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12 tips for a smooth and organized start to school

Adobe Stock | Polar bear studio photo

These organizational strategies will keep you and your children on track for a productive school year in the Hudson Valley.

By Charmean Neithart, Houzz

We start to prepare for the start of the school year about a week before the first day of school. Each year brings new challenges, with schedule changes and routine adjustments, not to mention the ever-changing mask policies and COVID-19 security protocol. The carefree summer vibe means we need some transition time to get back to the rhythm of the school year.

I try to be organized for the first day of school not because it comes naturally – trust me, it doesn’t – but because kids are better imitators than they are listeners. I’ve found that when I’m organized, my kids follow suit and find ways to stay organized just by looking at me. After years of practicing, I think I have a few tips that can help your own school year get off to a good start. If your kids are about to start a new year, start your engines; it’s time to go. If they have already started, there is still a lot you can do.

Closet & Storage Concepts, original photo on Houzz

1. Clean the cupboards. If your kids are still of school age, they probably get rid of their clothes quickly. Go through closets and drawers and get rid of undersized clothes; give them to younger siblings or donate them.

2. Organize the shoes. I like to keep the shoes close to the point of entry into my house. A custom shoe rack or cabinet is great for organizing everyone’s shoes, so you can avoid the “Where’s my other shoe?” »Once and for all dilemma. Also, getting everyone used to taking off their shoes as soon as they enter the house will do wonders for your floors.

hooks on a wall
Hardrock Construction, original photo on Houzz

3. Prepare the entry point. If you have a mess or a disorganized flow where kids leave and come home from school, it’s time to take them out. Those 60 seconds children have right before they leave are essential for them to remember everything they need for the day.

4. Arrange the clothes. This habit took me a while to develop, but I swear it. Make your selection of clothes the day before and prepare everything not to search for your brown belt or green sweater at the last minute. Your kids will pick up on this habit if they see you doing it.

chalkboard wall
Traditional Entrance, original photo on Houzz

5. Publish the schedule. At the start of the new school year, there will likely be schedule changes. Post the new schedule somewhere near the door to help the kids – and you – get used to the new weekly routine. Include practices, classes, and appointments.

6. Fill the pantry. A well-stocked pantry is essential. Most people have to shop for weekly groceries at the market. However, there are some items that you can store to save some time. Cereal, peanut butter, bottled water, and brown paper lunch bags are just a few that I always look for.

organized garage
Monkey Bars Garage Storage Systems, original photo on Houzz

7. Empty the garage. An organized garage will help most families stay on track. If you need to bring sports equipment, raincoats, or a bike to school, make it easy on yourself and pack these items to take away. Most towns have local garbage collection services. Look online for garbage pickers who will come directly to you and take the garbage or facilitate the donation of items. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity are always on the lookout for slightly used items.

8. Refuel the car. It’s the only race that still escapes me. Try to avoid having to refuel in the morning when the lines are longest and your time is shortest. Take note to refuel the night before to avoid the stress of steaming on the way to school.

back to school office
Hamilton-Gray Design Inc, original photo on Houzz

9. Prepare the mailbox. From the start of the school year, the paper trail begins. I have found it helpful to separate school mail from regular mail, as a lot of school mail requires a response or something to fill out. Stock up on envelopes and stamps and prepare for the avalanche of mail.

10. Sort the books. As with clothes, children grow up with books. The good news is that books are so easy to give or give. Keep all the books that have sentimental value, and clean up those whose children have grown up.

back to school cupboard
Bachmann Construction, original photo on Houzz

11. Teach children to hang up their things. It is such a valuable lesson for children and has a great impact on their day. Feeling disorganized can be confusing and overwhelming. Help kids start their day with confidence with a designated area for jackets and backpacks.

12. Store the first aid kit. The little ones will come home with sores. I know my youngest son still loves a mom’s bandage. Stock up on bandages, cold compresses and antiseptic spray.

Related: Where to Buy Local for Back to School