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Isn’t it funny how just when you’re starting to really coast into the summer way of life, you’re already starting to think about back to school time? Some people dread it. Some people crave it. Either way, it’s coming for you sooner than you think.
I live in the northeast and we don’t get out for summer vacation until late June. Then summer stretches until early September. I know there are states that start back at school a full month before we do! That said, we start reading about back to school prep, and we start to see the signs in the stores, way before school actually starts. I’ve grown more sensitive to the changing of the seasons, and the back to school transitions, ever since Scarlet started and finished kindergarten.
In September, Des will start a new preschool and Scarlet will start second grade. (hold me – really!) I struggle with organization and details when I’m anxious. Transitions can do that to me. How can I help myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed by details and emotions, and often at the same time? I can do whatever it takes to feel more ready. I think that attention to detail with the back to school transition – concerning food and bathroom supplies and school supplies and clothes – and factoring in what needs to be replaced or updated, can be beneficial for the back-to-school jitters.
Ten Ways To Get Your Home Ready For Back To School:
1. School Supplies Inventory Time. First, check to see what your kids already have. Then, get rid of anything broken or worn out. Make a list of exactly what your kids need, and check to see if the school has provided a list over the summer. Then hit the stores with a defined list and buy only what’s on it. You will save time and money! Check what’s on sale and when.
2. Clothes and Shoes Inventory Time. I did this last night, in fact! First check to see what your kids already have in terms of clothes, shoes and accessories. Get rid of anything worn out, too small, with holes, or stained. Make a list of exactly what they need and stick to that list. About a week or so before the first day of school, wash everything that needs to be washed.
3. Get a House Calendar or Get Yours Ready. For us, it’s that looming project of a dry erase board for our fridge. I grew up in a family of seven, and we had a marker board master calendar. It was crucial to our well-being. This is the best way to keep track of everyone in the family’s activities, events, parties, etc. You can also add shopping lists, to-do lists and other sections. When the week is over, you erase it and move on. For us, a 12-month color-coded (for family members) works best.
4. Clean Out Your Closets. We have our house cleaned every two weeks, and we pitch in daily with clutter. Still, the front hallway and front hall closets become dumping grounds for everything. If you have a hallway, mudroom, or closet that everyone uses, invest in hooks for jackets and backpacks, and special spaces for shoes, winter clothes, sports gear, etc. If you build it – a special place for everything – they will generally use it. Use that same organization with your bedroom closets.
5. The Homework Zones. As Scarlet gets older and has homework, I realize how important it is for her to have her study area. We haven’t invested in a desk for her bedroom yet, but it helps to give her a special spot – without a television nearby – that is well-lit, and has clean flat space. We stock it with pens, pencils, paintbrushes, and paper. We have bins for artwork and school papers. At the end of the year, you can sort through it and recycle most of it.
6. The Lunch Zone. This will be my first year packing two school lunches/snacks. Des’ daycare provided it for two years but the new school won’t. Making sure both kids have nutritious meals packed is intimidating to me. It’s a big job! Keep dedicated spots in your fridge and your pantry for lunch supplies. Some use plastic storage drawers. Some use labels. Pinterest has many great ideas! As the kids get older, maybe they’ll have some good ideas to help too!
7. Keep Files For Your Children. Unlike the homework station, this one is all for you. Create a file system away from the homework zone that has permission slips, homework, report cards, doctor records, etc. for YOU that won’t get scribbled on.
8. Don’t Forget Chores. With summer travel and lack of routine, chores do get affected. Before school even starts, develop a chore list for every member of the family, factoring in extra-curricular activities, homework, age-appropriateness, and work. Finding that balance is important for all members of the family.
9. Bathroom Product Inventory Time. This probably gets more crucial the older your kids get, but we’re no stranger to it here! Have your kids help clean out the bathrooms of old products and accessories. Make a list of what you need, regarding toiletries, medications, dental care, paper products, etc. Then stick to the list and buy supplies.
10. Organize Your Bathroom. Did you know that families spend more time in the bathroom than almost any other room in the house? For back to school season, organize the kid and adult toiletries in marked baskets. Put them under the sink or use hanging baskets or plastic bins. Stock up on tissues and toilet paper for the school year, like with Quilted Northern®.
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