It’s that time of year again… families around the country are preparing for back to school. It’s time to buy new clothes and school supplies, find out what classroom and teacher your kids will have this year, and think about new schedules. The laid back feeling of summer is going to end sooner than we’d like. But, before the school bell rings, read on for our tips on how to make this your most organized school year ever!
Lunches, Snacks, and Menu Planning
Nobody likes the frenzied morning rush! Mornings are so much more enjoyable when everything runs smoothly. How do you accomplish this? Try packing lunches at night. This is easy to do when you are making or cleaning up from dinner because you already have food out and you may have downtime while waiting for water to boil or dinner to finish cooking in the oven.
If you are shaking your head thinking, “well that would be great if I knew what food we needed and where it was located,” then here is the solution! Pick one day a week to menu plan and a different day for grocery shopping. Look ahead at the coming week’s schedule and plan accordingly. If you know that your kids have an activity that runs late, pick a meal that is easy to prepare and cook in order to avoid hitting the drive through lane. It’s also helpful to create labeled bins in the refrigerator for lunch items and/or labeled bins and zones in the pantry for snacks. This will help you quickly grab what you need and determine when you are running low on your kids’ favorite foods.
What can you do TODAY before school starts? Take 30 minutes to organize a space in your kitchen to centralize water bottles, lunch bags, Tupperware, mini utensils, napkins, and the oh so important notepad for writing the lunch “love notes” to your child.
Some of us love to shop for new school supplies and others love to shop for new school clothes. It’s almost a rite of passage, isn’t it? This school year, try picking out a week’s worth of clothes/accessories on Sunday night. Hang each outfit with accessories in a designated area of the child’s closet. Remember those crazy mornings of last year school year? Poof! They are now gone because your kids will be able to quickly grab their clothes and won’t waste time looking for clean jeans and sweatshirts.
What can you do TODAY before school starts? Take one hour per child and go through all the clothes in the dresser/closet/storage. Try on each item and create and inventory of tops, bottoms, socks, shoes, etc. Keep this inventory handy when you shop so you don’t run into the situation where you child has 15 shirts and one pair of jeans.
What can you do in SEPTMBER? Use this month to inventory what items your child may need for winter, such as coats, hats, mittens, boots, etc. At this point, the weather has cooled a little bit so they won’t refuse to try these items on for fear of sweat rolling down their little faces. Plus, if your child has a fall birthday, these items can make perfect birthday gifts!
How can there be so much paper coming home from school?! When my daughter started kindergarten I was shocked at the amount of school notices, worksheets, and artwork that came home on a daily basis. It was overwhelming! This school year, create a designated spot for incoming paper and artwork. Look through these papers on a daily basis for the ones that need immediate attention. Then, store the other papers in a folder that will be reviewed weekly. Establish one day a week to review the papers in this folder and make a decision to move it forward in some way. You can shred/recycle it, add it to a reference folder, scan it, or file it away in an archive box. Creating a flow for paperwork, designated containers and “homes,” and a timely follow up schedule will prevent future paper piles on your kitchen counter.
What can you do TODAY before school starts? Take 30 minutes to designate an incoming zone and an outgoing zone for school papers. If these areas are cluttered, clear space by bringing these items back to their original “homes.” If necessary, create a cute sign that says “incoming” and “outgoing” so everyone can get on board and familiar with the new plan.
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We wish you a happy, successful, and ORGANIZED school year!