11 Things You MUST Do to Get Ready for Summer Break

supply closet

If you are like me, this time of year is exciting and hectic. I find myself daydreaming of the plans I’ve made for my summer break- the art I will make, the long summer days I will spend at the beach, the restful quiet… Sigh.

Daydreaming about summer is often interrupted by the real stress of cleaning and preparing my art room for the break. There is so much to do, it’s hard to know where to begin!

Here are 11 things you MUST do to get your art room ready for summer break.

clean art room

1. Talk to your administration about what might be happening in your room over the break.

There are often art classes taking place in my room over the summer. This impacts how I organize my space for the break. I don’t want to leave anything fragile or expensive within reach if there will be students in the art room.

Which brings me to…

2. Lock up all your art supplies.

Even if you have been told that your room will not be used by anyone over the break, plans can easily change. Your supplies can disappear if you do not leave them secured. I have cabinets that lock with a key, but I know that is not the case for everyone. Zip ties can be a good alternative.

key in lock

3. Deep clean your room.

It is easy to look at the mess in your art room and skip this step. I am guilty of saying to myself, “I’ll deal with this in the fall when I have more energy.” Sound familiar? It will make your space so much more inviting in the fall if you do this now. Scrub the sinks, clean out the drawers, and dust the shelves. You may even want to enlist the help of your students! Either way, get it sparkling clean for your return.

4. Reorganize your supply closet.

By this time of year, your supply closet may look like a tornado went through it. It is so tempting to just leave the work for the fall, but don’t. Get it organized now. In the fall you will be busy with planning and meetings and who knows what else. The end of the year is the best time to get your ducks in a row so you can come into a clean and organized space. If you need some inspiration, check out this handy supply closet organizing guide.

5. Take an inventory of the supplies you have.

This is the perfect time to look over what you ordered for this year and what you have left over. What you find out may influence your ordering choices for next year. Too much red construction paper? Leftover clay? Well, there are two things to take off your order!

supply closet

6. Plan your curriculum for next school year.

What do you want to improve? Look over your curriculum and decide what is working and what needs improvement. This is best done when it is fresh in your mind, before summer break. What will you need to teach this new (and improved) curriculum? When will you need these supplies? Decide what you will need to order to begin the year.

And then…

7. Order supplies for the beginning of the year.

Some art teachers may need to wait until the fall to receive the budget for the year. If you are lucky enough to have money now, use it to order what you will need to start the year. There is nothing worse than planning to start clay (or paint, or collage) with a class and having to stall because the supply order has not arrived. Aligning your supply order with your curriculum can help you hone in on what you need.

And if you have any money left from this year…

8. Spend all your money before the end of the year.

Some teachers are lucky to have leftover funds roll over to the following year, but this is not usually a good idea. Use this money to replenish your supplies before you leave for break. If those who determine your budget see that you have a lot of money left over each year, they may think you do not need it. Don’t avoid using all of your money in an attempt to be frugal. If you need it, use it!


9. Weed through all those old visuals.

If you’ve been teaching for a while, you most likely have a lot of images squirreled away. Nobody needs 20 different images of the Mona Lisa. Art teachers are notorious for being pack rats. This is a great time to purge what you don’t use and pass on extras to other art teachers.

10. Take down posters and bulletin board displays.

Even if your school doesn’t require this step, it is a good idea. Creating bulletin board displays and decorating the art room are some of the most important steps to setting the tone for your school year. Leaving the same visuals up year after year will leave your room looking stagnant. Force yourself to have a fresh start in the fall.

11. It’s time to relax.

Your room is clean, your curriculum planned, and your supplies ordered. You got it all done! It’s summer break. Go to the beach. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Do you have a different list of must-do tasks to get your room ready for summer?

What do you do to prepare your space for the break?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Anne-Marie Slinkman

Anne-Marie Slinkman, an elementary school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about providing relevant and meaningful art experiences for all students.

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