It’s no secret – I’m a big fan of lists, storage and good ol’ fashion organization. I love making fall lists with autumn activities, and going back to school shopping for all those writing supplies and planners. I think I love office supplies more than clothes. So it’s no surprise I like to get organized for the school year. It’s the teacher in me. And if you work from home you’re as excited as me to get the kids back in a classroom so you can accomplish some tasks! Here are a few of my tips and tricks for getting organized this fall.
Get a Planner
I don’t care if its the momagenda, ban.do agenda, Google calendar on your phone, a bullet journal, plum planner or a 99c notebook. The first step to getting organized is keeping track of where you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do when you’re there. I personally use a bullet journal type system with the leuchtturm1917 notebook where I have some creative freedom, in collaboration with my Google calendar(s).
I find the Google calendar is really helpful when managing multiple people’s schedules. For instance, it helps me keep track of where my tiny humans need to be and who they’re with. Each kid has a color coordinated calendar, so I can see who is doing what and when. If another adult is responsible for them at a given time then I share that event with them via email authorization.
Okay once you’ve got your planner, get the school calendar (if you home school, get that calendar) go through and write down EVERY. SINGLE. HOLIDAY. every half day, every parent teacher conference, everything. If you’re scared of commitment do it in pencil, but trust me this saves so much time and it sort of makes me feel like a psychic when I open my planner and I already know what’s happening six months in advance!
Managing the Paper
I don’t know about you but I can not make room for the truckloads of paper my kids bring home. So, when I pick up the kids from school I don’t let them show me anything in the car. I have them wait until we get home and they can have a snack and bust out the backpack. They show me everything: papers to sign, awesome artworks, completed math worksheets and anything else they have. Before they leave the table, they have two choices; keep in the forever bin, or recycle. They will save one maybe two things a day if that, and they don’t mind tossing unnecessary work pages once I’ve looked at them. If they choose the “keep bin” we put it in a portfolio under the bed. I tell them it’s for me to look at when they’re not little anymore. Sometimes I have them keep stuff they would have tossed and they let me. Awards go in the keep bin. Journals go in the keep bin. Special items go in the bin. Everything else gets immediately recycled.
Another option for keeping papers and projects could be a binder with sheet protectors. My daughter’s preschool asked for a two inch binder at the beginning of the year and they inserted pictures and projects from the year and sent it home at the end. This is a really good way to keep the “good stuff.”
Managing After School Activities
For weekly events such as soccer practice or gymnastics, I like to keep a pre-packed bag at the door so we don’t have to look for each individual uniform or necessity. And I add these to the Google calendar so they’re already repeating on my weekly agenda.
For lunches, I make sure to have enough leftovers from the night before to help make a complete packed lunch adding just a few extra fruits or veggies. Breakfasts can be prepped the night before, and I make sure to include lots of protein and healthy fats (brains love fat!). I love smoothies but my girls eat eggs and muffins quickly in the morning. We actually eat in the car on the drive to school because my kids will literally take hours to eat. Note: I do not suggest this for someone who cares about the inside appearance of their transport vehicle.
Fall cleaning is just as important as spring cleaning! For back to school, we take the time to go though my kids’ clothes at the beginning of the school year. Many schools have uniforms which allow us to cut back on the additional apparel for the kids. We try on clothes that are labeled smaller than their current size. We try on shoes. We go through hand-me-downs. We donate anything that we can’t use. Hopefully by donating we’re helping someone else on a budget clothe their children.
The Night Before School
We put our shoes in the shoe bin as soon as we get home, so they’re ready for us to find in the morning. We have backpacks packed and ready to go the night before and refill water bottles the night before too; all of these items get placed by the door. Also, if you’re forgetful like me, leave the car keys in the fridge so you don’t forget to bring your coffee and lunch! (Do NOT do this if you can lock yourself out of the house!) The cool air from a fridge or freezer shouldn’t affect your keys in any way, as many people store batteries in their freezer to help hold the charge.
Oh, and speaking of the night before, bed time is essential. We try to get the kids to lay down about an hour before I want them to actually be asleep. This allows for calm down time, stories and back rubs. I’m not sure I’m suggesting anything unheard of but I like to think by putting everything into one place, this list will help create an organization routine for you and your family.
Hopefully, our tips and trick will help keep your family on task and organized this school year! What are your best organizational techniques for kids in school?