The new school year starts insanely early, where I live. August 31st. You read that right…August! Not only does that mean that the kids are going back to school in the middle of the summer practically, that means that I need to start getting organized at home for the new school year!
Below are some steps I take to help ensure my home is ready for Day 1.
As my boys get older, I’ve noticed that less and less paperwork comes home with them. I don’t know if they just don’t get that much “paper” work, throw out what they DO get before it hits our doorstep, or that’s just what happens as you climb the ladder to 12th grade.
Regardless, during the last few days of school the previous year, my boys bring their workbooks and (for lack of a better term) piles of stuff that their teachers send home with them. I make two piles:
- Keepers: Artwork and special reports or assignments go in this pile. Anything that is in this pile gets filed in these plastic bins – one for each child. It’s the perfect size to save the extraordinary things.
- Recycle: Workbooks, notebooks (non-spiral), and miscellaneous papers that flutter out of their overstuffed backpacks can be recycled.
I have a dedicated section in my downstairs supply closet for anything related to school supplies. Whenever the boys ask for a new glue stick, lined paper, pencils, you name it – I go to my handy dandy spot to get what they need.
At the end of the previous school year, they both came home with a lot of supplies that were not used. Where did those supplies go? Right in the bin! Before I start my 2020-2021 school supply shopping, I’ll be rummaging through that bin to make sure I’m not buying things I already have. (I wish I did this sooner – I have about eight pairs of scissors.)
When certain supplies that are in high demand go on sale throughout the year, I bring them home, and in the bin, they go. It saves a lot of time when the kids run downstairs frantic that they need XYZ ASAP. I know exactly where it is!
Every year the boys want a new backpack. I used to be the same way, but in most cases, their old back packs are in good shape (considering they have already been replaced once). Those are either used as sleepover backpacks or donated to a local charity.
Every time I set foot in their playroom, I sigh. All of those toys/Pokemon cards/Beyblades/LEGO sets they had to have been scattered all over. Time to purge! By the end of the summer, I can tell what they like to play with and what they’ve outgrown. I grab a big black plastic bag, my morning coffee, or a water bottle and a clean house.
What they have played with recently (in the last two months) gets put in its designated bin/spot. Other items get tossed in the bag and then donated. Books go to the local library, preschool, or children’s hospital.
Stuffed animals that don’t have easily removable eyes, etc., get donated to the local animal shelter along with their old blankets.
I dislike cleaning out their closets.
A. I get nostalgic because a lot of their clothing brings back fun memories, and now that they don’t fit, I have to get rid of them.
B. The boys are not super helpful. It’s nearly impossible to get them to sit long enough to try on one shirt, let alone the entire wardrobe.
Here is how I handle it:
My first walkthrough of their closets and drawers is to remove anything that is visibly too small or has any holes or stains. If it’s just too small, I donate it. Holes and stains are used as rags in the garage or tossed in the garbage.
My second walkthrough is to determine what they will wear. (This is very similar to how I go through my closet). If they haven’t worn it in the past three months and you don’t foresee them doing so in the next season, it gets donated. Usually, these pieces are the Minion shirts that we purchased a long time ago that were too big at the time, and we thought they’d grow into them. They did grow into the shirt, but out of the Minions.
It is also the perfect time to grab a pen and paper or open the notes app on your phone and jot down what they do need. Socks, underwear, swim shirts, jeans in a size bigger, white t-shirts…you get the idea. Here are my favorite hangers – you’ll love the fact that there are fewer and fewer shirts and pants on the floor!
My boys love to play sports and have accumulated quite a bit of equipment throughout the years. Now is the perfect time to go through everything and see:
- Does your child still play the sport? My older one enjoyed playing flag football but has since moved on to soccer. If there’s equipment lying around that you know will not be used (and is in excellent condition), consider donating it to a local school, Boys & Girls Club, or charity of your choice.
- Did your child grow since the current favorite sport’s last season? You may laugh, but I feel like my boys grow every week. Donate or toss the old cleats, knee pads, practice gear. On an aside, my kids haven’t been in karate since the oldest was eight, and I found his sparring gear in the garage. Time to donate, no?
Consider investing in an organization system for the gear – one where your child (or 95% of the time YOU) will be able to find the missing batting gloves or cup (yes…there are times my little guy can’t find his cup, so we’ve designated a spot to put it in).
We are grateful to have the ability to swim about nine months out of the year. Summer is the most intensive “water” season, and it wreaks havoc on your towels and water gear.
Go through your supply of towels – if you have any left. I’m lucky to have a few stragglers after a full summer of camp. If the towels have holes or are super faded, donate them to your local animal rescue shelter.
Goggles that have seen better days or their straps are so sun damaged that they look like they are going to snap at any time need to be tossed out. Floats that have been patched more times than you can count need to be tossed as well. Now is a good time to scout out some sales on pool gear for the next season!
I know you’ve probably cleaned out your pantry during the spring cleaning phase, but now is another great time! My pantry door has been opened and closed more times over the past two months than at any other time of the year. Go through, shelf by shelf, and purge:
- Expired items. You’d be surprised to find things that expired last year, although you just cleaned out the pantry in April. I know…it happens to me all the time. So weird.
- Stale food. Yep, they opened the bag of popcorn and didn’t put a bag clip on it.
- Food containers that don’t have matching lids. It’s like missing socks. One day you have to just realize that it’s not going to show up.
Make a list of what you need in terms of breakfast, snacks, and lunch for the kiddos. Create a snack section that is in arm’s reach. Done.
I know this seems like a lot, but if you tackle one section a day, you’ll be done before you know it. Good luck, and PLEASE share any tips you have for getting organized at home for the new school year.