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clipboard organizing pinterest How to track your kids homework, manage their schedules and get To Dos doneIf you are a parent to a school-age child or children, Back to School Week is a huge week for you. It’s exciting, scary, expensive, stressful and thrilling all at once. And it completely tests your organization skills.

If you are a parent who struggles with organization, starting a new school year can be really stressful, because it means new schedules to keep track of, new contacts to remember, new items to store (e.g. backpacks, school supplies) and a whopping number of To-Do’s to remember (e.g. snack duty, buy posterboard, sign permission slips). If you don’t have a good system in place for these things, you and your kids suffer the results of being late, forgetting things and neglecting responsibilities. Not a good feeling.

So here are some ideas for setting up a system for tracking all of those things:

1. You will need to buy:

  • A set of stackable in-trays. You need one tray per child plus one for school notices. Label each tray.
  • One clipboard per child plus wall hooks to hold each clipboard. This will be for holding their homework. Label each clipboard.
  • A whiteboard for tracking To-Do’s
  • Consider buying a wall calendar. If you don’t use a wall calendar, set up a calendar in your phone or computer or purchase an appointment book. You MUST have a calendar  in some form to track schedules and to-do’s.

2. Designate a spot in your house as a command center for everything related to school. Usually this is a corner of the kitchen counter, but it could also be a table in the entry way. You will need flat space for the in-trays and wall space for the clipboards, white board and wall calendar, if you decide to get one.

3. At the end of the school day, teach your children to put their schoolwork in their in-tray, school notices in the school notice tray and clip homework to their homework clipboard. If this is too much for your kids to remember, start by having them put everything in their in-tray.

4. Then every evening, you go through their schoolwork/paperwork and sort it. Schoolwork that is worth saving stays in their in-tray. (I always recycle worksheets and anything that isn’t their best work.)

5. Read notices from the school. Enter any important dates they mention in your calendar. Also enter any To-Do’s they mention on your white board. Recycle the notices after doing this. If you may need to reference them in the future, put them back in the school notices in-tray.

6. Sign permission slips, report cards, and anything else that needs to be signed and put those back in your child’s backpack that same evening.

7. At the end of the school year, do a final sort of the kids’ in-trays. Put the schoolwork worth saving in long-term storage. Recycle all school notices and everything else.

The key to this system working is YOU working the system every day, no exceptions. No system on the face of the planet simply works by itself. YOU have to set aside the time to actually do something with all of those papers, to-do’s and important dates. It’s about creating that routine and practicing it over and over and over.

If you haven’t set up a routine like this before, it may take a few weeks of continually practicing it before it becomes automatic. Don’t beat yourself up if you forget to do it. Just remind yourself that this is new for you, and try it again tomorrow. Eventually, this routine will become a habit for you and you and your family will reap the benefits of FINALLY feeling like you are staying on top of things.

If after a few weeks, you find you cannot stick to this new routine, you may want to seek out the services of a professional organizer like me. I have lots of experience creating household routines for families that are tailored to their habits and needs, and I can create one for you too. Click here to find out more.

Let me know how this school system works for you. If you have questions or suggestions for improving this routine, please enter them in the comments below so everyone can benefit. Happy Back to School Week everyone!


10-minute organizing tips for your home

by respaced on July 29, 2014

clipboard organizing pinterest 10 minute organizing tips for your home

Most of us are pretty pressed for time most days. At least, that’s the most common reason people give me for their disorganization — they have no time to sort through their things! It’s understandable. It’s hard to carve out four hours or more to do a major organizational overhaul of a room.

So what’s the solution? Behold, the Power of 10 Minutes! If you can spare 10 minutes a day, you can start to see a major transformation in how smoothly your home and your life runs. For example:

*Take 10 minutes at the end of every day to review your schedule and to-do list for the next day. That way, you can gather together any materials you need to be fully prepared for tomorrow. You will also sleep better knowing exactly (well, almost!) what to expect the next day. No midnight panic attacks that you forgot about the kids’ dentist appointment tomorrow!

*Take 10 minutes at the end of every day to clear your desk off. This is such a great gift you can give yourself. Starting the day with a clean desk can make us feel inspired, energetic and creative whereas coming to work each day to a messy desk is like throwing an iron anchor around our emotional and mental selves.

*Take 10 minutes every day to sort, shred, recycle or file your mail. If you do this, you will eliminate the vast majority of the paper pile that accumulates on your kitchen counter.

*Have each family member pick a room and spend 10 minutes each evening tidying it up. If it’s just you and your spouse, I suggest you make those two rooms the kitchen and your bedroom, because you spend the majority of your time in those two rooms. If you can do a third room, add on the bathroom.

*Before the children’s playdate ends, have the kids spend 10 minutes putting away all of the toys. It’s a great way to teach kids about making time to clean up when they are done having fun. It also means that you and your family are not left with a huge mess after their friends go home (I know my son hates having to put all those toys away himself!)

*Find yourself running late most mornings? Try getting up 10 minutes earlier. Even if you are not running late most mornings, getting up 10 minutes earlier allows you to take your morning at a more leisurely place without rushing through everything.

It’s almost magical what a difference 10 minutes can make. Even if you only institute one of these 10 minute changes in your life, it will be enough to start you down the road to a more organized, more efficient and more stress-free life.


Organizing bedtime kisses and hugs

by respaced on July 7, 2014

My mama friend from Moreland MOPS is letting me post this picture of the schedule one of her kids made that outlines the order in which Daddy hugs and kisses each child good-night.

kiss hug schedule2 Organizing bedtime kisses and hugs

This way, each of the four children gets a chance to be the first one to get Daddy’s kisses/hugs at night. Nobody feels left out or less loved. How cute is that?

Someone in their family is a born organizer. icon smile Organizing bedtime kisses and hugs


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Easter organization tip for parents

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Cute little DIY organizing craft for the kitchen

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