Tuesday, 21 August 2012

6 Best Organizing Tips for Back To School...

I love organizing for kids.
I really do!
I find when the kids are organized, the house just feels so much better. There is less stress, less chaos and less mess to contend with.
That is why it is so important to take a little time to organize and get some systems in place before a new school year begins.
It's time to look at what worked last year, what didn't work and change things up for the better.
My kids go back to school on September 4th, so this week is 'go' time for getting things in tip top shape.
Here are my tips for getting the kids and house ready for another school year.
{This is my 12th year of getting ready for 'back-to-school'.}

1. Do An Inventory Of The Kids' Wardrobe.
Weed out the too small, the stained,the ripped and the hated. Really...those things take up valuable space.
Once you have done inventory, then you have an idea of what your child needs for their school wardrobe. A complete set of new clothes is really NOT necessary....just fill in the gaps where things are needed. I aim to have a weeks worth of outfits and some extra tops. Shop thrift stores and sales for the best deals.{I write more about this in my post, "Wrangling the Wardrobe".}

2. Set Up Study Spaces.
Study spaces don't have to be just a desk and chair. My daughter loves her desk....
 but she also loves her lap desk for studying on her bed at night.
Although my son has a desk in his room too, he really likes this homework caddy that he can take around the house to do work where ever he feels like that day.{I used a silverware caddy for the homework supplies.} {If you would like to read more indepth on my set-up for this, check out my post on "Organizing Study Spaces & School Supplies".}
3. Buy And Store Extra School Supplies.
Yes. When you are ticking things off the school list, buy extra! Buy them now while they are dirt cheap and buy some extras to have on hand so that throughout the school year you won't be stuck buying things at crazy prices. Have a drawer or box that the extra supplies are stored in so the kids can find things easily when needed. Make sure it passes the "Mom, where's the _______ ? Test". This means if they have to ask, "Mom, where's the extra pencils?" for instance, that means that the box of supplies needs to put in an easier place to find!
4. Set Up A Launching & Landing Pad.
Designate a spot for backpacks and shoes and coats. This will make morning and after school routines so much easier and the house will be neater as well. I have our mudroom set up with hooks for backpacks, a shoe tray for shoes, and bulletin boards for every one's important stuff.
I call the bulletin boards our 'information station'. It doesn't take long for the boards to fill up with schedules for both school and after school activities, and birthday party invitations.  I hate, hate, hate these thing in file folders! I like them front & center so we can take a quick peek in the morning or night or whenever. {And if you would like to learn more about some other strategies I use for keeping things in place,  please check out "Tackling Backpack Mayhem" and "Creating A School Launching & Landing Pad."}
5. Let's Talk About Lunchy Loos.
Lunches should be nutritious. Period. If you are my kid and you are looking for a 'Picasso' or a 'Micheangelo' sandwich in your lunch....sorry...you got the wrong Mom!  I love my kids dearly! I love going all out for my kids for special celebrations like their birthdays and such, but you are  not going to find me creating sandwich masterpieces at 6 am  in the morning. Thank you. I do take time on Sundays to 'prep' my kids' school lunches for the week. Lunches at our house consist of a main course which is a  sandwich, soup or salad, or a combination... along with some fresh veggies and dip in little containers.
Fresh fruit of some sort also joins the party...and a drink and a treat...which can be a muffin, cookie or some other yummy.
My teenager in High School is extremely hard to pack a lunch for these days. She is not interested in taking little containers to school anymore. She wants packages that she can throw away. So, in the interest of making sure that she eats during the school day, I prepare a lot of 'grab & go' items for her. She also NEVER eats the school food and detests fast food. So I make sure the 'grab & go' items are nutritious like: fruit, veggies, greek yogurt, guacomole, hummus & pitas, etc.
And I recently invested in these 'fridge bins' {Bed, Bath & Beyond}, which I love. They are a great size for my fridge...and I really like the 'drink' bin. They also have a great 'grab' handle at the front, so you can actually easily pull  out the bin to choose an item.
To learn more, be sure to check out one of my most popular posts ever, "5 Easy Steps to Packing School Lunches."

6. Feed Kids Supper/Dinner After School If It Works.
Yup. I said feed them a big meal after school if you are able to...especially if they have after school activities/sports. Kids arrive home from school hungry...and they snack, snack, snack! I find that kids are the hungriest after school, so I take advantage and feed them supper before they scatter to the corners of the earth for hockey or skating {or work, in the case of my daughter}. And because they are famished at this time...I take the opportunity to load them up with as much fresh fruit & vegetables as I can! {If you would like to find about more about this...you can read my "Feeding Kids Afterschool Post."}

My favourite thing about this strategy is that I am not in the kitchen at 7 or 8 pm cooking or cleaning up after supper! Love that!

I hope you find some strategies to make the back-to-school crunch easier!

What is your favourite new strategy that you are implementing this year?

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