Are all your ducks in a row?

This time of year can be particularly daunting for children. Okay, okay, and parents too. Some of us are ready for our kids to be out of our hair with a stricter routine, not having to shuttle our lives back and forth from camp and family trips, stressing about constantly having sunblock applied and having less sticky children (no more ice cream melting down their arms!). Believe it or not, as the school year approaches, there are many things that can make this time of year more of a breeze. Let us help you get all your ducks in a row!

1. Back To School Shopping
My favorite task before school started was hands down, back to school shopping. However, before I was allowed to go shopping, I had to go through all the clothes I had for Fall and check to see which ones no longer fit. The key is: donate old clothes or move out hand-me-down’s and give them to the person that they are going to next (whether too small, stained, not your child’s style) before you get new ones. This way, once the unwanted items are out, you know what you need to buy as well as how much room you have to store them.

2. Get Your Calendar In Order
We can’t stress enough how much easier life is when your calendar is up to date. Here at TLD we all use the iCal app on our phones and computers where we enter all of our appointments we have for the week (work and personal, including the address). I make sure to have an alert before each event in order to not forget about it as well as remind me that it is time to leave/how long it is going to take me to get there. When you are juggling multiple children’s schedules, not just your own, it’s important to have them all on your calendar so you know who has to go where, when and whether or not you’ll be able to pick them up and have time to make dinner. This includes everyone’s extracurricular activities as well.

3. When It Rains It Pours
It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it? Be prepared for those rainy days when rain boots are required, umbrellas are necessary and traffic is treacherous. You will see what a difference it makes having your things ready the night before. Save time and avoid having to make multiple trips to gather your everyday things. Have the kids backpacks in the same place every night so that they’re ready to go in the morning. Have your mudroom ready (in an organized manner) for days when it seems like the morning is never ending and nothing more could go wrong.

4. Get Rid Of Clutter
I’m sure it’s not the first time you’re hearing it…clearing clutter will make your life EASIER. Rather than digging through your kitchen command center to find a permission slip; sorting and purging your paperwork regularly will make your life much more efficient. Before the school year starts, set aside some time to make sure that you have a working system. One way to make things easier is to assign each person in the household a folder for all of their important papers. That way, anything pertaining to that person is kept in one place that is easily accessible. Then set a reminder on your calendar to check your folders every Sunday to prepare for the week ahead.

5. School Supplies
As previously mentioned in our End of the School Year blog, now is a great time (if you have not already) to sort and purge all of the previous years school supplies (crayons, markers, highlighters, folders, etc.) so you can accurately see what you need to purchase and what you have enough of. Don’t forget to set up a system for all of their paperwork, artwork and projects that are going to make their way into your mudroom too.

6. Set Up Stations
Nothing primes your child for success more than having an organized work station. Creating a space for your child to do their work can scream success – without the noise please! Whether there’s a desk set up in your child’s bedroom or someplace in the living room, make sure this space brings a sense of calm- equipped with writing utensils, proper lighting and comfortable seating. Have folder ready to file any work that is no longer needed at school. One idea is to have a folder for each subject kept at home to easily drop these papers into.

7. Stock Up
Keep an extra supply of poster board, index cards, etc to avoid any late night freak outs when projects are due the next day and midterms are around the corner.

8. Plan Meals
Get kids involved in making their own lunch – establish a sense of independence. Use your Sunday’s to create a meal plan for the week– so you’re not scrambling (eggs!) last minute. You can get as detailed as listing ingredients for each meal so you have a grocery list ready for your next trip to the super market.

9. Pick Out Clothes The Night Before
To avoid spending too much time in the mirror when the bus is outside honking to pick your child up, have everyone set aside their outfit the night before. Are you noticing a theme? Set yourself up for a successful day by preparing the night before. This is one of the biggest secrets of how to live an organized life.

10. Spend Extra Time With Your Kiddos
Communicate. Find out if there are any changes in their schedule – maybe there’s an extracurricular activity they want to sign up for that you’ll need to schedule. Keep in mind this time of year can be especially anxiety-inducing for your child. Perhaps they were assigned a teacher that wasn’t their first choice or their friends are in a different class. Take the time to listen to any of their concerns and validate their feelings so as to avoid first day meltdowns and chaos.

Super Mom’s, Dad’s, Aunt’s, Uncle’s, Grandparent’s, Guardians- you’re now ready to help your kids conquer the first day of school. Let the start of the school year be an easy transition and set the tone for the rest of the year – organized and ready to go!

Written by Mia Salmo

Mia Salmo

Professional Organizer