School starts soon, and we all know what that means… we’re back to a hectic schedule, kids losing items non-stop, last-minute-requests, forgetful little ones, and all the mess that comes with starting a new school year. The bad news is that most of these are unavoidable! The good news is that the week before school starts is the perfect time to get organized and minimize the whirlwind of confusion and mess that occurs throughout the school year.
Without further ado, here are some time and sanity-saving tips to get organized for back-to-school!
Label, label, label
Children lose things ALL the time. From rulers to notebooks, to sweaters or hats, if they take it to school, I guarantee you it will get lost at some point during the school year. When I was a kid, I made a weekly habit of checking the lost-and-found because I lost or misplaced items on a daily basis.
That’s why it’s important to label EVERYTHING. Whether your kids are lending pens to other students or accidentally leaving their mittens in the playground, at some point, you will find yourself on a wild goose chase trying to recover the items.
So think smart and think ahead: label everything your kids take to school, from small to large items. For school supplies, we like to use Mabel’s Labels, which are labeling stickers that stay on and can be printed with pertinent information. For clothing, we like woven labels that can be easily personalized and then sewed or ironed on to clothing items. Watch how anything labeled that gets lost makes its way back to your kids in no time.
Sync schedules on Google Calendar
As soon as the school year starts, so do events, responsibilities, parent-teacher conferences, and after-school activities. It can get overwhelming to keep track of everything that reaches your inbox or is sent home with the kids.
I breathe easy thanks to Gmail’s ability to sync everything automatically to Google calendar. Anytime you receive an email from school with a date and time for an event, Gmail highlights the date and time. By simply hovering over it, it provides the option to add it to the calendar with one quick and easy click. Calendars can be shared with your kids or partner, and they too can add events to the schedule.
My calendar then syncs to my smartphone, and just like that, I keep nothing in mind and every schedule and task is set in my calendar.
Looking to learn how to use Google Calendar? Learn with step-by-step activities.
Keep tabs on school supplies
Nothing can be more hectic than last-minute school supply purchases, especially if you are not organized.
At home, we made a huge mistake and only realized it upon my sister’s graduation: we re-bought supplies every single year… supplies she already HAD. We had 12 years’ worth of compasses, protractors, erasers, pencils, etc. Who needs to stockpile so many supplies?
That being the case, the very first step is to organize the supplies you already HAVE. Most of the items will be in a perfectly good state, some even barely used. Anything that your kids already have should go with them to school again. It’s a shame to waste perfectly good school items.
Next is to create a list of every item they will need. Most schools send necessary school supply lists before classes begin. Anything you already have at home or bought gets crossed off the list. Keep organized tabs on it all to avoid the headache of having to rush out to buy it.
Create a system for school papers
Papers come in non-stop from school, even though most schools conveniently use emails for most notices.
Keep a binder for any important papers that come in, such as teacher’s contact information, classroom rules, schedules, and so on. Having everything stored in one place will make your life easier in case you need to check back on any information.
For schoolwork and artwork, keep binders or a small storage bin for each child on hand so you can easily place the items there. Anything you don’t want should be discarded, and regular upkeep and review of the bin is a good idea.
Alternatively, you can take photographs of all papers, artwork, and schoolwork and discard the papers themselves. Keep everything organized by folders on the computer. It’s a great way to reduce the amount of stored papers that get collected throughout the school year.
Keep to plans
We all know how it goes… that first month of back-to-school, you excel at keeping things organized, being creative with homework, creating to-do lists and you are generally on top of everything. Then at month two, the organization starts dwindling, you lose the energy to keep up with everything, and routine and responsibilities start tiring you down. We’ve been there!
Re-motivation is important. If you feel that you are not keeping up with back-to-school plans, take a step back and analyze what is making you feel that way. Are you overwhelmed? Maybe there are apps that could help you with that problem or a simple conversation with a teacher or fellow parent. Are you tired and exhausted from the many responsibilities that schools add to your schedule? Consider taking a break for a week or two by asking for help.
All in all, revitalization is important, so do what you need to do to be back on track!
Original version of featured image courtesy of Freepik