It’s that time friends! August is here and summer is winding down. Are you cheering or crying? We have a little bit of both going on around here. :) Whether we are ready for summer to end or not, the new school year is quickly approaching and we want to be ready for it, right? Right. I had so much fun sharing back to school organization tips on the news. As a former school teacher and a lover of organization this happens to be one of my favorite topics! Below are my best tips for back to school organization. So sharpen your pencils and get ready for class. :)
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.
This is a great time to organize your own closet too! For no other reason than it will make you happy every time you walk in it. :) (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!
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).
I like to have a place for paper that “needs action.” These are forms that need to be signed, the b-day part invite you need to RSVP to, etc. Anything you need to do something with goes here. The next slot is for forms to save. And then I just like to have a place to keep papers for each child. I’m going to figure out different way to set this up in my new house so I can include child #3. :)
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.
I use a crate and file folders that are organized by the season (fall, winter, spring) to hold special work until I have time to put it in my kids’ albums.
6} Use a large calendar to keep your family schedule on track.
I just bought this fun desk calendar at Target – so cute, right? And I’m so excited to use it next year to organize our schedule. I have my own separate planner and Kenny uses his iPhone, so this calendar will mostly be used for the kids’ schedules. I’ll include things Kenny and I have going on any time it affects the kids.
I bought five different colored highlighters and gave us each a color. My idea of a fun evening? Organizing our schedule on a cute calendar with colorful markers. :) Now Ellie, for example, can look at the calendar and find all of the purple to see what she has going on. No excuse for forgetting a library book on library day anymore!
I copied a past month from our last school year to share this calendar on the news. I’m not going to include every day things like school, Kole’s therapy, etc. Just the extra appointments and activities.