Hi everyone! How did you all survive the first week of school last week? I have to be honest while it was nice having the kids home for the summer, we did need to get back to some sort of a regular routine so back to school has been great for that! And I’ve been trying to make it a little less stressful this year too by getting ourselves a bit more organized!
Yup, it’s true! Aside from the laundry pile-up, I’m a bit of a neat freak. As a kid I would colour coordinate my closet and I’m not going to lie I love a neat desk space and I am the queen of lists. So why is it that getting organized for school always got me unhinged?! Up until now that is because I’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to easily get the family organized for back to school this year!
- Family Calendar
Invest in an easy to use whiteboard calendar where you can mark down all the activities going on every month. I love using a whiteboard version because let’s face it, things can change and it’s such an easy way to update. Make sure you put the calendar in a place where you and everyone else in the family can see it. Another tip I recently picked up is to colour code the calendar for each family member! It’s an easy way to see at a glance what’s going on that day or week for that person. Thanks to this awesome tip from another amazing mom I know! You know who you are – brilliant! We picked up this great magnetic whiteboard calendar from Amazon that we stick on the fridge because we live around the kitchen. If you want something a bit nicer I really like this calendar from Wayfair and also love the look of this Acrylic Family Calendar on Etsy. Whichever one you choose, I can tell you that starting to use a family calendar seriously has been a game changer for us.
- Command Centre
Now speaking of calendars, another great tip is to create a Command Centre in your home. Now many of you are probably thinking, what the heck is that? Simply it’s an area of the house that you set up as an information station that’s equipped with everything the family needs or needs to know for the day or week. And you would customize it to your family’s needs. There may be a calendar, weekly menu planner, keyrings, clock, memo chalk board or whiteboard for messages and to do lists, mail slots, homework wall folders, library book slot, charging station, grocery lists, take-out menus. You get the idea!
Find an area in your house that is functional and that everyone in the house sees and passes every day. I really like front hallways and kitchen areas for this. I personally love the look of the Pottery Barn Build Your Own Daily System. It is a bit pricey though and I think you could find cheaper alternatives and build your own if you scope out some sales in the desk organization sections of Michael’s and Amazon too. I also found this Whiteboard Command Centre alternative on Wayfair. Say goodbye to scattered papers and calendars and notes all over your hose and say hello to the Family Command Centre. It is such is a great way to get organized and stay organized the whole year!
- Activity Bins
Once the school year hits so do all the activities my kids are into…you name it, karate, gymnastics, swimming, skating, they do it all. And it can be tough staying organized and knowing where all their gear is. We got bins this year for each activity and labeled them so the kids know what to pull out easily for that day. We also created a cubby system set up in our home using the Ikea Kallax bookshelf and this set of bins that come with labels on Amazon. You can place it in a kids room, playroom and nice enough that you could even have it as furniture in your family room or front entrance. It’s still stylish and works really well with our activity bins and keeping all our gear organized!
- Lunch Pantry Station
A huge time saver for us was around getting organized for lunch prep. First off I recommend that you declutter and organize your pantry. Next, buy some large storage containers that you can label with kids snacks so that you can easily access them when making lunches. Sure you can check out some of the higher end storage bins but really you don’t have to spend a lot on these. They have some great storage bins at your local Dollar store. Also invest in some easy to use lunch bento boxes that you can prepare at the beginning of the week. I really like these Bento Boxes we picked up from Amazon. We often use Sunday as a lunch prep day where we get all the snacks organized, and cut up veggies and fruit for the week. It’s really helped us get organized when pulling together lunches and has become a big timesaver for us. Plus our pantry has never looked neater!
- Homework Station
I know, it’s only been a week and I’m sure no one has had any homework just yet. I hope! But setting up a homework station for the kids is a great way to give them their own space and get organized around this too. Plus if you get them to help set it up maybe there won’t be as much resistance once the homework starts coming in. Find an area in the house that works for your family. It could be a communal room like the kitchen or family room if they are younger and might need help or a quieter space like a desk in their own room if they are older. Make sure the space is comfortable, functional and is a good spot for getting them focused. My go to for desks and chairs is usually Ikea but often get a lot of inspiration from stores like West Elm and Structube.
Also ensure to equip the space with everything they need to be successful. Depending on the kids’ age, include things like paper, notebooks, pencils, erasers, art supplies like scissors, glue sticks, construction paper and tape and rulers and calculators. If you have the space and the budget consider a computer and printer too. You can also include file folders and plastic storage bins to keep them organized! I really like some of these fun desk accessories for kids that they have at Pottery Barn Kids this year! But to be honest you can find a lot of great stuff at Walmart, Target, Michael’s and even the Dollar Store. I try and take the kids with me to buy supplies. By getting them involved I find they are more motivated to do the homework when it’s time to do it!
- The Drop Zone
No, I’m not talking about a new ride at the amusement park! I’m talking about creating an after-school drop zone for the kids. A place where they can put their backpacks, coats and lunchboxes after school vs just throwing them around the house! While many of us wish we had houses with a mudroom, many of us don’t have that luxury of space! So it takes getting a little creative! Think about converting a wall in your front hallway or even in your front closet to keep it concealed into a backpack drop off area. All you would need are some hooks and labels so each child has their own. Position them low enough so that they can put and get their backpack and coat easily on their own. And honestly you can get as complicated on this as making your own custom shelving area, buying an actual entry storage bench like this one from Wayfair or as easy as using some of these Command Utility Hooks that we put on the inside of our closet doors. Honestly, this has saved us a few times from tripping over those backpacks in the mad rush in the morning!
Ok guys I tried my best to keep it to 5 easy tips for getting organized for back to school but I came up with 6. I’m going to guess no one out there is going to complain about an extra tip that’s going to help you get organized and keep you organized and stress-free for the school year ahead. Am I right? Let me know if you try any of these tips and what you think! Plus I’d love to hear your tips too! Good luck to everyone on an awesome school year!
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