Back-to-School Tips from Facebook Fans

Ahhh, Back-to-School….one of my favorite times of year as a kid!

New school supplies (yes, of course, all lined up and containerized) … the smell of freshly sharpened pencils… the endless possibilities of blank notebook paper… reuniting with friends from other neighborhoods… dressing up like a ham for the school play…oh wait, that was Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird… well, you know what I mean, don’t you?

My only regret is that when I was in school we did not have those cool shelves and magnetic locker accessories that are available today!

Imagine how much more fun kids and parents will both have if they are spending less time and energy looking for their stuff and getting things done, like homework.  Since I am not a parent, I asked my Facebook fans for input, and here are some of the great tips they came up with:

One of my best back to school strategies to take the week off before school to focus getting organized for school.  During “Mommy & Me Camp” as my son calls it, we work on getting organized in the mornings and do fun activities in the afternoon, like going to the pool or the zoo or mini-golf, so the week isn’t all work and no play!  It is a great time to get connected and grounded.  I empty my son’s room of toys & games to sort & purge.  Then do his books & desk.  I present choices of similar items (ex. stuffed animals, board games) and he can keep one for every one he releases.  We either donate or have a yard sale where he gets the money (I pay him yard sale value for donated) & this money he uses to buy what he wants.  This motivates him to let things go!  – Lisa Johnson, Albuquerque, New Mexico

My husband built me cubbies for my girls to use.  They put their backpacks, coats and shoes in one spot.  They come home and unpack their backpacks and put them in the cubbies.  Shoes go there too.  It saves time in the morning, because you don’t have to go running around looking for things.  You don’t have to have cubbies, I have a friend that has done a similar idea with hooks on the wall near the front door.  My other tip is that the girls must be dressed before they eat breakfast.  – Tiffani Lovell, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

I am VERY grateful that I got about as neutral of a boys winter coat as I could because it is going to save me a lot for my girl next year!  Not sure if that’s officially back to school, but I do think a lot of us go through the clothing situation.  – Elizabeth Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota

To avoid the afternoon kitchen table dump, provide each of your kids a laundry basket to put their backpacks, sporting gear, lunch boxes, musical instruments, etc in.  Once homework is done or lunch is packed the next day, everything returns to their basket.   Therefore when they leave the house they know exactly where all their stuff is.  – Fay Barz, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Make sure you get everything ready the night before so that you are not in a frenzy the morning of school to find stuff.  – Paula Whisenhunt, New Mexico

My biggest tip for moms is making sure you are organized *yourself* before the school year starts.  I go thru and purge my boys rooms of everything that’s ready to go… clothes that are too big, little junky toys that have been sitting around, broken things, books that are too young for them… and pull down artwork from the previous year.  I put all special artwork or schoolwork, random photos and performance programs, etc., from the previous year into their plastic bins under each of their beds.  Secondly, I pull out all of the contents of each of their ‘notebooks’ to be ready for the coming year.  Instead of files on each child, I find it easier to have a 3-ring notebook for each near my desk.  Each has already existing tabs, and in goes their new class rosters, info from their teachers, soccer rosters, new school handbooks, anything and everything that is related to that child.  I keep a 3-ring hole punch near my desk so that all year I can punch and put new important papers into their notebooks.  Makes it much easier to access things I need during the year.  I find if I file things I rarely ever see them again.  – Carolyn Weirick, San Gabriel, California

Back to school shopping is best done in July.  When school starts it is already too late and many stores have run out of required supplies, and then a busy mom has to go from store to store looking for an artist sketch book with at least 70 pages, etc.  I don’t encourage hoarding but mid-way through the school year teachers often request more supplies (magic markers have dried out by then, erasers have disappeared into the ether) and they are a lot cheaper now than later.  – Alisa Tan, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Happy Back-to-School, everyone!

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Copyright 2011 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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