5 Hacks for Staying Organized This School Year

Summer is nearly over, and another school year is almost upon us. Back-to-school sales are everywhere, kids are bored, vacations are past, teachers are getting geared up, and parents are bracing themselves for the morning insanity. Get a step ahead of the game with these five hacks for staying organized when all the crazy starts.

1. Be proactive.

Back-to-school supply lists are already out. Uniform and dress codes are published. You know school is coming. Rather than wait until the last-minute to go shopping at Wal-Mart or order uniforms with the rush-shipping option, take a deep breath and plan ahead a little. Consider setting aside a day to get organized with supplies, clothes, shoes and snacks, and you won’t regret it the night before school when you can put on your “Parenting Win” t-shirt to celebrate that you’ve had everything together for a couple of weeks already. In addition, organizational regrouping has a healthy emotional impact (less anxiety, stress) for both you and your kids during the back-to-school transition.

2. Positively establish the habit of organization.

If you show a negative attitude toward school and its accompanying demands, so will your kids. A positive attitude goes a long way in having a great first day which leads to a great first week which leads to a great year. Expect that you will be organized and that your student will be, too. Encourage your students along when the backpack, lunchbox and binder come back in disarray, and help your kids to regroup. Doing this on a weekly basis helps nothing to get severely out of control. Once organization is established as a habit, you can reap the benefits all year long.

3. Remember that good routines lead to good organization.

You might say that routine is the backbone of organization. Practice, establish and be strict about routines in the beginning. Remember, you’re creating a pattern that you want to last the year. Even if the training of your kids takes more of a time investment on the front end, it will pay dividends when your kids are able to own the responsibility themselves. Feel free to practice organizational routines ahead of time rather than wait until the day before on this, and everyone will probably be happier!

Below are some ideas to ponder for your family as you get ready for a new year:

• What do you need to have done the night before? (make lunch, set out clothes, take a shower, finish homework)
• What do you need to have done before you leave the house? (be dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, eat breakfast, pack backpack, pack lunch, put on shoes, get to bus stop)
• What do you do when you get home from school? (unpack lunch and backpack, have a snack, do homework, eat dinner as a family, get to bed by a certain goal time)

4. Use alarms for stragglers during the morning rush.

We all know alarms are good for waking up (and possibly snoozing several times), but alarms and timers can also be set to keep everyone on schedule in the morning. Maybe there’s a timer going to remind everyone that 7:00 is breakfast time or that the bus will arrive in ten minutes. You may want to set a particular favorite song to play when it’s time to be doing a certain task in order to move everyone’s morning in a positive direction. However you choose to use an alarm reminder, mom or dad isn’t having to do as much nagging, talking and keeping everyone on track, hopefully making for a smoother (and happier!) morning for everyone.

5. Use back-to-school sale items to organize a project stash.

For any parent who’s heard the 8:00 request of “Can we go to the store to get (insert needed item) for my project that I need to turn in tomorrow?” this organizational hack is both a cost-saver and a life-saver. Some project stash ideas include poster board, Sharpie markers, construction paper, glue, index cards, poster paper and stick-on letters.

Although these hacks won’t guarantee that you’ll stay organized all year, they are sure to alleviate some of the stress along the way. Happy 2017-2018 School Year!

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