Back to School Organizing
Whether your kids have already started or you have a few more weeks of summer break, you still have time to create some simple systems that will keep you and your kids organized throughout the school year. When we talk about the physical stuff, there are so many things to keep up with during the school year. Supplies, assignments, artwork, papers, projects, lunchbox, backpack, etc. Keeping it all organized and helping your student stay on top of everything can seem overwhelming at times. I’m going to share some tips that will help you and your student keep it all together and make mornings a breeze!
I remember school mornings being filled with chaos and a lot of rushing around trying to get everything together. Between my sisters and I, there was always a missing shoe, homework, backpack, or dirty sports uniform that we forgot to put in the wash. We usually had just enough time to grab a granola bar before rushing out the door. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry- there’s hope! Just implementing a few simple systems can really streamline the school morning rush!
The first thing you need to do is figure out what needs to happen in the AM. This is different for every family, so grab some paper and a pencil and make a list of everything your kids need to do before they leave the house. I will share a sample one I did with a client…
1. Eat breakfast
2. Feed dog
3. Brush teeth/wash up
4. Get dressed
5. Make bed
6. Pack lunch
7. Backpack ready with books/homework
8. After school bag packed (sports/swim/etc)
After you have your list written out, go over it and see what things can be done the night before. With the client’s list above, she decided that her and her kids could pack the lunches and have the backpacks and after school bags ready to go the night before. She also had her kids pick out their clothes the night before and lay them out.
STREAMLINE THE PROCESS
Now that you know what needs to be done in the evening and in the morning, you can start to focus on how to make everything hassle free and get your kids in a routine. Creating a drop zone is a priority! This can be in the entryway, a mudroom, or on an empty wall close to where you enter/exit the house. If you already have a setup with cubbies and hooks, then you are good to go! If you are starting with nothing, all you need are some hooks for backpacks, sport bags, lunch boxes, and jackets and a shoe rack or some baskets that can fit the kids’ everyday shoes. With just those two items, you have created a home for your kids’ everyday school gear.
In the kitchen, create a lunch station in a drawer or a cabinet. This can be with grab and go snacks along with food containers used in their lunch box. This allows you (or them) to go to one place to pack lunches and ensures that the lunch containers don’t get mixed in with the larger ones. If there’s not a lot of time in the mornings for breakfast and you want to have something other than cereal or a granola bar, look into some simple make ahead breakfast items. Overnight oats or egg muffins can be made ahead and quickly heated in the morning.
Next let’s think about their process of getting the kids ready. Picking out their clothes the night before can be a real time saver, but doing it once a week on Sunday evenings can also save you time and the hassle of doing it every night. If clothing is on hangers, use hanging dividers labeled with the day of the week. If the clothing is folded, you can use a hanging closet organizer to put each day’s outfit in. This is also the time to check what after school activities they have for the week. Make sure all their uniforms are clean and ready to go.
ORGANIZE THE SCHEDULE
Whether you keep your calendar on your phone or hanging up on the wall, go ahead and look at the school’s yearly calendar and note any holidays, no school days, half days, trips, etc. Do the same with after school activities and sports when you receive those schedules. This will allow you to stay up to date and schedule appointments around any important days. Depending on the age of your child, remember to note any important dates and deadlines throughout the school year to help keep them on track!
ORGANIZE ALL THE PAPER
Kids bring home SO MUCH PAPER! There’s going to be some that you want to keep and display and then there’s going to be some that you want to trash. I’m here to tell you that it is more than okay to throw it away! For the ones that you think are really special or want to hold on to, get a hanging folder file box and put hanging folders and label them with each grade. When your kid makes something that you want to hold on to, file it away in the appropriate folder. By having a folder for each grade, you are keeping things organized, but also making sure that you aren’t keeping every single thing. When your kid becomes an adult, you can pass the box along to them and I guarantee they will appreciate that you only kept the work that they were really proud of!
Hopefully these tips will help you and your kids be a little more organized this school year! Try out one or more and let me know how it goes!