Ask Erin: Back-to-School… Again
article by Erin Sharplin Love
It’s that time of year again – back to school! And, hitting the books again means the return of hectic schedules, alarm clocks and paper piles. If you don’t prepare now, you are guaranteed a school year that will quickly become over-whelming. Don’t worry, though, I wouldn’t let that happen to you! Below are my tips for “acing” the new school year:
Transitioning: Don’t let the school year sneak up on you and your children. Instead, begin easing them into a new bedtime routine gradually. For instance, begin waking your late sleepers earlier and earlier until the alarm clock goes off closer to the hour they will need to get ready for school. The amount of sleep your child gets can have a huge impact on his attention span, so make sure to check with your doctor regarding the proper amount of sleep your child needs.
Organizing School Clothes: Take this time to remove any clothing your child doesn’t like and that he has outgrown. Then, set aside a space in the closet specifically for school clothes. If your child does not wear uniforms, it may be a good idea to put together outfits a week at a time to avoid a war in the morning. *Tip: Create dividers that are labeled with each day of the week and hang them in your child’s closet with the appropriate day’s outfit. Or if you need to shop, check out the next tip.
Preparing Before You Shop: The beginning of the school year is always the biggest shopping time for stores, so it is a good idea to be prepared. Make a list of what your child needs, so you won’t wander aimlessly and then leave with nothing, or worse, leave with more clothing and supplies than you need! Don’t forget to scour the papers and Internet for coupons and codes that will garner you some savings!
Creating a Drop Zone: This could be the one tip that saves your sanity by derailing a child’s typical “drop and run” behavior. A drop zone could be in a mudroom, laundry room or simply inside the door your children use the most. I suggest hanging a coat hook for the backpack and placing a roomy basket underneath for papers and other paraphernalia. Stopping paper clutter at the door is a must for any organizing junkie!
Devising a Plan for the Paperwork: I suggest that you devise a plan for what you will do with the paperwork that is soon to bombard you. I love the idea of scanning coloring pages, A+ grades and other keepsake pages into a computer and then tossing the original. Another idea is to create a display area for special papers and rotate them as needed. You can also get a large plastic filing container that can be personalized with each child’s keepsake papers and then stored.
Creating a Homework Station: Don’t clutter your dining room table with papers; instead make doing homework more fun by creating the perfect storage place for little ones. Let them help by decorating a box or bin, and then store it with papers, pencils, crayons and other school work necessities. If you don’t have room for a separate area, you can create a movable homework station by collecting the same necessities and organizing them onto a movable tray. When not in use, the tray should slide onto an unused chair or under the table.
Investing in a Large Calendar: If you haven’t done so already, I suggest purchasing a large calendar that can be placed in a central location for all to use. When you begin receiving special dates from the school and/or sporting teams, put them in the calendar immediately. I can imagine that nothing would be worse than missing your daughter’s school play or your son’s first t-ball game.
Creating a Nightly Routine: I promise this will save you from becoming crazed every school morning. The more you can do the night before, the better. For instance, plan breakfast, pack lunches, choose outfits, scan backpacks for missing homework, projects or library books and make sure music and/or sports bags are packed and ready.
Remember…you can never be too prepared! Happy new school year!
Erin Sharplin Love, owner of Panache by Erin, is a Certified Fashion and Image Consultant, Professional Organizer, and Certified Wedding Coordinator whose specialties include outfit coordination and closet organization. Love has a knack for creating the perfect organized spaces that work with each client’s personality, for helping her fashion clients develop their own personal style, and for helping her wedding clients create the wedding of their dreams within their budget and without the stress. Panache by Erin offers the following services – outfit coordination, personal shopping, personal color analysis, home/office organization and wedding/event coordination. To learn more, please go to www.panachebyerin.com.