Disclosure :: This post was sponsored by In Line Organizing and written by Anna Napier.
The Ultimate Guide To Simplifying The School Year :: Sustainable Systems That Last Beyond August
We all know outfit planning, lunch prep, and homework routines are hot tips this time of year, but what about coordinating the chaotic afternoon schedules, remembering the soccer snacks, and sorting the stacks of papers? It’s all too much. How can we slow down the madness and simplify? I’ve got you covered.
Here’s the ultimate guide to achieving an organized and stress-free school year:
Stop the Stacks
What is it about school being in session that makes piles and piles of paper appear on our countertops? Here are a few simple systems that will reduce the dreaded paper mountains:
- Digitize- Snap a picture of information sheets, lunch menus, field trip forms, etc. Create a shared photo album with family members and upload the pictures so the whole family can access the information at home or on the go.
- Drop Zone- Designate a drop zone with labeled bins for easy paper sorting:
- To File – Drop the adorable handprint art, report cards, cute journal entries, and award certificates here to be filed later.
- Needs Attention – School reminders, dress-up day details, t-shirt order forms, permission slips, etc. This is the important, time-sensitive stack!
- Trash – Worksheets, coloring pages, and last week’s math homework can be thrown away. You have permission. There is no need to pile these papers on the kitchen counter for two more weeks before throwing them away because you feel overwhelmed. Make a habit of stopping the stack; throw it away immediately.
- Keepsake Box
- All you need is a hanging file box and hanging file folders to create a ready-to-go storage system for each child’s school keepsakes.
- Label the folders to include filing categories for now and later: Baby, Toddler, Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st – 12th Grades, Report Cards, Awards, Activities, Sports, Cards, Photos, Medical, Trips, and more.
Love a List
- Delegate basic responsibilities by making a short list for each member of the family. Gone are the days of expecting your children to guess what needs to be done each day or assuming they remember because you told them yesterday (one hundred times). From Pre-K babies to high school young adults, everyone benefits from a clear and concise task list.
- Divide lists into morning and afternoon responsibilities to make expectations during each part of the day clear to see. No more, “Oh, yeah, I need 200 popsicle sticks for tomorrow,” at 10:30pm or “but I thought you were going to make my lunch” as you run out the door in the morning.
- Keep in mind, the list does not need to be fancy. A post-it note on the fridge gets the job done. Make it simple. No need to overthink it.
- Establish an area where daily/weekly/monthly activities and events can be seen by the whole family. It can be a digital calendar shared through an app or paper calendar taped to the fridge. As long as the information is found in the same place each week, there is no wrong way to share it. Mom shouldn’t be the only one keeping track. Loop everyone in and lighten the load!
Consistency is Key
If you take away only one organization tip, let it be this: Establish a routine and stay consistent.
Putting in the work on the front end helps establish routines that can be maintained long-term, ultimately preventing chaos from creeping back into your life. You may have to throw out quite a few reminders the first couple of days (or weeks, let’s be real). Organization, like many other aspects of life, requires consistency—especially in the beginning. Putting in the work to teach routines, expectations, and responsibilities this August will make your home operate smoother all the way to May.
Countdown to Summer 2024 starts now! Too soon?
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About The Author
Hi there – Anna here! I was born and raised in Hattiesburg, MS, but have been a Louisiana transplant for the last 10 years. I am a lover of travel, chips and dip, a few glasses of wine, and conversations with friends that range from discussing the latest reality TV drama to digging deep into life’s goals and challenges. I own In Line Organizing, a professional organizing business based in Lafayette and Covington. As a working mom of two beautifully wild boys, I understand the challenges of balancing family life while maintaining an orderly home. I am a firm believer that having an organized home does not mean it is “always tidy,” but rather “easily tidied.” Organization, when done right, is about simplicity, not perfection. Join me as I share tips and tricks toward establishing a more organized and stress-free lifestyle, where every element of life falls neatly In Line.