Weekly Quick Tips
Back-to-School Organizing Tips
Sorry, but we’ve all seen the television commercials for Staples and the CNE. You know what that means…
Just like a fresh box of crayons, the new school year is ripe with possibility….the possibility to create something new. Take advantage of the clean slate in front of you by bringing some simple organizing strategies into your home, making the transition back to school even more invigorating. Sound like a plan? Let’s go.
Establish fresh routines.
What’s working well in your daily routine…and what could use a pick-me-up? If mornings are chaotic, consider taking care of as many daytime preparations as possible the night before. Layout clothes. Pack lunches. Set out the breakfast dishes and cereal. Pack the backpacks. And so on.
Make your new systems kid-friendly so your young helpers can help you get things checked off your to-do list. For example, carve out a spot on a low shelf in the pantry to store lunch boxes and lunch making supplies. Then, have your helper be responsible for putting away his empty lunch box at the end of the day or even packing lunch. Install low coat hooks so your child can hang up his own coat and backpack at the end of each day.
Create a homework station.
If a task is simple to do, it’s more fun to do. Homework is no different. Decide on the best spot in your home to set uphomework central. Take into consideration how involved you need to be with homework and your child’s style. Does he focus better with people around or when working on his own? Is he better suited to sit at a table or curled up on the couch with a lap desk? Once you have a place picked out, corral together handy homework tools and supplies into a nearby bin, cabinet or drawer. Stock up on age appropriate supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, paper, crayons, markers, a ruler, a calculator, a dictionary, basic craft supplies and a pencil sharpener. Ask your child’s teacher for ideas on supplies to keep on hand throughout the year to avoid last minute trips to the store for special supplies.
Create a system for school papers.
There are two types of papers, those you need to take action on and those you’re keeping for future reference. Designate a convenient spot, like a command central binder for items you need to act on or refer back to throughout the school year. Items like classroom rules, schedules, class lists, and teacher contact information will be right at home in the command central binder ,and best yet, you’ll know right where these important papers are when you need them.
Do your homework every day.
That’s right Mom, you have homework, too. You know all those papers that come home in the backpack each night? Homework. And it’s yours. Once you have your paperwork system set up, create a homework routine to help you and your kids stay on top of everything. Pick a time that works well for your energy level and fits with your other after school obligations-and then dig into those backpacks and get going. Take action on any paperwork that requires your attention. Sign and return permission slips. Add important dates to the family calendar. Pitch school work you no longer need…and accumulate those you want to hold onto for posterity sake into your collection bin.
Create a communication hub.
Your communication hub can include a family calendar, your command centre binder, coloured markers, pens and pencils, and a notepad for taking down phone messages. Consider colour coding your family calendar by assigning each family member a color. If you’re a visual person who needs to see things to remember them, consider using a bulletin board for posting messages, invites and your calendar. Keep phone messages neat and tidy by using a family message book, a book used to keep a running tab of phone messages and notes.
Create a put-away bin or basket.
Keep household clutter at bay by corralling items into a put-away bin or basket. Assign one for each family member (mom and dad too), or collect everything into a single bin, and take turns on put-away duty. Clearing out your basket each and every day, before bedtime seems to work well, will keep clutter at bay.
Remember not to forget.
Create a simple system by the door to help you remember your new routine or special items you need to take with you each day: gym shoes on gym day, violin on music day, and snacks on snack day. Hang a bin or basket by your door to corral the items you need to remember, or create a fun little ‘don’t forget’ door hanger.
With these simple strategies, staying organized all school year is as certain as a fresh box of crayons on the first day of school!
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