Welcome to Week 1 of the Speech Room Organization Challenge! I’m going to be sharing ideas and strategies to help you tackle a few organizational projects over the summer. First up is DECLUTTERING!
Caveat: If you need a break this summer, take a break! More power to you. 😀
I’m writing this series because I’ve received e-mails from several SLPs requesting ideas for summer organization projects. This series is for them!
NOTE: The links below are Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience, but I may receive compensation if you click through and purchase one of the books. *
First things first… Let’s address the elephant in the room.
Yeah, I know. Why even talk about decluttering?
It’s not a “glamorous” topic, but this has been a serious game changer for me.
I was so excited to start my CF in a speech room with TONS of materials. I had everything I could possibly ever need (and then some!). However, I found that I had too many choices. It sounds ridiculous, but it really did make it harder for me to plan for therapy. I couldn’t find what I needed. My little room was packed. It also distracted the kids. We were more focused on the what (instead of the how).
I realized this and purged a lot of materials. It made it a huge difference. I thought I had it figured out.
Then, fast forward a few years…
I started in a speech room with NO materials. I had just moved, and my personal materials hadn’t been delivered yet (except for a few personal favorites that I packed in my car). I was a little worried at first…
I had a few of my “staples,” and that was it.
It turns out that only having a few materials allowed me to be more resourceful and creative. My sessions were more productive. We had tons of room to move around, and I wasn’t overwhelmed!
Instead of reaching for games, worksheets, or card decks, I collaborated with teachers and used the curriculum. I used the SLP Now Membership and pulled up a number of materials on my iPad (e.g., teaching visuals, books). I had a few reinforcers. That was really all I needed! When the rest of my materials came, I found that I didn’t even need most of them.
Crazy, right?! You may want to keep this in mind as you’re decluttering! 🙂
Since you may not have the “luxury” of an empty speech room, here’s a review of the process I used to declutter my first speech room!
1. Make a Plan
I go all in when I declutter (inspired by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I unload my desk, my books, and my materials and make a glorious mess. This makes it easy to find all of my card decks, all of my markers, and all of my papers and put them all in one place. This way I know exactly what I have, and all similar items can be grouped together (e.g., all of my art supplies will go in one cabinet, instead of being spread in 10 different spots around the room). It makes it easier to declutter, too. 🙂
Paper is a whole other beast. I’ll share more tips on that in Post #3, but I make sure to gather all of my papers as I’m decluttering and keep them in one spot.
If it’s too overwhelming to do it all at once, you could work in zones. Start with your desk, move to your bookshelf, then check out that cabinet. You decide the order (write it down and cross out the “zones” as you finish them)!
2. Get to It!
Start dumping that stuff and decide what to keep/get rid of. I like April’s Three Box Method.
I created a decision tree to help make this process a little easier! Enter your name and e-mail below (at the bottom of the post) to download the worksheet from the SLP Now Resource Library!
I know it can be hard to get rid of stuff (e.g., “What if I need it?!”), but I promise it’ll feel sooooo good once you can breathe in your room again.
* If you’re in a district with other SLPs, you can share resources with each other. I did a massive purge a few years ago. Instead of tossing everything (or putting it in storage), I posted pictures on a Google Doc. SLPs wrote their name on the doc to “claim” the items they wanted. It was actually a lot of fun! I ended up with a cleaner room, and they got some new materials.
3. Empty the Boxes
Give yourself time to empty the boxes to complete the project. Don’t just let them sit around!
Now you can really celebrate!
A nice decluttering session usually does the trick, but you may want to check out the other posts in this series if you’re looking for more ideas. (Especially if you decluttered as much as you possibly can, and your room is still feeling messy!)
* Marisha McGrorty is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.