Everyone you talk to these days is saying the same familiar words, “It’s that time of year again.” Whether it’s with an exclamation point, a sigh of relief or a bit of disappointment, fall is upon us, and the kids are heading back to school (exclamation point). With new schedules, tons of gear and more on the to-do list, getting organized right now is essential for a successful school year. Here are ten quick back-to-school organization tips to get you started.
10 Quick Tips for Back-to-School Organization
- Lay out clothes for the week. If you’re kids are anything like mine, they already have their outfits planned for the first few days. After that, however, once the novelty of the new school year wears off, we find ourselves rushing more and more in the mornings. Getting in the habit of laying out clothes the night before can be a real time-saver for sleepy seventh graders (and adults, alike!)
- Post the daily schedule. A dry erase board in the mudroom or entryway with everyone’s activities can be extremely helpful in keeping a family-on-the-go organized. Make a column for each child, where they’ll be, what time it ends, and who’s responsible for getting them home. Forgetting your kid, or heaven forbid, someone else’s kid at soccer practice can do a number on your awesome mom (or dad) reputation.
- Designate a cupboard or shelf for lunch boxes and lunch box related items. There’s really nothing worse on this planet than that drawer with all of the containers and lids. We all have one. We all hate it. It’s the worst. Don’t get lunch box containers involved in those shenanigans. Please. Give them there own space to wreak havoc.
- Place lunch items together in the fridge. Speaking of lunches, putting all lunch items together in a fridge bin (or pantry bin) will not only save you time in prepping school lunches, but will also help when your kids are old enough to start making their own lunches. Sandwich items, prepped fruit and veggies, cheese sticks, yogurt cups, etc. Keep them all in one bin, remove said bin from fridge, whip out meals like a lunch ninja, replace said bin in fridge. Done.
- Keep a homework bin in the kitchen. Or family room, or office or wherever your kids do homework. Keep it stocked with essential school supplies, (don’t forget a ruler and calculator – I can never find a darn ruler when my kids need to measure 20 things 5 minutes before bedtime for an assignment they forgot about). Stash the bin away when done. No mess!
- Plan dinner in advance. Easier said then done. I know. I know, but once you get into the habit of it, your life will be forever changed. There are a ton of meal planning apps available, but simply just jotting down 5 days worth of meals and a quick ingredients list on the weekend will do it. Oh, and make friends with a crock pot. Best friends. Nothing like coming home to a delicious ready-to-eat meal!
- Purge the closets. Before they hang up their shiny new school clothes, make them try on their old stuff. Organize into three piles: “Keep”, “Pass-to-Unfortunate-Sibling-Who-Resents-You-For-Hand-Me-Downs” and “Donate”. Play some music. Make a fashion show out of it. Fun and productive. Win-win.
- Take control of the paperwork. Invest in a small accordion file box, and give each child a tab. Add a few extras like “Return to School”, “Field Trips”, “Fundraisers”, etc. As for all of the projects and never-ending spelling tests and worksheets…allow the kids (aspiring artists) to display their favorites for one week. After that, if they want to keep it, they need to come up with a plan. I do have one large bin in the basement for the sentimental items (I’m not heartless. I just hate excessive piles of school papers).
- Make healthy after school snacks accessible. Like placing similar lunch items in a fridge bin, it’s a good idea to have an after school snack bin, too. Keep healthy, protein-packed, low sugar snacks where your kids can easily access them. Greek yogurt, jerky, veggies and hummus, etc. Trust me, they’ll eat it…those ravenous beasts. You’d think they didn’t even eat those lunches you power-prepped?!
- Make bedtime a priority. Last but not least, kids need lots of sleep to grow and be successful at school. If they’re not getting adequate sleep, no amount of organization is going to help them. Start the bedtime ritual 45 minutes to an hour before the time they should be asleep. You know they are going to dilly dally for that long, so be prepared. And when the last one finally dozes off, take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
The Professional Organizers at Can the Clutter wish your family a happy, safe and successful school year!