It’s not uncommon for teachers to struggle with space. Over the years, an increasing number of children have been assigned to one classroom, which has raised attendance size without increasing physical space. This can present unique challenges, especially when children are younger and have difficulties sitting still. When you need to move furniture around or assign groups, a lack of space can be even more problematic. Rather than simply suffering through cramped classrooms, consider utilizing a self-storage unit to make more room for activities and a comfortable learning experience.
How Self-Storage Provides an Effective Storage Solution
There are hundreds of different blogs that tell teachers how to maximize every square inch of space in their classroom, but these resourceful tactics only go so far. You can’t physically increase the square footage of the room. Eventually, you’re going to reach a point when you simply can’t accommodate any more class projects, documents, or student bodies. By renting a self-storage unit, you can create excess classroom space without having to sacrifice extra supplies, documents, or art projects. Since there are options to rent units in a variety of sizes, you can use what you need without paying for space you don’t. This can drastically reduce classroom anxiety, especially for children who have a hard time processing external stimulus. Using a storage unit can also decrease classroom anxiety and reduce distractions from the daily lesson plan.
The Best Ways to Use Self-Storage Units as a Teacher
A strategic approach to self-storage units should be taken by educators, as there are many supplies that need to remain in the classroom. You should keep enough school supplies for all of your students to use for the day’s lesson plan and any objects, visual aids, or equipment that will help improve learning. Aside from the things you’re actively using, storage units can provide a great recluse that frees up an abundance of usable space. If you already have an idea of what can go into storage, jump right in. If you’re still a little unsure on how to maximize your storage while keeping the classroom balanced, consider the following tips.
1. Choose Which Items to Store
The first step in creating a successful off-site storage system is to choose which objects can go into storage. Some things that can be kept out of the classroom include pieces or equipment of seldom-used games, extra blankets or mats, posters or charts not being actively used, extra furniture, certain sporting equipment or recreational activities, and interactive mats or posters.
You should also store any seasonal items that aren’t actively being used. Since most of this décor and learning equipment only needs to be used once per year during their respective holidays or season, putting them into self-storage will free up a tremendous amount of space without limiting your creativity in the classroom. Seasonal classroom items can include books, décor, paper, arts and crafts materials, holiday items, lights, and more. Just make sure that you take the time to properly pack items into storage bins to keep them safe when not in use. For easy access throughout the year, separate items by season or holiday and clearly label them. This makes retrieving them during the year much more efficient.
Storing overstock supplies in your unit will also free up learning space. There’s no need to store piles upon piles of construction paper, glue bottles, scissors, colored pencils, paper clips, sticky notes, tape, markers, or other supplies in your classroom. While it might seem like a more effective way to improve accessibility, doing so can lead to more messes, mishandled supplies, and a cluttered classroom. Instead, organize supplies by type and store them in your self-storage unit for easy access throughout the year.
Finally, if you use thematic units in your classroom, put all of the ones not currently being used in your self-storage unit to clear up space. While thematic units are a great way to help engage students in various topics, they tend to come with a lot of excess objects and supplies that quickly create a level of chaos in your classroom. Make an inventory of everything, store objects of the same theme together, and get them out of the classroom.
2. Organize Your Storage Unit Accordingly
The next step is preparing your storage unit for easy access throughout the year. This requires a little bit of planning upfront but will make things much easier later on. The two best ways to make organization a breeze is to choose the right types of storage containers and organize according to category or frequency of use.
Since you’ll likely be transporting items back and forth between the classroom and your self-storage unit, invest in some clear plastic storage containers with lids and handles. This will make the entire process easier and allow you to see what’s inside each container. The transparency of the container shouldn’t replace labeling, but it does provide an added layer of reassurance when you need to grab things in a hurry.
You should also organize your storage unit based on how often you plan to use different supplies or decorations. Always place the lesser used items at the back of your unit so you don’t have to move them out of the way when getting to more frequently used items. If you have a lot of things to store, you may also want to invest in shelving units to further streamline the storage and retrieval process. It’s also worth leaving at least one clear aisle from the front of your storage unit to the back so that you can quickly access all corners of the area without having to take everything out and put it back again. Always place heavier items on the bottom of a stack and try to streamline your storage by using the same containers for everything.
3. Choose the Right Self-Storage Unit
Most importantly, make sure that you do your research and choose the right type of self-storage for your units. Depending on your geographic location, storing items in an outdoor unit can lead to wasted money and a lot of frustration. Varying humidity levels and changing temperatures can wreak havoc on classroom items like paper, craft supplies, and projects. Invest in climate-control storage to keep your items protected.
You’ll also want to determine your size needs. While it’s unlikely that you’ll need something as large as a 10 x 10 unit, there are plenty of options for smaller sizes. This opens up a realm of possibilities to teachers looking for affordable off-site storage. Depending on the facility, self-storage units can be as small as 5 x 5 and up to 10 x 30 or larger. Consider what your storage needs are and then choose a unit that is a little bigger to help improve accessibility and reduce potential damages to your stored items. If you’re unsure how to visualize your storage needs, tour the facility and talk to the manager to get a better understanding of sizing.
Whether you need to store textbooks that aren’t used every day, holiday decorations, or pieces of equipment that you only use on occasion, a self-storage unit can free up space in your classroom and help you focus on education. This will help you stay organized and keep clutter to a minimum, which benefits both the teacher and the students. For year-round self-storage, The Lock Up Self Storage offers units in a variety of sizes to fit every budget. Each of our storage units are climate-controlled to keep your items protected regardless of where you live. With convenient locations throughout the U.S., you’ll be sure to find the perfect options to offset classroom excess. For added peace of mind, our facilities are protected with top-of-the-line security features like perimeter alarms, gated access codes, and 24/7 CCTV. We also offer flexible leasing options that allow you to create a tailored storage plan for the school year. To learn more about our self-storage units at The Lock Up, give us a call today at 1-866-327-LOCK or stop by one of our locations for a tour of the facility.