Wednesday, September 12, 2018

10 Ways to Get (and Stay!) Organized for Back-to-School

Thank you Scotties Facial Tissues for sponsoring this post! All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

We've been back-to-school for about six weeks now, but we know many of you are just starting out. We have such a love/hate relationship with this part of our parenting duties. We love that our kids love school. Hearing about their days, seeing what they learn, and watching them grow is an amazing experience.

But then there is the other side of back-to-school. The shopping, the supply lists, the paperwork, the hectic morning routines, the lunch box packing, the meetings, the fundraising, and - our personal favorite - the homework. O.M.G. make it stop. There is so much that goes into coordinating those ten months out of the school year (nine if you're lucky and get an actual summer).

With little ones in preschool through middle school, we've realized we have to be super organized to keep all those little details in check. Do we still get overwhelmed and forget things on occasion? Absolutely! But here are some sure-fire ways we've figured out that help keep you organized as the school year starts, and carry you all the way to Summer!

10 Ways to Get (and stay!) organized for Back-to-School

Sound the alarm! 
The morning routine can be either the smoothest (if you have a child that pops right up) or the roughest (hand raised and waving) part of back-to-school. All those lazy summer days usually resulted in lazy summer nights. Therefore, the alarm clock becomes enemy number one the first day. 

To beat this try to start putting your kids to bed at their school year bedtime a few weeks before school starts and then try waking them up relatively close to their school year wake up time. Right from the start of the school year put an alarm clock in their room. Turn the alarm on each night and set to five-minute intervals. If you have a really slow riser, put the alarm clock across the room. Giving your kids an alarm clock helps them get in a routine and serves as a back up for you too. You know, in case your one of those who hits snooze and oversleeps on occasion (hand raised and waving again). 

We've even created a little toiletries basket to keep downstairs to speed up the morning routine. Right after breakfast, we grab our basket, do a little last minute brushing and then we are out the door! Every second counts!

School supplies for you, you and YOU!
When it comes to school supplies, channel your inner Oprah and buy school supplies for everybody. In mass quantities. And just when you think you have enough - buy more! 

In all seriousness, school supply shopping is one of the easiest ways to keep prepared for the whole year. Find a place in your home to store extra school supplies. That way when homework arises, or a project is due, you are prepared. Not to mention the multiple times a year you might have to restock your children's classroom set, or the teacher requests a new set of supplies mid-year. Having them on hand lets you be prepared.

Take note, file it.
Papers, papers, and more papers. If we could describe school in one sentence to someone it would be: All. The. Papers! Just one week's worth of papers can be a lot. Times that by two or more children and your countertops begin to look like a hoarder's daydream. 

Get your self prepped before the school year and find pocket folders or binders and label them to keep your children organized. Go through them each day (that's right, we said day!) and throw away anything unnecessary. 

Trust us, you totally don't need that macaroni art six months from now. 

Keep a file box at home, with different subject tabs. File anything important that your child might need throughout the year, and then at the end of each quarter empty it out again. Then at the end of the year determine what you need to keep and what you can throw away (hint: all of it). 

Store backpacks and shoes in a cubby. 
Whether you have a mudroom, a backpack wall, or cute little baskets on the stairs. However, you decide to do it find a home for backpacks and shoes. A home that's not your counter. Or your dining room. Or the middle of your kitchen floor. 

Having a designated spot for your children to put their backpacks and shoes will mean, 1: They will always be able to find them, and 2: You won't have them cluttering up your space, which as well all know is the bane of a mom's existence.

Organize your car. 
Make your car like a mini rolling tiny home. Purchase some behind the seat or in-between the seat organizers. Put a little stash of school supplies, some tissues, and even some grab & go snacks. These come in handy more than you want to admit. Sometimes a project needs a little last minute touch up in carpool line. Sometimes you need to get homework done on the way to soccer practice and in between violin lessons. Sometimes your middle child realized they didn't pack a school snack. Something will inevitably come up, and equipping your mom-mobile will be the easiest way to stay on top of those unexpected times. 

Set up an afternoon snack station. 
The minute those tiny little feet hit the last step on the bus, a hunger seems to wash over them like they haven't eaten since birth. Set up a snack station with a mixture of healthy and filling snacks. A place your kids know they can go to grab something to eat before heading into their after-school routine. It eliminates them rummaging for things you don't want them to eat, and if they have friends come over it gives everyone one set place to choose snacks from.

Be prepared for war, not battle, against germs. 
Back-to-school means back to germs. It's just a way of life. There's no need to go overboard about germs, but there are definite ways to go ahead and prepare for it. Have tissues, and hand sanitizer set out in strategic locations all over your house. Go ahead and add a set to your car while you are at it.

We love these back-to-school boxes from Scotties tissues! Scotties always has a wide selection of options that fit into your everyday home decor without sticking out, but these are just plain fun for back-to-school. We love the colorful box designs, that they are easy to store, and can stand up to even the worst of sneezes. Trust us, you want something strong to battle kid snot. 

Having them strategically placed around the areas the kids hang out helps remind them to actually use one rather than their hand or their sleeve when the unfortunate time comes.

Dedicate a homework area. 
Find an area in your home to designate as the homework area. Preferably a space that is quiet and distraction free. Having a clear view of the TV while your oldest is playing Fortnite - not a winner. 

Having a set space prepped for homework with all the essentials helps make it go smoother in the long run.

Prep meals ahead of time. 
Nothing is worse than trying to make dinner on the fly after a late night practice or game. You're tired. Kids are hungry. Homework, dinner making, and showers make bedtime seem so far away. It's the recipe for disaster (see what we did there?). 

Planning and prepping meals ahead of time might seem like an arduous task, but in the long run, it helps alleviate a ton of stress. We are suckers for a good doubled crockpot recipe to help us squeak out an extra meal or two for the week. Being able to walk in and just hit a quick reheat button on the microwave after a long day - priceless! 

Catch the late night fashion show. 
Okay, maybe not a fashion show. But, before bed, have your little ones layout their outfit for the next day. (Bonus points if you have them sleep in it. Kidding. Sort of.)

This saves a ton of time in the morning, and alleviates any of that, "I have nothing to wear!" battle if you have time to help them prepare the night before. It also helps you be prepared in case suddenly your child realizes they need to wear a red shirt for school the next day, but you haven't done the reds wash yet. Having 8 hours to do a wash is way better than 8 minutes.  

Do you have any tips for staying organized for back-to-school and beyond? What works for your family? Share with us! 

Bless you, and Win! 

Our friends at Scotties wanted to help you be prepared for the school year too! We are teaming up to give one lucky reader a set of their amazing tissues. Leave a comment below sharing one back-to-school tip you have, and you'll be entered to win!

Also check out Scotties' own blog, where they Bring Comfort Home with special home decor and budget-friendly tips!

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