1. Set up a filing system for the kids’ schoolwork before they start bringing it home by the armfuls. Create a folder for each child and store it someplace centrally located where the schoolwork tends to pile up. Perhaps you can store the folders next to the mail sorter or in an incline file sorter on your kitchen counter. When the schoolwork comes home, look through it and recycle what you can that very evening. Anything that might be worth keeping long-term goes into the appropriate child’s folder. Then at the end of the year, do a final sort of each child’s folder to pare it down to only the best-of-the-best. Store it long-term using these tips.
2. While you’re at it, create a place to store all of the paperwork students receive at the beginning of the year (eg. class list, snow day information, school lunch calendar, etc.) I like to create a folder called “2012-13 School Year” and store it in the same place I’m storing my child’s schoolwork folder. Both folders can be emptied at the end of the school year.
3. Make sure you have a family calendar that is accessible to everyone. As soon as you get your children’s school calendar, enter all the important dates (eg. teacher inservice days, late starts, vacations, winter and spring concerts, etc.) Never get blindsided by another random no-school day again!
4. Make preparations for breakfast and lunch on school days a snap. Carve out two areas of your pantry: one for breakfast, the other for lunch. Store kid-friendly breakfast foods like cereal and granola bars on the breakfast shelf. Store kid-friendly lunch foods on the lunch shelf. Watch how much faster you can get out the door when you don’t have to waste precious time asking yourself, “What should I pack them for lunch?”
5. If getting the kids going in the morning seems to require constant nagging, try posting a list of the morning routine on a dry erase boar. The kids can check a box next to each task when they finish it. No more asking, “Have you brushed your teeth yet?” The kids will know without nagging what they need to do each morning.
6. Do you have a place to post reminders? We have a small chalkboard that hangs on the backdoor where I can write reminders for the day such as “Don’t forget to pack library book.” It’s a great way to make sure important tasks and projects aren’t forgotten in the daily hustle.
7. You will read this tip in every “Back to School” organizing article you read, but it bears repeating: Make sure each child has a place to store his or her backpack, coat, musical instrument, sports bag, etc. This is KEY to eliminating time spent looking for these things every morning.
8. Enter new contacts such as your children’s teachers, coaches and friends into your phone or computer as soon as you receive your kids’ contact list from school.
9. Where will your kids do their homework each night? If they are young, it will probably need to be somewhere close to Mom and Dad. Older kids will probably want their own desk in a room with a door they can close. It might be a good idea to institute a family-wide “quiet time” each evening so kids can do homework without feeling like they are missing out on the fun other family members are having watching TV or playing noisy video games.
10. Still not getting out the door on time each school morning? Kids still losing their homework? Consider hiring a professional organizer (like me!) to come in and get to the root of the problem. Professional organizers are experts in time management and setting up routines as well as organizing spaces. It’s an investment in your family’s well-being.
Image courtesy of Pinterest.