1} Half way through the summer (or right now today!) write a back to school checklist that includes everything you need to do to be ready for the first day of school. I like to break my list into two sections: THINGS TO DO and THINGS TO BUY. Here are a few examples of things you might include in your list:
If you have your back to school check list written early you can take your time working on it throughout the summer and not feel rushed/stressed trying to get it all done the week before school starts. Been there. Done that. Don't want to do it again. :)
2} Clean out kids' drawers/closets. The beginning of the school year is a great time to go through your kids' clothes. Donate clothes that are too small and assess what they need and don't need for the new school year.
(full post on my closet organization here)
3} Be prepared with a variety of school lunch ideas. If you pack a sack lunch for your kids, spend some time in the summer searching for and trying new sack lunch ideas. There are a lot of fun and creative alternatives to the typical PB and J sandwich on-line!
One of my favorite ways to mix things up is to use cookie cutters to cut different food into fun shapes. The cookie cutters I shared on the news I picked up at Target. Food just tastes better to kids when it's in the shape of a butterfly, dinosaur or car, right? This takes very little time and adds some interest to your child's lunch making them much more likely to eat their food. Which is always the goal. :)
Another fun trick is to cut up fruit/veggies/cheese and put them on a stick. My kids love to eat their fruits and veggies if I serve them this way. Much more exciting than just a sack of apple slices and you are able to give them more of a variety of food too. Bonus.
And of course, while we're talking school lunches, don't forget the napkin notes! Take a quick minute to jot a little hello and I love you to your child on his/her napkin. It will brighten their day. :)
4} Create ways to simplify your morning routine as much as possible. Do as much as you can the night before! Pack lunches, get homework and backpacks ready, lay out breakfast dishes and clothes for the next day. Involve the kids in this the day before! They can help get their own things ready for the following day. If you are leaving with the kids in the morning have your things ready to go also.
My favorite way to simplify our morning routine is to plan outfits ahead of time. It works best for us to plan clothes a week in advance. The girls lay out their outfits and we use ziplock bags labeled with each day of the week to hold accessories. It only takes a little prep time on Sunday and saves us from a lot of morning drama throughout the week! (full post on our system here)
5} Control the paper! We all know that once school starts the amount of paper that starts coming home is insane! Don't let it pile up! Set up something in your house (file folders, a magazine holder, anything with slots in it) to hold important papers. I have used file sorters in the past but lately have been using my magazine holder (from Ballard Design).
Another way to control the paperwork coming home is to set up a homework station. Having a set place to store and organize all of the kids' art supplies and homework has been a life saver for us! Find a drawer/cupboard - anything that works and create a place to keep paper, pencils, and any other supplies your kids need for homework each day.
And the final way to organize your paper is to have a system set up for special work/art your kids bring home that you want to save.
Having a calendar like this is a great way to help your family see what's going on each week! Just one more way to keep everyone on track and things running smoothly.
Whew! That was a book. :) I hope a few of these suggestions gave you some ideas for you and your family. Happy back to school organizing everyone!