Lockers. Parents and teachers have a love/hate relationship with them. On one hand, your child needs them to store books and papers, however, those books and papers often can get lost in the bottomless void that a locker can become. Making sure they get home to you can be tough. So we went straight to the experts — moms and teachers — and asked them for tips and tricks to keeping a locker organized.
“Keep it simple. Don’t overly invest in fun locker organization pieces. They just complicate things. Keep extra supplies in the locker, use a binder or color coded folder system, and put your homework in your homework folder and take it to all your classes. That way, when you’re done at the end of the day, you put it in your book bag and go. Also, keep one plastic bag in there — the size of a grocery bag — as this is good for extra clothing that might get left behind, or if the locker needs a clean out.”
“Your locker combination should be kept private. Cafeteria food should not be brought back to your locker, especially milk (true story, bad smell!). A simple shoe box keeps small items from getting lost in the locker. Please don’t put stickers in lockers, they are hard to get out. A magnet or two is fun, though. Your locker is not a clothes closet. Please remember to take jackets and other clothing home at the end of the day. The only exception is to keep a hoodie available in your locker for a cool day, but remember it only gets washed if you take it home.”
(teacher, Cleveland Clinic for Autism)
“Communication books help to get information home. Everything goes in them. They are little binders with artwork and memos about things going on, plus reminders.”
“I have two boys, now in seventh and ninth grades. They have had lockers all through middle school. I find that the key to organizing for boys is to keep it simple. Attend open house/orientation with them. Bring their supplies and locker stuff that night. (We just had a locker shelf, dry erase board and mirror.) See how everything fits and offer suggestions. Keep an eye on their backpack, it usually mimics any mess that may be in the locker at school. Just be diligent in asking if they need to bring items home. When I see what I call ‘folder vomit’ — papers bursting out — I make them clean out folders. We have drawers with their names on them in our homework area, where they can save any papers they may need to look back on.”
“Lockers can be a scary, uncertain time for students. A locker shelf is a great way to add extra space so your lunch doesn’t get squished by books. You will also be able to see all your books and supplies with ease. A magnetic dry erase board or calendar will help you keep track of important dates and reminders. Keep your locker well-stocked with pens/pencils. A magnetic holder will keep these at your fingertips. Using an agenda or day planner will help you know what needs done in every class. Lastly, personalize your locker: wallpaper, magnets, a mirror and even a chandelier can make it feel more like yours. Parents – it’s a good idea to designate a specific folder for take-home papers and have a bin at home to transfer those to, so nothing gets lost!”
Rachele Alpine is a high school teacher by day, mother and wife by night, and writes during any time she can find in between. She’s the author of the MG novels “Operation Pucker Up,” “You Throw Like a Girl,” “Best. Night. Ever” (all through Simon & Schuster) and the YA novels “Canary” (Medallion) and “A Void the Size of the World” (Simon & Schuster). You can read more about her and her writing on her website: rachelealpine.com