Back-to-School Organization 101
Summer is coming to a close, which means school will be starting before you know it. Getting back into the swing of the academic year can be challenging for even the most experienced of planners.
What you need is a crash course in back-to-school organization. The following tips can help you get your home and kids ready for the days of homework and parent-teacher meetings that are just around the corner.
Post a School Day ScheduleIt’s easy to get out of a firm routine after spending lazy summer days splashing in the pool and taking weekend camping trips. However, a schedule is absolutely necessary once school starts back. Create a checklist that lays out all the tasks that need to be completed, hour by hour. Start with everything that should be done before school, such as waking up, making beds, eating breakfast, cleaning breakfast dishes, brushing teeth and so forth. Wrap up the checklist with after-school tasks, including doing homework, putting dirty clothes in the laundry room, packing lunch for the next day, taking care of chores, bathing and going to bed.
Establish a Family Command CenterOne of the best organization tips for school is to create a family command center. Place it in your kitchen or some other high-traffic area. That way you can easily keep track of everything — from the school day schedule and the week’s dinner menus to homework assignments and permission slips. Consider posting your school day schedule here, along with a chore chart to help family members keep track of who is supposed to walk the dog and who’s on laundry duty. While it takes a little time to set up, a family command center can save you a lot of precious mental storage space.
Put Your Mudroom to WorkClutter can get out of control in no time if backpacks, folders and textbooks get strewn about the kitchen or living room. When you’re thinking about organization tips for school, you need to create a place for all of the family’s school items. Consider turning your mudroom or entryway into a locker room of sorts by hanging hooks on the wall for hoodies, scarves and backpacks and by placing a shoe rack by the front door. Additionally, give each child a wall-mounted magazine holder or filing bin where they can store syllabi, workbooks, permission slips and even school-issued tablets or laptops.
Create a Place for School SuppliesIn the process of getting organized for going back to school, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of brand new supplies, such as scissors, glue sticks, fresh pencils and crayons. Unless this is your first back-to-school rodeo, you know that these items will quickly disappear if they don’t have a set place. Use a shower caddy or tackle box to corral supplies and create a makeshift craft kit. Or, if you prefer, place spare rolls of tape, extra sticky notes, colored pencils and the like in the compartments of an over-the-door shoe organizer.
Make Sure the Kids Have a Place of Their Own, TooFew children are thrilled with the idea of homework, meaning they'll be open to distractions wherever they find them. Help your kids focus and get down to business by designating a quiet room as the homework zone. Make sure you have everything they'll need to work — like pencil sharpeners, crayons, scissors and extra paper — so that they don't have an excuse to get up and wander the house in search of these items.
Have Clothes Ready to GoLaying out clothes for the next day can be a huge time-saver when it comes to back-to-school organization. Why not save even more time by having kids pick out their outfits for a full week? Create unique labels for each child and each day of the week. Use these to separate the apparel they’ll wear Monday through Friday. Alternatively, invest in a canvas hanging shelf with five cubbies for each of your children and let them use this to organize their outfits. Each Sunday, have school-aged family members pick out the items they’ll wear for the week and put them in their proper place. Don’t forget to have them organize clothes they’ll need for softball practice or dance class, too, as these can quickly be tucked into gym bags the night before. You’ll be amazed at how much added time you’ll have in the mornings thanks to this simple step.
With the help of some back-to-school organization, you could return to a solid routine before you can say “Winter Break.” However, the increased frenzy of activities your home sees during the academic year could leave you less time to follow a daily housekeeping schedule. If that’s the case, contact your local Merry Maids for a little backup to help save time during during the school year.
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