What are the keys to starting the school year organized with your family?
I recently joined Janet M. Taylor on her “Got Clutter? Get Organized!” podcast to discuss my personal strategies for staying organized once the school year starts. We talk time management, tying up loose ends from last year, and how to maintain paper organizing systems during the school year.
ORGANIZING TIME DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR
- Start setting your school year routines towards the end of summer. Make a gradual transition rather than a quick change.
- Have a routine and work to stay consistent. Kids (and adults) thrive on structure and routine so the more regular you can make your routines, the more likely they are to stick.
- Be sure to choose a scheduling method. Whether paper, digital, chalkboard or any combination, just choose something. Make sure everyone is on board with and aware of the schedule and location.
FINISH ORGANIZING LAST YEAR BEFORE THIS YEAR
- Tie up any loose ends from the previous school year before this year starts. Go through papers, clothing, and supplies so you can start a new fresh chapter.
- Resale clothing shops will give you better prices and actually buy your clothes if it is the right season. So get those spring/summer clothes out now before the weather turns.
- If you feel overwhelmed with the papers from the previous year, strategize how to stay on top of it this year. Do you need to add regular cleanouts of backpacks? Do you need a permanent place to store papers and memorabilia?
CREATING A SOLID MORNING ROUTINE
- Having a solid morning routine will set your whole day up for success. Remember kids thrive on routine. Make sure they know what is expected, when it’s expected, and help to set them up for success.
- Remember to model behavior for your kids. If you wake up at the last minute, run late, and scramble to get ready, that is going to be “normal” for your kids. What are some ways you can tweak your morning routine to set a good example?
- Think about ways to help kids develop morning routines on their own. What life skills can they learn by setting out their own clothes? Or packing their lunch? Or waking themselves up? If you don’t teach and refine these skills, who will?
- Set your kids up for success by teaching them to be independent within the routines you develop together.
PAPER ORGANIZING DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR
- Set up regular times to go through and pare down the papers that come home. Whether weekly, monthly or quarterly, it is much less daunting if you do it regularly. As opposed to waiting until the end of the year.
- Create a designated home for the papers you are keeping. Once it is decided a paper is a “memory” place it in this place immediately. It could be a basket, bin, or folder. There is no right or wrong place. It just needs a place.
- I also recommend going through the memories at least once a year. Sometimes what your child deems precious in September may not feel as special in May.
And a final thought on teaching your kids organizing and time management skills. It isn’t going to be perfect right away. It might take a really long time for them to make decisions or learn the flow of a routine. But in the end, the life skills that they are developing will take them far. As a professional organizer, I come in contact with so many people whose parents thought it was easier to just do everything. And I get it. But then those kids turn into adults with no experience managing their time and stuff. So be patient…you’ll be glad you were.
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