Sanity Saving Back To School Tips on Organization
Everyone has a place where everything ends up. Ours is the kitchen, just off the front door. The corner of the kitchen counter can be buried in school related paper work and mail in the blink of an eye. Doesn’t help that my fam has definitely been known to enter thru the front door and basically drop everything they own. Back packs, jackets, papers, shoes, socks, pants (no, I am not even kidding) and anything else that might be in their hands, feet or on the lower half of their body.
So my answer to this was (to take up drinking….just kidding – I barely ever have a drink) to give everything a home or place where EVERY LITTLE THING belonged. So I created kid friendly ‘zones’ in the areas things seemed to end up anyways. Instead of fighting it, I went with it, but in an organized way! This way each back pack had its own hook. Jackets, shoes, umbrellas they all had a place to go. It meant putting in kid height hooks for jackets and bags and a place for wet stuff. It meant not everything could be out of sight, but it could have a place and look neat and tidy.
Quickly these zones became our friends. It keeps us from being buried alive by paper work and forgetting important dates and helps to eliminate the pile of boots and shoes by the front door (where actually opening the front door is no longer possible).
These are the following ‘zones’ that we use the most:
- The shoe zone in our cabinet turned shoe shelf (thank you closing doors).
2. The baskets under the shoe cabinet that hold scarves mittens and hats. Baskets really are your friends (I am a big believer in no wasted space)!!!
3. A d.i.y. rock tray outside the front door for wet umbrellas and boots.
4. The umbrella stand (for dry umbrellas and shoehorns) directly inside the front door.
5. The boots lined up neatly at the bottom of the stairs.
6. The kids height jacket hooks. For each kid.
7. The backpack hooks. Everyone has their own. No fighting. No not knowing where it goes or where to find it in the morning.
8. The calendar zone. With our beautiful, new Conscious Family Organizer taking the lead!
9. The paperwork cupboard, conveniently located directly above where all the paperwork liked to hangout. This one is a game changer and completely due to my husband. His idea (and he made it happen start to finish) and it has made a HUGE difference. HUGE. A total sanity saver and I seriously do not miss the cupboard space one little bit.
10. The lunch making zone, with all the lunch making items. Our kids school has a zero waste policy and discourages any prepackaged foods. They also are not permitted glass containers and the containers they do bring, must be able to be opened by little hands. So finding the kids metal Thermos’ were a game changer for us. I have also found that my Anchor glass storage ware (to use and heat at home) have the same capacity as each thermos, so often I can be seen squirrelling away tomorrow’s lunch portion of leftovers before dinner even starts! Then I just heat it up in the morning. Add cutlery (we keep school cutlery in its own section of the cutlery tray) and add some fresh fruit and a couple other snacks to the bag as well and you are ready to go. We also have a refillable water bottle (plus an extra for days where it is forgotten at school) for both.
11. The artwork display. Hello string and cute clothes pegs. Seriously that is all it took and has been going strong for years. This way the kids have place to put any and all of their creative drawings or scribbles themselves. The kids or me can display everything special…we don’t have to limit…but later I can sort thru the keepers from the ones that have had their chance to shine and can move on.
I also keep one peg for time sensitive notices that I need visible as a reminder… papers that I don’t dare put out of sight and therefore out of mind. Things like the next upcoming field trip or the car insurance renewal reminder etc. This works much better than the corner of the kitchen counter where they used to reside and would tend to get buried under many other items and dug out week too late!
12. A spot for laying out clothes the night before. Sometimes it changes the morning of, but it doesn’t seem to matter, somehow it goes smoother anyways.
13. A predetermined location for library books or home reading to reside. I learned the hard way just how much time can be spent looking for the library books each week. I find each kids dresser works well or beside the kitchen’s fruit bowl where it will remind me of their daily reading. My oldest sitting at the kitchen table reading to me while I prepared dinner seemed to work well for us most nights.
These are just some of our favourite sanity saving ideas that we have implemented into our busy schedules to help save time and lower frustrations. So here’s hoping for a wonderfully organized year of learning and fun for both our family and yours!!