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After the slowdown of summer, back to school season hits full force. For our family it’s even more condensed as our son only has one week between school years due to his year round track schedule. I barely catch a breath at the end of one year as we’re starting the next. Having clear back to school organization keeps me focused and helps me relax a bit more.
Knowing the school’s schedule is one of the keys to school organization. Print them out, write them down, hang them up. Personally, I print a copy of our school’s schedule and hang it up in my cubicle at work so I can reference it at a glance. I also find writing it all down helps. I use an academic planner from Day Designer that matches the school’s July to June calendar to manage our schedule. I write down breaks, vacations, extracurricular activities, my husband’s travel schedule, etc. This physical reminder to helps to keep me focused.
I recently purchased some colorful pens to add a little personality and help me better track it all. I found them in the Back to School section at Target – G2 Fashion White Collection (5pk Assorted) and FriXion Fineliners (12pk Assorted) – both by Pilot Pen. The G2 feature a smooth writing gel ink and have an elegant look with the Fashion White design. It’s no wonder G2 is the #1 selling pen brand in America – they are perfect for the everyday overachiever. They come in four point sizes and multiple barrel styles with an extra comfortable grip and smooth gliding ink in 27 bright and vibrant colors. I use them during my workday, for writing notes to the teacher, and marking solid appointments in my planner. All the things I want a neat permanent penmanship for.
The FriXion Fineliners are my fun pens. They feature smooth gel ink like the G2, but are perfect when I make a mistake. I completely goofed when looking at the kids’ fall soccer schedules and wrote down a wrong game time in my planner. Instead of scribbling it out or grabbing white out, I erased it and corrected my mistake because these pens are erasable!
Designated Drop Spot
School mornings can be particularly rushed and no one wants the added stress of trying to find backpacks, electronics, coats, etc. We established a spot in our foyer next to the front door for our son to hang his backpack during school days (when he’s on break it gets tucked away in a hall closet). He has room to hang a jacket as well during colder months and shoes are stashed in a basket below. This keeps all the basics visible and easy to grab on the way out the door.
We also set up a charging station in the kitchen for all of our electronics including his Chromebook. A basket behind the laptop stand corrals our chargers so we can all find the one we need easily. And, of course, the pencil jar beside it holds extra G2 and FriXion pens ready to write a note to the teacher, write the weekly daycare check, or to grab and restock a backpack or briefcase on the way out the door.
First Day Photos
As a scrapbooker, I have to take first day photos and document it. The week before school starts I make a decision on an outfit (or, now that my oldest has opinions – have him choose). Then I set up a haircut appointment. In the final days leading up, I make sure I have the sign we use each year pulled out and batteries charged in my DSLR.
Manage the Paper Clutter
Get control over all the papers and artwork starting with week 1. As soon as your child brings home schoolwork, thumb through it:
- Skim it and toss the excess. (Will I care in 10 years that my child got an A on a spelling test? Probably not.)
- Review and sign any paperwork that needs it.
- Photograph that precious artwork, upload to your favorite photo site to create a book, and then toss the original piece.
- For anything so precious you just can’t toss it out, use an oversized artwork box to store.
School Supply Box
After your back to school shopping is complete, head back to the stores during those clearance days where the extra school supplies are marked down. Stock up on items you know your kids will use regularly. Items I tend to grab at these times are glue sticks, spiral notebooks, composition books, lined paper, pre-sharpened pencils, and, of course, pens. Then store them in a single spot in your house. You can then “shop” this supply box during the school year – saving you time and money.
Now breathe easy. Back to school is here and you are ready with an organization plan to manage it.