Since it’s beginning to be that time of year, today, let’s talk back to school organization, shall we?
I have to admit that I’m in denial that I now have a rising 8th grader and 6th grader who will begin a new school year in just a few short weeks (how did this happen?). Anyhoo…I’m guessing that many of you are in the same boat and would like to do as much as possible to set your kids up for success this fall (and to maintain your sanity as you shift into “back-to-school” mode).
So I’m sharing 10 back to school organization tips that will help all of us to set the stage for an organized school year. Ready???
BACK TO SCHOOL ORGANIZATION TIPS
1. Set up your Drop Zone
You know that tendency your kids have to drop everything in their hands in a pile somewhere just as soon as they come through the door at the end of the school day? A household drop zone makes that annoying pile go away AND makes it easy for them to locate those essential items that they need when they’re rushing out the door in the morning.
Aim to create your drop zone near the area where the kids naturally dump their belongings. Ideally, your drop zone will be the place you store backpacks, outerwear, sports gear, and band instruments.
2. Update the family calendar
A week or two before the school year officially begins, carve out some time to populate your calendar as much as possible with important school dates (e.g., vacation periods), upcoming doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities and family events.
It’s amazing how fast our calendars fill up during the beginning of the school year. Keeping your calendar current with your planning tool of choice will help you to successfully juggle all of these obligations and prevent you from double-booking yourself and your family members.
3. Set up systems for managing incoming school papers
Schools love to stuff our kids’ backpacks with all kinds of paper. Make sure you have a game plan for what you will do with the various types of paper that will soon begin arriving home each afternoon. Start by designating a home for school memorabilia and school art work.
You’ll also need to figure out where those actionable papers such as field trip permission slips will live. And don’t forget those reference papers that contain all of the details for upcoming school events. Need ideas on how to manage these school papers? Check out the systems that I use in my own home for inspiration.
4. Schedule a “Wardrobe Review”
There’s nothing worse than discovering on the first brisk morning of the fall season that last year’s fall wardrobe no longer fits. If your kiddos are like mine, they are growing at a swift pace and it’s likely that a back-to-school shopping trip is in your future.
But first, conduct a wardrobe review to determine the specific items you need to purchase during that shopping trip. This process involves sorting the items in the closet and having your kids put on a fashion show to determine which items are keepers and which ones need to be purged.
5. Make doctor’s appointments
Is this the year your child needs additional vaccinations? Does your child’s sport team require a physical before the start of the season? Now’s the time to check this task off of your To Do list.
6. Shop (strategically) for school supplies
By the time December rolls around each year, my kids’ teachers send a series of notes home to let parents know that the class is desperately low on several types of key school supplies. Take this opportunity to stock up on pencils, erasers, highlighters, and crayons for future months while you’re shopping for their back-to-school supplies. Not only will you save yourself time in a few months, by taking advantage of the August school supply sales, you’ll save beaucoup bucks!
7. Organize lunch supplies
If your child packs their lunch, another great way to prepare for the start of school is to corral all of your lunch-making supplies (lunch bag, thermos, food containers) together to create a lunch-making station in your kitchen. Also consider stocking up on the regular lunch staples ahead of time and taking a second look at your food storage organization systems.
8. Create a homework station
Designate a quiet area in your home for your kids to complete homework, and make sure it’s well-stocked with all of the necessary school/office supplies (markers, pencils/eraser, calculator). Setting up a homework station in advance will help your kids to stay focused and be productive once the daily homework grind begins.
I love this portable homework station created by Maggie over at Peas and Carrots. So cute and functional!
9. Establish routines
Establishing consistent daily routines at the start of the school year is a crucial step to help your kids successfully transition from the unstructured summer days to the highly structured school day schedule. Everyone’s household benefits from a having a morning, after-school routine, and evening routine.
I highly recommend using checklists to help your kids to stay on track with these daily routines. You can snag free routine printables here:
10. Adjust sleep schedules
During the summer months, my daughter typically goes to bed around midnight and will sleep until noon if I let her. Considering she’ll need to wake up around 6:15 a.m. once the school year begins, I suspect mornings are going to be rough in our house for the first few weeks. In order to make that transition a bit less harsh, I’m gradually shifting her bedtime earlier by 20 minutes over the next week.
Your child may not like that earlier bedtime during these last few weeks of summer, but their bodies and minds will be so much better equipped to learn during those first few weeks of the school year if they aren’t sleep-deprived.
I hope you find these back to school organization tips to be helpful as you gear up for the new school year! What tips would you add to the list?
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Image © Depositphotos.com / @ manera
Image © Depositphotos.com / @ ra2studio
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