There are certain times of the year that seem to have a natural “reset” button… a time when routines shift and we welcome a renewed perspective. The back-to- school season is one of those times. Without a doubt, a new school year brings a fresh start and more to your to-do list.
So, mom and dad, you’ve got some homework to do! Get yourself and your kids comfortable with the following organized habits before the bell rings.
Reset your internal clocks:
- Early to bed, early to rise. Get everyone back on a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and setting alarm clocks a little earlier.
Create a family message center:
- Manage calendars, schedules, and important papers by hanging a bulletin board in a central, well-seen location. It pairs nicely hung above a cubby unit. Everything in one place.
- Create an inbox for your kids to place papers requiring your attention or signature. Make sure your kids can access it, that they understand its purpose, and actually use it. Hold up your end of the deal by signing papers the night before and returning them to book bags ready to go in the morning.
Decide how you and your child will process paper:
- Establish file systems for both action and reference papers that come in throughout the year to avoid cluttering your countertops. For action papers (i.e. registration forms to complete, permission slips to sign, tuition bills to pay), a desktop file box or rolling file cart with hanging files work great to keep important papers at your fingertips. Reference papers require no action, so those can be organized into a file cabinet and do not need to be readily available.
- Set up a hanging file system to manage classwork and homework for each class. Keep the files nearest to the spot where homework and studying will happen. This is especially beneficial to older students!
- Prepare for incoming artwork, awards, and memorable school projects. To avoid letting projects overrun your home, know that any system will require “editing” at some point. Don’t feel guilty about letting go. You’re simply creating more room to truly appreciate those masterpieces.
Have a plan to eliminate morning chaos:
- The night before, pack lunches or set out lunch money, and lay out clothes including socks, shoes, and hair accessories. Have an idea of what everyone will eat for breakfast options in the morning. No last minute meltdown because you’re out of a favorite cereal! This all might seem like overkill, but don’t knock it until you try it. Come back and tell us it didn’t simplify your morning routine!
- Assign a home for each book bag, lunch box, and sports bag. When not in use, these items should always be found in this spot. Choose a place easily accessed by your children and closest to the door.
- Hooks work great for hanging book bags. The organizing moms at SIMPLIFY use the inside of coat closet doors!
- Cubby storage keeps items tidy and in one central location. Each child should have his or her own cubby space or two.
- Find a drawer or cabinet in your kitchen to store lunch kits.
Being organized gives you the greatest advantage over your time, commitments, and that daily to-do list. It imparts consistency and calm in our homes, which certainly helps our children to better focus in school and at home.
Here’s to a wonderfully organized school year!