Well, some may be happy; many are sad, but no matter what your feelings are on the subject, it’s back-to-school time! And, the reminders are unavoidable if you’ve visited any Boise area shops lately. It seems everybody wants in on the school supply action ? department and grocery stores, office supply and electronics stores, dollar stores, and even the pharmacies ? the shelves are stocked with everything a student could need ? and more!

So, amidst the excitement of a new year, you begin to dread what comes next ? the inevitable surge of papers, permissions slips and stuff scattered about the house – backpacks, library books, lunch bags, etc. – with no ‘home’ to live in.

How do we keep the sanity? With organization, of course!

And, remember no two families are alike. Everybody has to find what works for them and their situations, however, we thought we’d share some great tips we found from organizing guru Becky Barnfather’s blogspot that may help get you off on the right foot.


Step 1: Evaluate

Evaluation is the key to thoughtful parenting of your children in every area. Take some time to stop and take stock of the last school year. What worked for you and what didn’t? Don’t forget to talk with each of your children and get their evaluations as well. Your children will feel loved and appreciate the time you spend planning. Have your children take inventory of their school supplies and clothes from last year and decide what they actually need.

Step 2: Prepare your home

It’s time to exchange the beach bags for backpacks! Does your homework area need to be reorganized? What lunch supplies are needed? Does everything have a place and do your children know where that place is?

The main areas to prepare are:

  • Their Closet: Have them try on their clothes and get rid of everything that no longer fits so they will have a closet full of things that they can actually wear. Here are some helpful hints that Becky has for organizing your children’s closet.
  • A launch/ landing pad: A Launch pad is the place where they will “take off” each day. They need to have everything in that spot before bed so that they won’t be late to school because they are hunting around for their Math book. They also need a place to “land” when they get home so they can unpack their lunches and get going on homework with ease.
  • The Kitchen: Have a meal plan in place for breakfasts and lunches ahead of time so you won’t be scrambling and running to the store unnecessarily. You may also want to prepare a special cupboard for packing school lunches like this one.
  • A Homework Station: The kids need to know where to find pencils, paper, pens, markers, etc. Whether you use a cupboard, kitchen drawer, desk or an old hutch to keep your supplies organized the important thing is that you kids know where to find what they need to get the job done!

Step 3: Create a routine

Whether your child is 9 months old or 18 years old, they need a daily routine. Kids need to know what to do and when to do it for their school days to go smoothly. Creating a daily routine for yourself and your children that has plenty of flex-time built into it will eventually help you to enjoy your family more.

If the kids need reminders – and let’s face it ? we all do, keep a schedule recorded somewhere for easy reference. It could be a calendar or paper on the fridge, a white board in their room or a family calendar in the mudroom or somewhere that everybody can see it.

Creating a daily routine for yourself and your children that has plenty of flex-time built into it will eventually help you to enjoy your family more.

Step 4: Practice

One of the most valuable back to school habits for my family is to practice. Get your whole family in back to school mode by practicing your new routine the week before school starts.

Some things to practice include:

  • Getting up to your alarm
  • Getting dressed first thing
  • Your morning and evening routine
  • Making lunches
  • Using the launch pad
  • Reading daily

The younger kids need to practice more than the older ones but you should also have your tweens get up and ready a couple of mornings rather than hanging out in their pajamas till noon during that last week before school starts. Clearly explaining your expectations and practicing them as a family will make the transition to the busy school days much easier for everyone.

Getting the habits of organization started early in the school year will help everybody stay on track. It may take some coaxing in the beginning, but once your kids see that being organized makes their lives easier also, they will likely jump on board and keep up with your plan.

And, sometimes we just outgrow our homes! So, if you think a new home, perhaps larger or with a different layout, may be what you need to get organized, give Templeton Real Estate Group a call ? 208.473.2203! We are your East Boise real estate experts and, as our happy clients say, we work hard to get you into your dream home.

A little time spent now to help everybody get organized will go a long way to keeping the clutter down in your house – and in your head. Mix and match ideas and find what works best for your family. Happy Back-to-School!

By Bonnie Way Snider

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