My kind of new year
August has always been my new year.
The clean slate most folks find in January has always been discovered by me in a new academic calendar. This time of year has long inspired my love affairs with weekly planners, chore charts, identified goals and myriad to-do lists.
Now that I’m a mother of a third grader, Kindergartener and preschooler, I get to relive my favorite parts of a new school year.
It’s also an opportunity to take inventory of my organizational skills, test my time management and prepare for months of being a juggler. Work, taking care of my family and our home, helping with homework, driving to practices, remembering to send things to classrooms and keeping track of three kids’ schedules, in addition to my own, force me to stay sharp and on task.
To make easier the juggling act so many of us parents perform, I spent the weekend making sure our home, vehicles and backpacks were organized, meals were planned and school clothes were ready for the week.
And to keep us organized I’ve put into place some practices that have helped us find success throughout the school year:
1. Baskets and bins have long been friends of mine, and I employ their services this time of year to act as sorters for the important contents of backpacks.
Our 9-year-old daughter Cienna, 5-year-old son Ty and 3-year-old son Dimitri will undoubtedly bring home a copious amount of papers from school. To make sure I don’t miss anything, I’ve designated baskets for graded papers, school mail and things I need to sign, and artwork.
2. A clean, tidy atmosphere precipitates success, so we’ve designated a work space where homework and projects will be completed.
Colorful bins hold the supplies we’ve stocked up on during back-to-school sales.
Inspirational quotes are posted next to an empty space where artwork will eventually create our own in-home gallery. Having a set space for artwork keeps it from overwhelming the refrigerator or piling up on the dining room table.
3. We’ve jazzed up the entryway to avoid walking into the door to tons of shoes, coats and backpacks on the floor.
Though there’s a perfectly-great coat closet a few feet from the front door, my children have been known to dump their shoes in front of the closet door, hang their backpacks on the railing of the staircase and leave their coats lying on the floor.
To make that kid clutter a little more organized, I’ve purchased a rectangular, rubber mat with a raised edge to handle the shoes—especially if they’re wet or dirty.
Child-height hooks are also on the wall above it for coats and umbrellas that would otherwise be tossed upon walking in the house.
4. To keep athletic equipment from getting in the way, we’ve added shelving in the garage.
5. And my husband and I have synced a family calendar to make sure we know where we’re supposed to be and when we’re supposed to be there.
Feel free to share your organizational tips with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and may you and your family have a happy—and organized—new year!