I admit it: I geek out a little bit over the back-to-school routine. My Back-To-School (BTS) Euphoria symptoms can be traced back to grammar school. Back then, the smell of a fresh pack of No. 2 pencils and new notebooks–pristine, snow white pages that seemed to promise endless possibilities and demand superior penmanship–made me giddy. I would like to be cool and tell you I got over this by college. I did not.
Now I get my fix of BTS Euphoria vicariously through my children. No one is more jacked up about the back-to-school shopping trip around here than Mom. And while I don’t get to keep all the wonderful supplies and use them myself, I channel my passion into helping the kids get organized and setting up my own school year routines and supplies. My heart rate is picking up just thinking about it. I know I have a problem. I am not sorry.
Check out our favorite back-to-school organization tips and enjoy a great start to a new year!
1. Do your supply shopping early.
I’ve learned this one the hard way. A couple of times, I’ve put off purchasing school supplies until just a few days prior, only to find that the school supply section of my local retailer looked like a war-torn village. Generic crayons, rejected cat-themed folders, and assorted rubble everywhere. This is even more important if your child’s list is highly specific, e.g. a certain kind of binder tabs, a specific brand of colored pencils, etc. Go earlier when the selection is best!
2. Make a bulk shopping run.
Hit up your local Sam’s Club or Costco to stock up on non-perishable basics: sandwich bags, supplies you’ll need to replenish like loose leaf paper, and frozen or non-perishable grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options.
3. Set up a lunch packing station in your kitchen to make school mornings easier.
Create an area of the fridge and/or pantry dedicated to the supplies and food items needed to pack a healthy lunch. It will help you in packing for smaller kids and will help older kids do it for themselves more easily! It’s just one of several ways to make school mornings easier.
4. Create files for paperwork each child brings home.
Remember those great filing systems we talked about in iMOM’s Home Office Organization tips? Make sure you set up some for each child. We recommend at least two for each child: one for parent information related to academics and one for forms and schedules related to extracurriculars. You can also set up files for the work they bring home that you want to keep.
5. Create a homework station for your students.
It can be as simple or as elaborate as you see fit, but a designated space where all of the study supplies live can make afternoon homework time a little easier.
6. Establish routines that make after-school and morning rush easier.
Get your kids trained in the “after-school flow.” Teach your gang to go through a series of actions each afternoon to learn personal responsibility, organization, and to help around the house. We love the suggested routine on this chart! Also, create a nighttime checklist to make sure clothing, backpacks, lunches and after-school practice gear are ready to go for the next day.
Let’s Talk: What do you enjoy most about a new school year for the kids?
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.