Here's some highlights from realsimple.com.
- 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.
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.
Photo by Dana Gallagher for realsimple.com