It’s back to school, back to schedules back to activities, back to craziness and for me it’s back to getting my family organized as we kick off the new school year I want to make it less chaotic, less cluttered and continue training my kids to be organized and independent. Here are my one dozen back to school organization tips to begin the process of ending the chaos and clutter.
#1 – Family Meetings – Hold a weekly family meeting to bring your family together and provide an opportunity for family discussion, decision-making and keeping everyone in the know. Family meetings can also be used to dream, set goals, create to-do lists, discuss Chores, come up with meal ideas, find out peoples needs such as who needs shampoo or tooth paste and talk about what each family member has on their schedules for the week. Click here for additional information on how to hold a family meeting.
# 2 – Kid Binders – Our children will begin bringing home piles of papers from school and other various activities. How can a mom keep these organized and easy to retrieve when needed? Create a kid binder using binder dividers to organize each child and activity.
Label the different divided sections with:
• Each child’s name
• Each school your children attend
• Each sport / activity they participate in (soccer, dance, Boy Scouts)
• Additional categories you need for your children’s papers
Click here for how to create your own kid binders.
# 3 – One family calendar - Mom Calendar: The first thing a mom needs to organize for the upcoming school year is a calendar to record and keep track of her family’s daily schedules, school events, after school activities and appointments.
Be sure to include on your calendar PE, library and other days that your children will need to remember.
I suggest also picking up a variety of colored markers and assigning each family member one color to use on the calendar for their specific events and activities.
Weekly Checklist :
Use a weekly to do list for your kids to help them know what they have going on from when they have PE at school to what after school activities and homework they have each day by helping them to become responsible for their own schedules using a weekly to do list.
This will help them to establish daily routines so that they know what is expected – from the time they wake-up to the time they go to bed.
Are you tired of barking orders each school morning to get your kids to brush thier teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed and so on? Simplify your morning by using a morning checklist that you can print off weekly or print one off and frame it to create a dry erase board. Place the framed list on your counter each morning allowing your child to check off their morning to do list.
Click here to get your FREE morning kid checklist – two styles to choose from
#5 Prepare the night before – Train your children to prepare for their day the night before by packing their lunches, cleaning out and re-filling their backpacks, placing their shoes by the door and checking the family calendar. Also have them prepare for after school activities by packing what they will need into a sports bag, including snacks, sports equipment, water bottles, etc. you can even set the table the night before and put items like bowls, utensils, cereal, fruit, toaster and bread out to avoid a morning rush. Think about what is it that you can do the night before to ease the morning chaos.
#6 – 5 outfits – End the morning craziness by taking time each Sunday before your week begins to choose five clean and pressed outfits for each family member to wear for that week ahead. No more searching for that lost favorite shirt. You can even place all five outfits in a section of each family members closet or dresser drawer. If you kids are old enough to choose their outfits allow them to help in this process.
# 7 Lunch Box Notes – Get ready to write those daily lunch box notes by creating a an organized place to keep them handy. You can use a kitchen drawer or even a pencil box that you keep in your pantry or kitchen cupboard. Be sure to keep a supply of lunch box notes, post it notes and colored pens so you are ready to write that note to your child and tuck it in their lunch or backpack before they head out the door each morning.
Click here for a variety of FREE Lunch box notes that you can print out and use each morning.
#8 Money Labels – Do your kids take money to school for field trips, book orders, lunch and multiple other reasons? Mine do and I’m always needing to write out an explanation as to what the money is for and label the envelope. Now you can be even more organized with the money that needs to be sent back to school with Anything But Perfects free School Money Labels.
You can either print these on sticker paper and place them on a blank envelope or print them out and place inside a zip sandwich bag with the money and label.
Click here to get your FREE School money labels.
# 9 Homework Caddies – After the school bell rings and your kids have had some down time it is time for Homework – be prepared with the use of a Homework caddie or what I refer to as the on-the-go homework station. This can be used at home or while riding around in the “kid taxi,” going from one activity to the next. Create a do-it-yourself (DIY) on-the-go homework station to travel around the house or on the road filled with all the supplies your kids will need to do their homework
#10 School Paper Organization - In just a few weeks piles of papers will begin to reappear in our homes – those things our children pull out of their backpacks that create mounds in our homes with. Yes, I’m talking about school papers, you know the ones they just can’t part with. We all have great intentions of keeping control of them and taming the school paper piles but it seems to be an endless job that quickly gets out of control and with 13 years of schooling for each child that is a lot of paper piles to sort and keep track of.
How can we begin the school year off ready to control the piles before they begin? My answer is to create a school file box and use the Free labels and printables we discovered over at i Heart Organizing. There is a free printable a coversheet for each section that you can personalize with that years school photo and other details and then there are labels for each grade to use on the file folders. Click here to read more about creating School File Boxes for your children.
# 11 Drop off zone – Create a drop off zone where your kids are to keep their school jackets, shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes. This could be an entry closet, or maybe hooks and cubbies in your laundry room. Now when its time to get ready for school , everything is it its place and easy to find.
# 12 Tag /Label Your Kids - Label, Label, Label before your kids head back to school label all of their belongings – School supplies, back packs, lunch boxes, thermos, water bottles, jackets, sweat shirts, shoes, clothing etc.
It will make it easy for them to identify their belongings both when lost or mixed up with another child who owns the same item.
Purchase personalized labels with your children’s names to use or you can also use sharpie permanent markers. Luggage tags are a great option to use on on their backpacks, lunch boxes and duffel bags.