“What? Why? It’s August!” You may protest.
Don’t I know it, but that’s exactly why I want to have this chat. You may not remember last May. You probably blocked it out, and I certainly don’t blame you, but let’s look back. Did you stagger through the gauntlet of spring concerts, parties, field trips and teacher appreciation week only to find yourself coughed up on the shores of June exhausted and twitching? With your last breath did you swear, “Next year we are going to be more organized”?
Well, I’m sorry to remind you, it is August, which means the drumbeat of back to school is growing ever louder. I know there are some of you who can’t wait to get back on a schedule and get everything organized, but for many of us, organizing anything is … Hey, put down that bottle! I’m here to help. We can do this.
- Coats, backpacks and lunch bags
- Shoes or boots, mittens and hats (for those in cold parts of the country)
- A place for kids to do their homework
It may seem like a lot, but if you break it down, you really only need to get a few systems in place to have your children coming and going with ease.
- Hang up their coat and backpack
- Empty their lunch bags
- Put away their shoes and papers
- Do their homework as soon as possible
Your job is find places for all those things. You may need to think outside the box, but you can do it.
One hook per child and the coat, backpack and lunch bag can all be taken care of.
An entry rug, Command hooks and boot trays were all it took. The mudroom for clients was in a tiny hall outside her studio, and the other, for her family, was in the corner of a study next to her front door.
Here is a great spot tucked in the corner of a kitchen with hooks for coats, lunches and backpacks and baskets to the left for anything else. It’s probably not right by the door, but it seems like a worthwhile compromise.
Remember, function is the priority over form. Pretty folders are nice, but a safe place for papers is the priority.
Sit down with each child and figure out a place that works for him or her.
- The week before school begins, go over the routines.
- The night before have them set all the things they need in their places.
- The first afternoon home, stay on them to follow the new systems.
- Make the first week like boot camp with the evening and afternoon routines.
Stay upbeat and cheerful, and decidedly matter-of-fact. It may help to write a short list for the before-bedtime and after-school routines. In the early days, you may need to patrol things, but you’ll be surprised how quickly the habits take hold.
Take a little time now to get these systems ready and then go enjoy the rest of summer, secure in the knowledge that this year you really are going to be organized.