Do you know the secret to becoming teacher’s pet? You need to brush up on your three R’s, but there’s a fourth R to consider- Ready. Getting ready for back-to-school is a great first step towards being head of the class. Watch this video for tips that make it easy for you to make the grade!
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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about getting in the swing of things with back-to- school time. So when you’re getting ready for back-to- school, you have to think about, of course, gathering all the school supplies and clothes you need, but you also need to think about creating new routines to go with the new schedule that you have.
So let’s start with weekly planning – we call it Sunday Planning – at the end of the weekend, sitting down with your calendar looking at the week ahead, figuring out who needs to be where, and making some menu plans for the dinners every night for the rest of that week.
So the next thing you should think about is your morning, afternoon, and evening routines so that your day goes more smoothly. So, of course, in the mornings, it can be chaotic trying to get everybody ready and out the door. Make that as easy for yourself as possible by thinking through it carefully. Who needs what and when? Are you getting yourself ready before you get the kids ready? Get a head start on them. Get up a little earlier. Also, we recommend having a destination station, which is the area where you enter and exit the home most frequently and you put things there that you need to take with you when you leave the house. So you establish this station, you can hang your keys there, your purses and backpacks go there, and anything else that needs to go out the door in the morning.
The afternoon is a little more complicated because maybe you aren’t there. Maybe the kids are by themselves. Maybe the kids have a sitter in the afternoons. Maybe they’re somewhere else in the afternoons. But you need to have a routine and some policies and rules around several pieces of what happens during that time of day.
So first of all, homework. Do they need to start their homework immediately? When is homework supposed to be done and where? Snack time, screen time, and general play time also need to have policies established around them so everybody understands what’s supposed to happen. Now, you may have homework being done at the kitchen table – this is this classic kitchen table dilemma of the multiple functions that are often going on in this space – so you may be setting the table for dinner while your children are trying to do homework here. And what often I see that people need is extra storage in this space. So, one of the greatest solutions that I’ve seen lately are these premium cubes that are available at Home Depot by ClosetMaid, and they look so nice with the rest of your furniture. They don’t look like they’re inexpensive and they belong in the kids’ playroom. They belong in the common areas of your house. They look great with these faux leather premium fabric drawers that they have. And so you can have extra storage really close by that looks good, and you can put things in it like a pouch full of school supplies for their homework time, like a calculator, extra notebooks, post-it notes, index cards, all the things that the kids need so that they can get them out and put them away quickly and easily when it’s time to shift to dinner time.
So, you can also use these cubes for other things you need around the kitchen table. So for example, you can put your cloth napkins or things like that, that you need for your eating along with the school supplies. So, establish those afternoon policies and if the kids are older, you can even do that with them and even write them into a formal contract. Sometimes, it really doesn’t hurt to get everybody’s very formal agreement on how that’s going to go.
Then, let’s talk about your evening routine. So that is crucial to making your morning go more smoothly. If you’ve got little kids, you probably have bath time. You may want to lay their clothes out for tomorrow. There’s a lot of activities that have to do with setting the stage for the morning. So clothing’s great, but also sports equipment, of course, their backpacks and any homework they’ve gotten done needs to be packed up and ready to go in that destination station area. And you may want to pack lunches the night before to save yourself a little bit of time and hassle in the morning.
So all these routines are fantastic to think through ahead of time, but remember, routine does not equal rigid. You want to plan some flexibility into the process, and don’t make it painful and frustrating for everybody. Have a little bit of leeway here and there, but use this as a basic outline for your day and for your week.
If you’d like to have more back-to- school tips, we have a countdown calendar for three weeks leading up to the first day of school and you can get that calendar at clutterdiet.com/countdown.
See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
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