Make Back to School a Breeze: 10 Tips to Get Organized
Look – we get it: No one wants to think about back to school in July. It’s summer! We’re vacationing and BBQing and lazing by the pool. August is a million miles away.
BUT it will be here before we know it – and fighting the crowds at Target, only to walk away with the last generic crayons, is the worst. Get started now, and you’ll roll into the school year fully prepared . . . and truly be able to enjoy your last days of summer!
Check out these simple tips to get a head start on a seamless school year:
1. Get those supplies – now! Ordering online is your easiest bet; skip the lines and get your list delivered from Target or Amazon. Otherwise, head to the store early, and avoid the last-minute, out-of-stock panic.
2. Pack it up: If your school requires labeling, go ahead and get that out of the way. Use a Sharpie, or try cute custom labels like these. Divide up each child’s supplies into a bin or backpack (if you need a new one, JanSport bags last forever), then set everything aside. You’re good to go for day #1!
3. Wardrobe Refresh: Back-to-school is the perfect time to clear out the closets. Sort through your kids’ wardrobes, and donate anything they’ve outgrown. Then take inventory of what you need (I mean, you can never have too many socks). Stock up on affordable staples at places like Old Navy, Uniqlo, or H&M. And if you’re feeling super motivated, grab one of these outfit organizers – the perfect solution to avoid a 6am “nothing to wear” meltdown.
4. Organize your Calendars: Get a head start on the year by entering all your school events, holidays, and after school activities in a calendar. Google Calendar is great for sharing . . . create a calendar just for kids, and share with all their caregivers. Cozi is another option for digital calendar sharing (plus other handy features, like a grocery list). If you prefer pen and paper, try a magnetic calendar like this one. Or, set up a gorgeous organization station in your home, like this.
5. Set Reminders: On hectic school mornings, phone reminders are a saving grace. Try daily reminders for items you are likely to forget – for example, I have one pop up every day for my son’s glasses. Go through your calendar, and create an advance reminder for anything requiring planning – like sorting out child care for a teacher work day, or remembering to find a costume for spirit week. It’s also helpful to include deadlines, like the sign-up date for activities.
6. Establish a school-day routine: Having a set routine can make your mornings (and evenings!) much more bearable. Create a before-school schedule, from wake-up to showering to getting out the door. In the afternoon, set a homework time, chore time, etc. Sure, you won’t always stick to the itinerary, but having an agreed upon plan lets everyone know what to expect.
7. Ease back into school work: Now is the perfect time to remember that summer workbook that’s been hiding in the backpack since June (oops). Schedule in some homework and reading time each day, and help prepare your kiddos for the transition to full-time learning.
8. Rediscover bedtime: If your kids are anything like mine, nighttime routine goes out the window right around Memorial Day. Use the weeks before school begins to reintroduce school-year bedtime. And if your kids are older and sleeping until noon, this is a good time to start waking them up earlier. A gentle wake-up alarm like this one can help kids who struggle in the mornings.
9. Curate a list of lunches and snacks: There’s no need to create Pinterest-worthy lunches (although if that’s your thing, go for it!). But having a list of easy lunch ideas can save time in the morning, and avoid a PB&J rut. Have your kids contribute to the planning, and check out sites like Food Network, Modern Honey, and Weelicious for inspo.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: We can certainly try to do it all, but there’s a huge amount of relief in realizing – you don’t have to. If the shopping and planning is just too much, give TULA a call! Your very own personal assistant can take care of your supply shopping, calendar organization, teacher gifts and more. Give yourself the gift of extra time – you deserve it!