A+ in Organization

By July 30, 2013 News and Updates

It doesn’t seem possible that the school year is about to begin. Where, oh where did the summer go? Like it or not, the school supplies are out and it is time for you to get ready. Soon, your counter and table will be piled high with papers, and your floor will be covered with backpacks and shoes. But does it have to be like that? We believe that with a little bit of preparation you can handle the barrage of items and information that come with the beginning of the school year! If you begin setting up now and spend a few minutes each day, you’ll be ready by the time the wheels on the bus stop at your house.

The Necessary 411: Designate a place where all the important information will be kept. If you’re a tech-savvy family, you might choose Google calendar or an app like Cozi. For more traditional folks or those without a smartphone, a calendar and notepad on the refrigerator or wall will work just fine. With either system, the rule is to keep it simple enough to be maintained. The necessary items are a calendar with enough space to write appointments, practices, parties and major assignments; a list of important numbers such as the schools with teachers’ names, extensions and emails, and a place to keep things that need to be handled (permission slips, lunch money, etc.).

A Place for Everything: If you’re tired of saying “Put your backpack away, make sure there is a simple place to store it. It takes about three weeks to develop a new habit, so stay on top of it for a while and you will be glad you did! If you have space, install cubbies, shelves or hooks for backpacks and jackets; a bin for shoes, hats, and mittens.

Inspect Your Inbox: You can teach your child responsibility and make your job a little easier when you create an inbox (Many teachers do this as well). Keep a pen, envelopes, and paper nearby. Build the time into your routine for your child to put his or her papers into your inbox. This is especially helpful when you have more than one child in school, so you aren’t digging through backpacks on a daily basis. Sort through the entire box every day. Record new dates on the calendar immediately. Sign permission slips and write checks as needed. File important papers and recycle the rest. Those things that need to return to school should be given back to your child so they can put it away immediately.

Dealing with the Deluge: Every parent knows what a tremendous amount of paperwork, assignments, and projects come home every day. Before you know it, you can be buried. Be prepared with a filing system: a basket with a few clearly-labeled folders should do the trick. A simple system would involve a folder for current classroom news, one for handbooks and other reference items, and one for each child. Keep only what you may need later or sentimental items. Consider scanning or taking a picture of artwork or 3D projects; you can create a book later that your child will enjoy reviewing. Have a system prepared for items you want to keep, label them and put them away once they are no longer on display.

Proper Preparation: Have easy snack and lunch items on hand. If you prepare portions of veggies, fruits, crackers, etc., even a Kindergarten child can pack his own lunch. Prepare as much as possible the night before for smooth sailing each morning.

There are many things that you can do to keep your home in good working order as the school year begins. Though you may have to put a bit of work in now, you will save time in the long run! Visit our Pinterest boards for details on how to “pull off” some of the above ideas and keep an eye out for new ones. We would love to have you add your ideas as well! Email your name to spowderly@paramountmortgage.com and we will add you as a guest pinner

—–> In last week’s blog, we talked about getting ready for an organized school year. Hopefully, you’ve gotten the chance to visit our Pinterest boards for ideas on creating space for all that school stuff and for packing easy lunches. This past weekend was all about tax-free shopping for much of the St. Louis area. If you braved the crowds, then you likely have all your supplies at the ready and stacks of new clothes and shoes waiting for the first school bell to ring.

Raise your hand if you came home to put the new clothes away, only to find that your child’s closet and drawers were packed with ill-fitting, stained, and worn clothes. (Now put your hand down; everyone in the office is staring at you.) Today, let’s take a look at how you can calm another chaos in your home before school begins.

Prepare: Like an athlete gearing up for the big game, it’s time to mentally prepare yourself for the job ahead. Consider your schedule and your personality when deciding whether you want to tackle it in one day or break it into smaller jobs. Gather everything you need, such as boxes, bags, bins, hangers, labels, markers, etc.

Purge: Take everything out of the drawer, closet, or other space you are cleaning. Group items into categories: keep, donate, or trash. You may have to have your child nearby to try on items or tell you which things they no longer like. Be realistic regarding your child’s needs – one pair of dress pants will do if they rarely dress up. Be relentless in getting rid of items that you do not need or love. Consider giving items away to family members or friends, hosting a yard sale or Craigslist sale or selling to resale shops. You can also donate to local charities, such as Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, or contact one of the many other area charities; some will even come and pick the items up from your home. For shoes, consider the Shoeman Water Project, which will take shoes in any condition.

Place: When you’re returning clothing to a drawer or closet, it is important to make sure your school-aged child can maintain the system you put in place. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time cleaning up and looking for things. Keep it simple and use it as a tool for teaching responsibility. Visit our new Pinterest board for unique ideas on organization.

Plan: Plan now to plan ahead for the school year. Consider spending a few minutes each Sunday with the weather forecast and school calendar in hand, then lay out clothing for the entire week. Use hangers, shelves, or baskets to have everything ready for the week ahead.

Parents and teachers are counting the days until school begins. Again, we encourage you to engage in a little planning and preparation, and your home will run like a well-oiled machine on even the busiest of mornings. Join our Pinterest boards and share your ideas as well, simply email your name to Sue Powderly.