Back to school
august 15, 2019
Poof! Just like that, Summer has come and gone. The sunshine, lake trips, family time - so many unforgettable memories. I think I can speak for everyone when I say it went by WAY too fast - but doesn't it always? Maybe I'm just bitter about the inevitable cold weather coming. Anyway... back to school, back to work and back to routine. I'm a self-diagnosed over-organizer, but that is truly what keeps our house, kids and schedules in order when school starts back up. I know, I know - we all dream of every room in our home being spotless and clean but sometimes with kids, (husbands), and pets, it's not always realistic. So let's start with a few spaces at a time. I've picked the three areas in our house that are most affected when school and the cooler weather start back up.
(Before you dive in to organizing, you might need to do a little purging. Decide what to keep and what to throw/donate. Some people have a hard time letting go of things, like that one glove you haven't found the match for in 3 years but you swear it will show up somewhere. Now if that's you, no judgement here, but taking the plunge and getting rid of stuff can make the organization process a whole lot easier. Spark a little joy and KonMari that closet)
MUD ROOM: Once you've purged the single mitten from 2014 and those other miscellaneous items that you have no idea where they came from, it's time to start organizing. Put away jackets that don't fit, toss the shoes that are worn and replace with all those new 'back to school' goodies you spent too much money on. If you're lucky enough to have designated lockers or hooks for each kid, prep their area with their backpack, coat and shoes so they can *maybe* find it and you will *maybe* be on time. Our mud room has a bench with some baskets, a countertop with extra shoe storage (hello, IKEA!), and a walk-in closet. I hate to see the clutter, so I opt to put the majority of our 'stuff' in the closet. We put up four low hooks for the kids to hang their jackets and backpacks. Their shoes are stored in the lower bins outside of the closet. This way they can take responsibility to put their stuff away (laughs every mother reading this).
Hands down, the hardest part of organizing the mud room is the never ending change in weather in our region. It seems like we need three levels of jackets and a conglomerate of sneakers, sandals and snow boots available at any given time! But I digress, a semi-annual sweep of the mud room is a necessity and I promise it will help you feel more organized and prepared for the chaos that is the school season.
KIDS CLOSETS: The same is true for kids bedrooms and closets as is the mud room. Purge! Take out the clothes that don't fit, donate, give the littles the bigs' hand-me downs (poor kids will never see new clothes) and start to incorporate those new fall finds. Again, the weather is always an unknown, so we keep a handful of shorts and t-shirts out to be worn until we know summer is over. Sometimes that's September 15, sometimes it's November 15 - your guess is as good as mine. Another tip for those with uniforms and little kids - keep 'approved' school clothing in one drawer to make it easier on yourself in the morning (or at night if you're super prepared). This helps our kids to keep focused and look quasi-presentable without our help.
PANTRY: Say it with me - PURGE! We live next to Costco and I love that place, but I have also bought large quantities of some weird $#!t. Now is the time to get rid of it. We're heading into a season of hurried breakfasts, packed lunches and after-school snacks. Have healthy foods easily available for the kids to grab and go (in the fridge + in the pantry). We put everything in our pantry into bins (did I mention I like to organize!?) - this keeps the pantry looking neat, I can hide my moms snacks and sugar cereal, and the kids know which bins they have access to and which they don't. We have some sneaky snackers, so if we left the granola bars on the floor, guaranteed, we'd have a 3-year-old hyped up on 4 of them before 8am! We also have a 5-year-old who wants to be independent and likes the freedom to build his own lunchbox. With some organization and planning, he has a mom-controlled selection to let him do so. #winning
If you're new to the organization game or just hate to do it... take a deep breathe, you've got this! Start with one room at a time and remember one of the most important steps, PURGING! I promise you a little decluttering and organization can go a long way, helping everyone in the house to operate a little smoother in this crazy season. And for my fellow returning organizer champs, you've got this too!
So take some time now, as the leaves start dropping, the PSL's start popping and football starts...footballing, you'll be ready to kick back and enjoy the fact that we are lucky enough to have 4 seasons (most years).