end up printing it again or find something better to use on the computer.


I have 2 file cabinets! I use one for student files (one drawer for current students and 1 drawer for last years group) and then the other 2 drawers have all of my letter papers that I use. the other one has all of my picture books filed by month or theme with copies of activities that go with them. As for your books, when I was hired the “teacher fairy” would visit my room when I wasn’t there and leave me surprises (books, decorative items, copies of activities, etc.) There were several of us hired that year and we all got visits, it was a great way to share ideas! We have also had teachers that were paring down or retiring put things in our lounge with a sign “free to a good home”.


I created a magnetic work station for letter/word work out of my file cabinet turned sideways. I covered it & did border & it made a terrific work station. My other file cabinet is behind guided reading table. I also covered/bordered it & used it for reading groups. Each child’s name was on a magnetic animal. This was a great way to display groups and it was easy to flex kids in & out of groups depending on skill/level,etc.


If I haven’t used it in 2 years, I toss it or put it in the teacher’s room for someone else to take and use. And I utilize the filing cabinets to separate centers and then use the sides for individual magnet centers to spell words or do activities when work is done…. So the inside stores things (bottom drawer holds the magnet activities, other drawers hold my things, and the outside is functional as well.


Thanks again for all of these iseas. I am going to scan everything and just use my 2 drawer cabinet and get rid of the 4 drawer one:)


 Only keep one master copy. last year my daughter and I went through my files and recycled extra copies. I got an entire drawer back.


I haven’t been in the classroom for two years, but I created a file for each theme (often seasons/holidays) and put the files in the order in which they occur. Each file has worksheets and books related to the theme, and it was great to have this at the tip of my fingers. When I found something new online, I would print and add it. This was a wonderful resource for me, and I gave it to a friend when I left. I also used my desk for checking email, entering grades, storing my own supplies and filing forms that I needed such as vacation request forms, field trip paperwork etc.


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