In just a few weeks we will be saying goodbye to the lazy days of summer. Our family will miss the sunshine and relaxed schedule of sleeping in longer and staying up later, but there’s something refreshing and comforting about a back-to-school routine and the rhythm of fall. Even though we still have a few weeks left to enjoy the summer season, now is a wonderful time to assess our organization and preparedness for back-to-school routines. Just a little preparation in advance can be the difference betweenu a smooth or rough transition into fall!
Here are 10 ways to jump-start your organization for success this fall:
- Streamline the Entry
The entry of your house is the perfect place to begin organizing before fall starts. Gone will be the outdoor camping gear and flip flops, and in will be backpacks and jackets, so it is time to get prepared for the transition. Does every child have a designated spot for their school bag, sports equipment and coat? If you don’t have space in the entry, look around for a convenient location. You might decide to create a landing zone in the child’s bedroom or closet for their belongings. Having designated places for everything they need will cut down on the entry overflow and morning chaos.
- Set Up a Family Calendar
Where are you going to keep those sport schedules and school calendars? You can use a cell phone or computer calendar if you prefer an electronic version, or you can find a visible place to post or file all the papers and calendars your children will bring home from school the first week. Find a wall to put up a large family calendar or bulletin board and establish a system for organizing schedules, holding papers, and displaying important reminders.
- Prepare a Workspace
Where will your kids do homework after school this year? Take some time to clean up a home office, bedroom desk, or set up a kids’ homework table in the family room. Start with a clear surface. Throw away any old, worn-out pens and pencils, and replace them with fresh ones. Stock drawers or baskets with fresh notebook paper, printer ink, and any other school supplies.
- Clean the Fridge
Give the refrigerator a deep cleaning. Put a plastic bin or basket in the fridge to corral healthy snack and lunch items to make packing a lunch easy. Hang a chalkboard or magnetic notepad on the fridge with a list of weekly breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas, so kids can help prepare their own meals.
- Organize the Pantry
Get the pantry ready for packing lunches and quick breakfasts. Clear out some pantry space or a cabinet drawer for supplies. Stock up on lunch bags, sandwich baggies, snack containers, napkins and a water bottle for each child. Take some time to organize and refresh the pantry or cabinets to be more efficient. Remove anything you don’t need, assess your shelves, add baskets to combine similar items, use glass jars for storing bulk goods, and add labels to keep it organized and ready for busy mornings.
- Clear the Clutter
It always feels great to start out the school year with less clutter throughout the house. Grab a trash bag (or a few) and go through the house filling up bags with any unnecessary clutter! Donate, give to friends, recycle, or throw away. You will breathe a sigh of relief the more you remove! Concentrate on bedrooms, kitchens and family spaces first so those areas are clutter-free and ready for the season.
- Address Kids’ Bedrooms
Kids will feel more organized and ready for school if their rooms are cleared out and their belongings are streamlined. Every year kids outgrow toys and end up with supplies and books from previous school years they no longer need. Let the kids be involved in eliminating what is no longer needed. Clear their nightstands and start fresh with only a few key items like a clock, a lamp, and a few favorite books. Help them feel organized and ready for the new year with under-the-bed storage, new baskets, an organized dresser, etc.
- Pare Down Clothes
If your kids have outgrown all their school clothes, it’s time to clear out the old. No use leaving too small clothing items in the closet or they might end up wearing them or being frustrated trying to find things that fit. Go through everything now and give away good clothes that no longer fit to shelters or donation centers. Go through sock and underwear drawers and make sure everything is stocked with clean items that still fit.
- Refresh the Bathroom
Deep clean the bathroom! Clean under sinks and in drawers. Make sure each child has what they need to get ready in the morning so they will be more eager to get dressed without your prodding. Hang a morning schedule on the mirror so younger kids can remember basic expectations on a school morning like getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair.
- Homework, Backpacks and Sport Bags
Last but not least, it’s time to rally the school supplies and pack those backpacks. The annual tradition of a new or cleaned out backpack makes a great transition for kids to a more scheduled and organized fall. Let your kids clean out their old backpack or if you are starting fresh, let them help pick out their new one. Get them involved in labeling everything and deciding how to organize their own school supplies and backpacks. Show kids their designated landing zone and where you will want them to put things after school. Talk to them about their school morning routines and show them their homework area. Letting kids be involved in the why and how of organizing will help them to be more successful in school and will cut down on frustrations at home.
Happy fall organizing!