There are a couple of topics that win the title for “most requested” when it comes to creating content. It’s probably no surprise since you’ve likely seen the commercials and been inundated with ads and store sales pushing products and reminders, but back to school season is a big one over at Rachel and Company. I definitely see a rise in requests for clients asking for help around the home to get organized for the upcoming school year. As a parent, I totally get it! There are lists of items to buy, clothing and supplies to get prepared, and maybe even a rogue backpack or two left to unpack from the last school year (hey, no judgement!).
While I prepare for my own girls to head back to school this year, I lean on the routines and tips that I’ve carried over previous years. I know that time is always limited—and during the school year it’s even more scarce—which is why I’ve created systems that I can depend on to keep my family organized throughout the school year.
7 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Family Organized This School Year
- Work backwards to create your morning timeline. We give a time limit for each task (hair=5 mins, breakfast=15 mins, etc.) to figure out how much time is needed to get everything done and determine the wake-up time based on how long everything will take so that we have enough time to get it done and out the door on time. We always build in an extra 5 minutes to account for something to take longer than normal (let’s be honest, we depend on this extra time most days!).
- Set up the fridge and pantry in advance. I've learned that my girls enjoy their lunches more when they are the ones actually making the decisions on what goes inside. Our fridge and pantry is set up so that the girls can reach in and grab an option from each category (fruit, vegetables, protein, etc.), so all they have to do is grab and fill. Each night I wash and set out their lunchboxes, containers, and water bottles so that in the mornings the girls can get started without waiting for me to pull out their essentials.
- Keep clothing sorted in color order. When choosing what to wear each day it’s helpful to keep an organized closet, especially on the days when kids are requesting a specific shirt or perfectly-coordinated outfit. My girls choose their own outfits, so keeping their drawers and closets sorted in color order (and by type) makes it easy to find the exact article of clothing that they want to wear that day.
- Make outfit choices the night before. There is so little time in the morning to be spent choosing what will be worn that day, so we find it to be helpful to select outfit (and accessory) choices the night. My girls know that if they make their selections in advance that means that they can have a few more minutes of sleep each morning. All options are sorted within arms' reach and in open bins, low hangers, and drawers to make it easy to see and grab.
- Assign a spot for your grab-and-go morning necessities. Dedicate a zippered document pouch or small bag for items that you need to take with you that day in addition to your handbag or work bag. Instead of remembering to grab a handful things (permission slips, receipts to make a return at the store, swim goggles, etc...you know how crazy it can get!) as you're running out the door, put it all into the zippered pouch so that it's contained and you can just grab the pouch to find what you need.
- Carve out 15 minutes every evening to get ahead. Before you go to bed each night, give yourself a window to focus on getting ready for tomorrow. When possible, iron your clothes, pack your gym bag, and prepare the school lunches so that when the inevitable hiccups in the morning (missed alarms, temper tantrums) throw off your schedule you are still prepared to rush out the door in the morning.
- Create a homework station. In my home, It’s important to us to have their frequently used supplies like pencils, scissors, and scrap paper in a central location that is easy to transport (I love to use caddies and bins with handles) so that when they’re done—or it’s time to clear the table for a meal—cleaning up takes only a minute or two.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.