First, do a sweep of the house to see what essentials may be hiding in a junk drawer or the back of the closet. Then make a list of everything you still need and swing by The Dollar Store for cheap school supplies, suggests Kumiko Love, founder of finance blog The Budget Mom. “A 120-sheet notebook costs $2 compared to $4.20 each for a similar product elsewhere,” says Love. “I’ve seen price markups at big-box stores that range anywhere between 30 to 50%.” That’s crazy!
2. Create a mobile homework station
Make school projects easier this year by creating a station the kids can go to for all their essentials: writing utensils, scissors, glue, you name it. This will keep them organized and let you know when items are out of stock as all of the supplies they will need are now in a designated location in your home.
3. Pack a bag
Keep pre-made kits in your car, so you are always prepared. Fill one with tech needs like spare chargers and batteries, one with first aid necessities, and another with homework helpers like a calculator, extra pens, and pencils. Trust me, your kids will thank you when they forget their calculator at home and they have a math test first period.
4. Streamline the bathroom
Keep mornings running smoothly with an organized bathroom. Store hair tools on the cabinet door, and go-to products on a turntable. When everything’s in its place, you can grab what you need in a flash and know when the toothpaste is running low.
5. Label, label, label!
Between the bus ride, the long days at school, and extracurricular activities, it’s easy for things to get misplaced. Labeling every item that is part of your kid’s everyday supplies ensures their safe return. You can even skip the label maker if that’s not your style and purchase a water bottle and add a fun sticker on it.
6. Always use sticky notes
For reminders you just can’t forget, write it on a sticky note and place it where it’s most helpful. Keep a list of college application to-dos on a Post-It stuck to your teenager’s laptop or place a sticky note on the door to remember sneakers for the class field trip.
7. Prepare for the photo ops
They might groan and grumble now, but you know that these are the moments you won’t want to miss. Get kids to pose with a cute chalkboard sign for even more adorable pics. Future you is already feeling so nostalgic!
8. Own the after school snack game
Pull this rabbit wrap out of your hat for a healthy afternoon treat. For a super cute side, fill a paper cup with hummus and baby carrots (we used parsley sprigs for tops). Serve in a mini terracotta pot for an added artistic element. Additionally, fill Ziploc bags full of other healthy snacks to have handy for after school. Perfect for when they are running late to sports practice!
9. Plan ahead
Teach older children time management through “week-at-a-glance” planners. Before starting homework, have kids check their planner, assess their work, and unpack accordingly. As each to-do is done, it goes back into the bag to ensure nothing gets left at home the next day. This is also a good habit to start because during high school and college the work can be overwhelming without proper planning.
10. Create a Visual Schedule
“Children are more likely to thrive, be independent, and struggle less when they know what’s expected of them,” says Francyne Zeltser, Psy.D., a NY-based certified school psychologist and adjunct professor. That’s why she recommends making a weekly schedule that uses pictures, not just words. “A visual schedule helps children easily understand and manage the daily events in their own lives,” says Zeltser. DIY how-to: Attach a drawing or photo of each scheduled activity on an index card, laminate the card, and apply a Velcro sticker. Then add these to a weekly chart where you can post these cards each day. Custom wall calendars will help show all of your activities at a glance! If this is a bit too much, try one of the simple dry-erase calendars available at most stores.
See how simple these school organization hacks are? With just a little bit of prepping and planning, you can create a routine that is certain to be a great start to the school year. Try these tips and let us know how well they helped in the comments below!
Feature Image Source: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/tips/g2358/back-to-school-prep/
Nicole Gibson is a junior at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, where she is pursuing a bachelor of arts in journalism and theatre studies.