After a long summer filled with family and fun, it’s never an easy task to get in the mindset of going back to school. The school bags, the homework, the extra-curricular activities, all the supplies, running back and form from school to activities to appointments to home, and somehow fitting every day life and family time in – it’s daunting! But our friend Rose Miller, professional organizer, has some great tips to make this new school year easier to tackle.
Guest post by Rose Miller of Rose Knows Where It Goes
Our lives are busier today than ever – running from daycare to school to choir to dance lessons to t-ball. How can we juggle all of our errands, spend time with family and friends, and still be organized and clutter free? When we have a cluttered environment it tends to make us overwhelmed. The same goes when we don’t have a routine and aren’t prepared.
Here are some of my family organizational ideas for the new school year.
- Establish fresh routines.
Lay out clothes, pack lunches, set out breakfast dishes and cereal at night, make sure backpacks are ready with homework and all that is needed the next day.
Make your new system kid friendly so that your young ones can help get things checked off your to-do list. For example, carve out a spot in the pantry on a low shelf to store lunch boxes and lunch making snacks. Do the same in the fridge. Then, have your little helper be responsible for putting away their empty lunchbox and packing it back up for the next day.
Another idea – install low coat hooks so your child can hang his or her own coat and backpack at the end of each day. If you have the room, storage benches with baskets are great for storing shoes, sports equipment, and other things they need daily.
It is never too early to teach responsibility! These easy steps will encourage your children be accountable for their things. The more help you have, the more time for fun.
- Create a homework station
If a task is simple to do, it’s more fun to do, and homework is no different. Decide on the best spot in your home to set up homework central. Take into consideration how involved you need to be with homework, your child’s learning style, and if they focus better with people around or when working on their own. Once you have a place picked out, gather handy homework supplies in a nearby bin, cabinet, drawer or caddy. The supply list from your teacher is a good starting point.
- Do your homework every day.
That’s right parents – we have homework too! All those papers that come home in backpacks each night need to be addressed in a timely manner. My advice is to review them, sign, and put them right back in the backpacks to go back to school immediately.
- Create a system for school papers.
There are two types of papers – those you need to take action on and those you are keeping for future reference. Designate a convenient spot for items you need to act on or refer back to throughout the school year. Examples:
Use a central binder for the class list, class schedule, school/teacher contact info.
Storage bin: school work and art work. Some things you will want to keep, others you can purge right away. Collect possible keepers in the bin and go through it using a regularly timed interval that works best for you. I suggest once a week if possible, or even monthly.
- Have a family command center.
Have a calendar or visible listing of daily activities such as sports, what day different things are happening at school (for example – library day. Be sure to pack up that library book the night before!), list of daily expectations, chores, invites, class trips, weekly dinners, Mom and Dad’s schedules.
My suggestions are using a white board or family binder. Consider using a color coded system assigning each family member a color. Running message books are also great tools as communication is key when everyone in your family is running in different directions. And of course, we can’t forget about technology. There are so many apps and programs out there that you can access and share from your smart phone, such as Google Calendar.
- Finally, household clutter.
We all have it. Even if the week starts out perfectly organized, it’s easy for that clutter to build in just a matter of days. Keep household clutter at bay by collecting items into put away bins by category, or collecting everything into one single bin and taking turns putting items away. Make it fun by stashing a dollar or some other prize depending on the amount that has to be put away.
I hope these tips will help you face the new school year in a positive way. And if you do find yourself needing help, please feel free to contact me. I specialize in all things organization – life, home, and so much more.