Do those three words make you jump for joy, sigh with sadness, or bring on an overwhelming sense of panic?! It's hard to believe that the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Whatever emotion those words evoke, the reality is that there is a lot to get done in a very short period of time. Time to think of school clothes, healthy lunches, back packs, school supplies, and so much more. But don't worry – we at Organize My Chaos have donned our super hero capes and are here to save the day! We have scoured the globe looking for the best solutions to bring calm to the chaos of 'back to school'. Plus, there are a few of us with kids who have added our own best practices to the list when it comes to preparing for that big day.
Make sure you have the correct date for the first day of school. Full day or half day? Have you arranged after school care for the children if needed?
Ensure children are up to date on all immunizations. If required, make doctor's appointment.
What about after school activities? Time to register before it fills up.
Do your children need medications at school? Refill prescription before school starts.
Does your child have any issues that should be discussed with the teacher prior to class starting? Schedule a visit before the first day of school to introduce yourself and advise teacher of any special arrangements your child may need.
Was your child given a school supply list for this year's supplies? If you have the list, use it! Purchase school supplies now before the craziness of school supply shopping hits its frenzy in a couple of weeks.
If you are purchasing a new backpack for your child, make sure it is a comfortable fit with wide, padded straps to protect their shoulders. We are amazed at the weight of some of the backpacks kids of all ages are carrying around.
Do you need to purchase new lunch bags? Ice packs? Water bottles? Now's the time to do it.
Buy yourself a planner or calendar with large write-in spaces. Fill in all dates and activities for the upcoming school year now so you can avoid double booking yourself.
What fits? What doesn't fit? Out with the old, and in with the new. Now is the time to sort through last year's school clothes/footwear and see what fits, but most importantly, see what your child will wear. Trust us when we say, if they don't want to wear it, they won't. Instead of letting it sit in the closet taking up valuable space, donate it to a non-profit organization where someone else can get use out of it.
Time to shop! Back To School sales are everywhere. Start by choosing a few basic pieces of clothing that you can build on. Most of us can't afford an entire new school wardrobe for each child, but by being careful with what you buy, you can slowly build up their wardrobe one piece at a time. Another option is to check with 'new to you' stores. You can pick up an entire new wardrobe for a fraction of the price you would pay at a box store.
“What is this?” you ask. It's an area you designate to keep your kids organized whether
they are running out of the door for school, or walking in the door after school. Preferably set up by the door that is regularly used as the In/Out door. If space permits, a bench with baskets under it, and hooks above it, would be perfect. Each child has a basket and hook assigned to them. The basket is to store 'things' they need for school such as hats, balls, soccer shoes, etc. The point is to have a dedicated spot to put these items in order to avoid the morning panic of looking for them. The hooks should be sturdy enough to hold heavy back packs as well as coats. The bench is to give them a place to sit and take their shoes off – without having to kick them off and send them half way through the house....where they will remain until you pick them up. There is no set rule to making an organization station. The space available in your home will determine and set up for your station.
Bench or no bench? It really doesn't matter. What does matter is that it is an organized space for your kids to drop off and pick up their 'stuff'!
This is arguably one of, if not THE most frustrating part of getting kids ready for school. Here at Organize My Chaos we either remember disliking whatever was packed in our lunches, or have kids of our own who dislike what we pack in their lunches. How to stop the cycle!
Involve them in choosing the food for their lunches! It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, it really is that easy, and it really works. Sit with your child (children) and find out what THEY would like for lunches. What are their favourite foods? Are they a snacker, or do they need a full, hearty lunch? Do they prefer fruits or veggies? What about drinks? Food allergies to consider? We all want our children to eat healthy food, but a little sweet treat doesn’t hurt every now and then. How about raisins? Banana chips? Cookie?
Make sure to keep a list (preferably on your mobile device so it’s always with you) of who likes what and refer to it when grocery shopping. The same applies for after school snacks. It’s always a good idea to have a few staples on hand such as juice boxes, granola bars, etc. for those days when you need to throw ‘one more thing’ in their lunch boxes.
All too often kids get left out of making decisions that affect them. Giving them input into what they want for lunch can go a long way in making them feel like they have a say, and that what they say is important to you.
First and foremost don’t forget to have your camera charged and ready for the first morning of school! Whether they are in kindergarten or third year university, the first day of that school year will never happen again. Take the few seconds, and snap a photo. You’ll be glad you did.
Need more tips on getting organized for back to school? Follow our Back to School Pinterest board for regular inspiration and updates. Want a full overhaul as we head into fall? Please contact us and we will be happy to get you started! We can always meet you for a FREE 30 minute consultation in the comfort of your home. And don't forget, our blog always contains tips and tricks for your organization journey - and we have lists and other downloads available to download for free! We look forward to organizing your chaos!