August 10, 2022
Three Things to Organize Before Going Back to School
When the calendar turns to August, my mind starts turning to back to school mode. What do the kids need for the first day of school, what do we need to do in the house to get ready, what do I want to tweak to make for a smooth(er) start to the year. If you have kids that are school-aged, you know that doing a little prep work before starting is the secret to a smooth and uneventful start. Let’s start small and choose just three things to organize before going back to school. The three things I start with?
Backpacks, shoes, coats
This is an area that can quickly become a dumping ground – wherever you store backpacks, shoes, and coats, take some time to assess the area and items and see what fits and what doesn’t and clear out the space. You can see more about our mudroom here.
We took out the kids’ shoe baskets, cleaned out the shelves with a vacuum cleaner and a soft cleaning cloth with a little multi-purpose cleaning spray. While I was cleaning, the kids went through their baskets and kept out just the shoes that they fit into and will wear. Simply eliminating the excess helps to keep the clutter away and it makes it easy for the kids to find what they need.
School & Homework Stations
The older kids have a desk in their room for studying and homework. They did a quick assessment of the spaces and got them ready for school. I find that a clear separation of schoolwork/homework is helpful for all of us. Think in terms of are these areas easy to keep clean as well as easy to clean up? Does everything have a place? Can the kids find what they need quickly?
I like having specific areas that work for each child but sometimes it’s at the kitchen table and counter with a homework caddy at the ready.
Closets & Clothing
Last but not least, I like to go through closets with each kid, sorting and assessing what they have and what they need, what fits and what doesn’t. Catch up on laundry and make sure that clothes are easy to find. If you have younger kids you can even lay out a couple back to school outfits to help them get ready.
What are your must-dos before school starts? Share them in the comments!
Need a little help with a routine and knowing what to clean and when to clean it?
Do you need a mindset shift? A little direction and routine? I have always argued that regardless of how busy you are, you need a cleaning routine. Routine, even if it’s loose, is everything when things get busy.
If you haven’t tried the Clean Mama Routine or even if you have but need a little refresher, the Start Here page is designed to help you get started. When you do the Clean Mama Routine you are already keeping your home CLEAN on a daily basis. The Clean Mama Homekeeping Planners and the Homekeeping Society Subscription are designed to take the GUESSWORK out of cleaning – everything is laid out for you with Daily and Weekly Tasks. I love sharing the Clean Mama Routine with you during the busiest of times because I know that’s when it really shines.
The lunch-packing drawer! I like to make sure I have a good supply of small napkins, towelettes, plastic/silverware etc. I also tidyup the baggies and other lunchbox organizers we use. And we go through our tupperware collection to make sure all tops still have their bottoms, toss any that are worn/missing. And then I also go through the pantry and re-assess my stock of lunchbox sides (like applesauce cups) and other fillers (lunch-sized treats, snack packs, etc).
One big thing that I adjust before school starts is meals/snacks/food stuff!! Making sure we’ve got what we need for kids who want to pack a lunch for school, prepping/planning breakfast items that are quick and easy before school, as well as snacks when they get home (because they’re hangry! 🙂 And also meal planning for supper for the week, which tends to revolve around sports & activity schedules. I use my crock pot a lot on busy nights like that, especially for evenings when everyone won’t be home at the same time or eating at the same time.
Set up email folders for each child, principal, superintendant/adm dept. As important messages come in, I move to relevant folder should I need to refer to any during the school year. In addition I have a hanging file for each child as a place to gather schoolwork that I wish to keep. Lastly, a 3 ring binder with pocket folder tab dividers that provide quick reference to bus schedule, class schedules, sports schedules, teacher contact info. The goal is to contain any and everything that would be necessary for someone to access if I was not available.
Everyone getting ready for school helps us all get excited …. from supplies to outfits to waterbottles and everything in between, there’s nothing like starting off on the right foot, beforehand, to wake up with a smile, pacing for success!
Woohoo! I’m right on track for the start of this school year! I also went through the meal menus i did each week of school to make note of food/lunch preps to be ready to go with the meal options that were the big hits with my kiddos.
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This is great Becky; thank you! I have a checklist that I like to have done in August before school starts. The weather can turn quickly here in NY, so I like to make sure that each child has the following items that fit:
Wind breaker, medium weight coat, heavy winter coat, hats, scarves, knit gloves, insulated gloves, sneakers, rain boots, snow boots, dress shoes, first day of school outfit, picture day outfit, Halloween costume, Thanksgiving outfit, Christmas Eve outfit and Christmas Day outfit. I don’t always get the holiday clothes this early, but I find it helps to have them on the list so I know to get that done by October. I also keep one set of seasonally appropriate clothes in a two gallon ziplock bag with their name on it in the car and one set in each kids backpack. Our school plays outside in the snow so I also have to make sure everyone has snow pants that fit. Obviously, I do as much of it in August as I can, but the really heavy winter stuff, dress shoes, and holiday clothes can wait until October if I don’t get to them sooner. 🙂
Our youngest child is long gone now, they are all in their 30’s but I liked bathroom caddies.Everyone had their own and it kept the bathroom neat and no one argued over who had used who’s comb. I was always a bit of a neat freak so this helped keep my anxiety level a bit under control.Even now with just my husband and myself I find a lot of these tips anf hacks helpful.
Lorelie Hordal Says
Where would I find the white desk in the picture?
Clean Mama SaysPost author
Pottery Barn Teen 🙂