Organizing for Back to School
Now that the school shopping is done and kids are back to school, I thought I'd share some of my personal tips on the extra steps that help keep my family running smoothly during the school year.
1) A weekly calendar on a chalkboard hung by the front door has become on of my favorite ways to keep my family organized! I actually started this last summer to help keep sports on track and we kept it going into the school year too! It's not overwhelming for the kids while giving us a visual of what we need to plan for during the week. Use bright colored chalk markers to go a step further and color code activities.
2) Periodically clean out kids closets! This seems like a no brainer but without actually following through kids clothes can get out of hand quickly. We donate whats in good condition and save what can be passed down. In addition, I created a closet system that my boys have been able to easily keep organized on their own. First off, they don't have a bulky dresser in their room. I use a simple 6 - cube storage as shown below. Shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, and winter gear are all hung up. The rest of their wardrobe is as follows:
1 - Socks and Belts
2 - Underwear
3 - Play and PJ Shirts
4 - PJ Bottoms
5 - Shorts and Swim Trunks
6 - Pants
The cube system that I created with my boys has by far been my favorite! They know where everything goes and because they have 6 spots to keep things organized with, stuff doesn't get mixed up and lost as easily.
In addition to cube storage in the boys room, we try to make sure that everything has a place. This includes a shoe bin, art supply cubby, lego bin, and sport appropriate sports bags to contain equipment for each sport they participate in. When something isn't in use, it has somewhere to go!
3) With each new school year there is bound to be a change in routine from the year before. We like to discuss things like what time we need to leave in the morning, where we will meet for pickup, and what kinds of things the kids would like to eat for lunch, etc. By doing this, they feel included and eager to help come up with a schedule that works for everyone.
4) Our night time routine has become more strict however I have already noticed a huge improvement in behavior and attitude. There is absolutely no video games on school nights and minimal TV time. I encourage reading, playing outside, and playing or listening to music instead. Kids usually choose to spend their free time playing outside or relaxing in bed with a book. In addition, we always try to plan on having dinner together as a family so we have time to catch up and visit.
5) Last but not least is the ever so pesky laundry! I hate the mornings when the kids ask me why they don't have something clean that they need to wear. After too many days starting off on the wrong foot, I changed my habits and have come to enjoy laundry. My laundry system includes four baskets; one for the boys, the twins and I, daddy, and miscellaneous. When I see that there is a full load of a certain type of laundry I can simply pull what needs to be done out. This may seem backwards and you may wonder why I don't sort my baskets into groups like whites, darks, permanent press, or jeans and towels. That is simply because no one will ever sort their laundry, ever! I am the only one who will do it and decided the time it was costing me wasn't worth it. With my updated method, I can easily see who needs what type of laundry done and combine down the line quickly.
Happy back to school!