Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back-To-School and On The Ball

Does my title seems like an oxymoron?  I definitely know that feeling and you regular readers know I don't pretend to be an expert on organization.  I do, however, regularly search for new tips and fresh ideas to help keep the household and business running smoothly.  To my delight, Real Simple stepped up this week with some amazing back-to-school tips, so I thought I'd share.

Here's some highlights from

  • Try a hanging wall organizer in your entry or mudroom.  Label individual pockets for mail, school papers, cell phone, keys, action items, etc.
  • Keep five magazine files visible-- one for every day of the week.  Load each one with whatever the kids might need for that day, such as signed permission slips, work to be turned in, ballet slippers or sheet music for after school activities.
  • Have younger children pick out a week's worth of outfits on Sunday night and hang them on labeled hangers for each day.  Great tip to eliminate the "I don't have anything to wear!" blues during the morning rush.
  • Keep everyone on schedule by creating a morning play list on your ipod.  The kids will learn that by the time Justin Bieber comes on, their shoes should be on and their teeth brushed.  It's time to head our the door when Miley Cyrus sings... you get the idea!
  • Share the load by assigning chores to family members.  Make sure the duties are age appropriate, but even the smallest member of the household can help set the table.
Real Simple must have heard my plea for the return of my school year meal planning skills!  They've also provided a wonderful Back to School Food Planner.  How about 10 jazzy sandwiches to keep your crew lovin' lunch, a week's worth of family dinners like Ham and Cheese Quesadillas, healthy low-cal snacks to keep everyone moving and grooving, and the coolest of new lunch containers for your picky lunch packer.  Be sure to click over and check out all their excellent tips.

And here are two of my very own trusty tips that have worked for years with my own busy crew.
  •  Keep a bin or large basket full of school supplies handy.  I reload on the staples whenever I find them on sale--someone always needs colored pencils, composition notebooks, 2 pocket folders, glue sticks and note cards-- or they will in the near future.  At the beginning of the school year, we "shop" first in our own bin before we hit the stores.  I've saved a bundle of money over the years by staying stocked this way.  You can also recycle certain supplies from year to year.  Zipper pouches, locker shelves, compasses, graph paper, pens, and pencils can always be re-used.
  • I have a designated homework zone for my sons on the dining room table.  There are no TVs in view or earshot, plenty of light and room to spread out, proximity to our office and the computers and printers if needed, and some quiet to get the job done under my watchful eye.  They each have a basket I store under my breakfront with their individual supplies such as calculators, textbooks that stay home, and on-going projects.
Here's another great tip I came across on  Check out to turn any surface in your home or office into a dry-erase board.  Great idea!

Photo by Dana Gallagher for

1 comment:

  1. With two kids in High School, it's all about organization. Thanks for all the great tips!


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