Field trips, packed lunches and permission slips—school means much more than just homework. With these extra activities come all sorts of organizational challenges.
- Stock up on supplies. Anticipate last-minute school project needs by stockpiling supplies. Buy in bulk or wait for back-to-school sales. Get markers, index cards, poster board and other items that will come in handy throughout the school year.
- Choose outfits ahead of time. Deciding what the kids will wear shouldn’t be left to the morning rush. On Sunday night, pick out clothes for each day of the week and set them aside.
- Simplify lunch packing. Use clear containers in the fridge and pantry for lunchbox supplies. When it’s time to pack lunches (see below), you won’t have to search for them.
- Consolidate meal making. Prepare lunches for the following day while you’re making dinner. You’ll be able to cross off one more item from the morning checklist and have one cleanup instead of two.
- Touch papers once. Take a time management tip from the business world – if a task will take you a few minutes or less, tackle it immediately. So when your child brings home a permission slip, read it, sign it, add the event to your calendar (see below) and put it in his or her backpack.
- Use a whiteboard. A functional calendar that everyone can update is essential to manage multiple schedules. Buy a large whiteboard calendar, hang it in a conspicuous spot (e.g., the kitchen) and use it to track practices, games, recitals and appointments.
- File school papers. Use a cabinet drawer or file box to store and organize your children’s school materials. Each subject should have its own tab and folder; kids can unload weekly papers to save for later.
- Color-code your bags. Use colored tote bags, one for each activity, to store equipment and supplies. Stow them in the same place every day, ideally near the door. That way, you can easily grab the right bag on your way out without having to empty and refill a single bag.
from American Home Shield July Inside & Out Newsletter