The lazy days of summer are winding down, and school bells are once again ringing. Following are five back-to-school organizing tips to streamline your routine and help ensure a smooth start to the school year—for you and your star students!
- Pre-pack snacks and lunches. Meal prep can be incredibly stressful—especially when it’s left to the last minute. To save time (and your sanity), help your children plan snacks and lunches in advance. Set aside a specific day each week to shop for ingredients, and do all the prep work as soon as you return from the store. That way, you or your kids can just grab the prepackaged items and put them in their lunch boxes every morning. Note: Encourage older children to help with food preparation, too!
- Create a command center. Homework assignments, test dates, dentist appointments, piano lessons… It can be difficult—if not impossible—to keep track of your busy family’s schedule. Set up a central organization station in your home so you and members of your household can easily view important dates and upcoming events. Items to include: wall calendar, chore chart, meal and laundry schedules (see below) and bulletin board.
- Establish a laundry schedule. How many times have your child’s soccer socks or lacrosse jersey gone missing right before the big game? Create a laundry schedule at the start of the school year to help you keep track of these and other cunning articles of clothing. Include the day of the week and type of clothing (e.g., Monday: whites). If your children wash their own clothes, be sure to add their names to the schedule, too!
- Organize your mudroom. A messy mudroom can set the stage for disorganization in other parts of your home and life. The start of a new school year is the perfect time to clear away the clutter and install a bench, shoe rack and hooks or cubbies for backpacks, lunch bags and jackets. To help ensure the room remains tidy (and functional), encourage children to sort and stash their belongings as soon as they get home from school.
- Designate a basket for books. The cost of overdue and lost library books can really add up over the school year. Get ahead of those “This fine is coming out of your allowance!” arguments by designating a large, decorative basket for library books currently not in use. Encourage your kids to check the due dates periodically.
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