October 2, 2010

Helpful Organizing Tips - Back to School

So, school has been is session for over a month for some students. How's everyone doing?

In case you didn't get off to the most organized start, not to worry. Here are some tips for getting an A+ in organization for the rest of the school year...

Create a home for library books
A great way to NOT get them mixed up with other 'like' books in your home

and while you're at it...

Make a note on your calendar the day the books are due back to the library. No surprises means no need to pay a library fine.

Designate a home for school papers
Doesn't it seems like schools are the reason so many trees are chopped down each year? The amount of papers sent home is staggering and when you're not looking, they multiply like bunnies on your kitchen counter or dining room table.

An easy system to adopt is to have a spot for papers parents need to see/deal with and a spot for each child. This could be a drawer or shoebox--whatever works for your space and budget. Have each child place papers from school in the parent 'spot' and when the parent is done processing the papers (trip slips/lunch money/) it is returned to the child 'spot.' The child then places the papers in their book bag.

For papers that need to be referred to often, consider placing them in a binder or folder for quick reference (holiday schedule, class lists, etc.).

Designate a home for artwork
First it's 'scribbles' on a page, then finger paints and leaf rubbings come home. Soon, the artwork becomes 3-D and it's living on your dining room table. Before it takes over your home, determine where your children's artwork will live in your home. A folder? A box? Your child's room? Make your child responsible for their creations. They may surprise you with how well they take care of their works of art.

Have supplies on hand
Take advantage of back-to-school sales to save you time, money an stress throughout the school year. I remember when I was an elementary school teacher, Staples would sell mini bottles of Elmer's Glue for .10 cents a bottle in August. I would stock up for my class because inevitable by February, everyone's bottle tips were clogged. Another example--paying .59 cents for a pack of looseleaf paper in the summer is easier on the pocket than $2.49 a pack mid-year.

Know what fits (clothes)
As the seasons change, have a try-on session with your kids. No child wants to go to school in pants that are too short or wear shirts with buttons that pop open and be laughed at by their peers. Write down their needs on a post-it and put it in your wallet for the next time you're at the mall. For my son. I take inventory of all of his shirts to determine what color bottoms he needs. Right now I'm looking for navy blue and gray pants and I have his waist size and pant length written on that same post it. (Yes, I carry a tape measure in my purse! Did you doubt it?)

Prepare the night before
This is probably the most important back-to-school tip I can give you. If there's one thing you can do to stay organized, its to get ready for the next day, the day before. Make school lunches when you're making dinner. Before bedtime, have your kids place their packed knapsacks by your home's point of exit so all they have to do in the morning is put their lunch inside (as well as a last minute item or two) and they're ready to leave. A less stressful morning often leads to a less stressful day. Who doesn't want that?

Wishing you an organized school year!

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