It’s that time of year. Freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, glue sticks and folders. With all of the excitement of the new school year, I needed to get back into the swing of things so I devised some super helpful back to school organization tips. I hope they help you as much as they have done for me!
CALENDARS, CALENDARS, CALENDARS
There are two ways you could go when it comes to organizing all of the meetings, after school activities, sports, and more – electronic or old school.
I am all about the old school way of documenting appointments, parties, etc. There’s something about pen and paper. I think it helps me to remember as I am writing it down. My absolute FAVORITE planner is Erin Condren’s Lifeplanner.
I use my favorite erasable colored pens and color code events:
- Purple: Pellerini and SoFlo Moms related events
- Blue: Boys’ events
- Green: DBP Marketing events
- Pink: events for moi! (pilates, dinner with friends)
- Orange: family events
Erin Condren offers a LOT more than the Lifeplanner. I use the desk calendar in my office and have used it in the past as a wall calendar in our “command center” to organize the boys’ activities. Dry erase calendars are also a great way to offer up an at-a-glance view of the month’s happenings. I’d recommend color coding that as well!
Academic planners are a MUST for my kiddos. If they don’t write down their homework, then to them there is none. Writing it down, familiarizes them with what is expected of them for that day and helps me to hold them accountable. Erin Condren’s academic planner is not only adorable but super useful!
If you are not of the pen and paper variety, I highly recommend using an app that the whole family can access such as Cozi. There are so many great components to Cozi, but my favorite is that you can assign a color to each family member (including the dog). When you enter a new activity, you can assign it to the person/people it applies to. For example, let’s say my big guy has a soccer game and I am taking him. I will assign that to him and myself. That way, my husband knows who is taking who to what event.
When I make dinner plans with my girlfriends, he cannot give me lip because as soon as the plans are made I pop it into Cozi. It’s common knowledge at this point!
I also add my pilates classes and even things that may not necessarily apply to the family but may affect the timing of other plans, such as work calls or work-related meetings.
ALSO…if your kids are known to drag their feet in the morning think about setting an alarm clock or alarm on your phone to go off 10 minutes before you need to get out the door.
Stock your pantry or designated cabinet in the kitchen with healthy after school snacks that are in arm’s reach for the little ones. My boys love the Z bars and squeezable applesauce so I have a wire bin on one of the lower shelves filled with them. If you stock junk food, they will eat it…
I also provide a fruit bowl filled with apples, bananas and grapes on the kitchen table as soon as they come home. If they are in arm’s reach, there is a greater chance they will be eaten!
At the beginning of each school year, I purchase two inexpensive plastic boxes and label them with each kids’ name. As artwork and notable school work comes home, I ogle over it with the boys and then pack it away in the bin. When each report card comes home, that is my sign to go through the bin and make the final decision as to what I am going to keep for the long haul.
Another fun option to display the art work they bring home is to purchase lucite wall frames and change out the art as new ones come home!
When I first envision a command center, I think of it in mud room, but since there isn’t one where I live, I recommend finding somewhere on the way in/out the door(maybe in the garage). My command center includes:
- Shoe bin: I have one at the front door that looks like a leather ottoman, but is really a repository for their sneakers and flip flops. I also have one at the door from the garage into the house. Having these helps the anxiety of not being able to find your shoes when you’re running late to school.
- Hooks for backpacks: A must! When they first come home, they hang their backpack up. No bags thrown on the floor.
- Pinboard with important papers: I pin the sports schedules, school calendars, and other important documents.
- Hanging wall file: I designate one section per family member. Loose papers I find throughout the house, field trip forms, etc go there!
- Wall calendar: At-a-glance way to know what’s going on with whom!
- Hooks for key rings: No more “Do you know where the keys are?!”
Try to find a place in the home that is dedicated for homework time. It should be void of anything that could cause distraction, have great lighting and be comfortable!
We have desks for the boys in the play room, but sometimes they need assistance with their home work OR I need to make sure they are doing their homework, so I set up homework time at the kitchen table while I’m cooking for working alongside.
I put together a caddy with school supplies – pencils, pens, scissors, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, etc. – that can travel to wherever they want to do their homework.
If you have uniforms, school day mornings should run somewhat smoothly in this department. If your child’s school does not enforce uniforms (or even if they do), on Sundays pick out clothes for the week. I recommend using hanging cubbies likes these below. Each section can house one day’s worth of clothing. Don’t forget the socks and undies!