Depending on where you live the amount of “stuff” that gets brought in daily will vary. Here in the land of four seasons we deal with wet raingear, snowboots, mittens and everything in between. I’m fortunate to work in a school that has hallway lockers for each student. This gets the outwear “out-a-sight.” Assess the space you have available for students’ belongings and determine how you want them stored.
Once you have a system in place: Create a chart that includes a photo or diagram showing the students exactly what is expected.
- SAFETY: You don't want coats and bags in walking paths.
- DISTRACTIONS: The hodge podge of patterns and colors creates visual clutter. If you are storing the items in your classroom, I would highly suggest finding a way to keep them hidden during the day.
- LICE & BEDBUGS: Let's all say it together, "ewwwwwwwww!" Unfortunately, it is something that sometimes must be dealt with. If you have problems with these types of creepy crawlies in your school then you might want to find ways to keep the students' belongings from being clustered together.
- If you do not have lockers, cubbies or even hooks, then you may want to consider using laundry baskets or tubs. If space is an issue, you could put out rubbermaid tubs and have 4-5 students place their belongings in each one. Place the lids on and stack them on top of each other.
- Put a large table with a sheet or tablecloth covering it all the way down to the floor. Have the students store their belongings in baskets and slide them under the table when class is in session.
- If you have an open row of cubbies, you might want to look into options for covering them during the day to eliminate the visual noise. Tension rods made for showers are great. You could also velcro fabric onto the top and cover over them after the students unpack.
This is a nice, cheap option if you are not supplied with cubbies/lockers. I highly suggest using cable ties to reinforce holding them together. Again, I would cover it over with fabric or hang a curtain in front of it.