This is a guest post by NAPO Houston member and Marketing Director, Valerie Thompson, of Chronically Organized
It seems like school just ended, but here we are in August, and I’m already in full “back-to-school” planning mode. I’ve been working on a checklist for myself, and thought you might also find it helpful.
I’ve been thinking about next year’s school schedule since school ended. Starting early means I can get the exact class times I want for extracurricular activities. For me that means having girls in dance classes on the same day at overlapping times. I also signed the girl’s up for one afternoon of after-school care so I can work late one day. I want to make sure all of this works, so I signed up for everything as soon as it opens. I also like to get all the doctor’s and dentist appointments on the calendar before the craziness of the year starts.
- Create a master calendar
- Put all school holidays on calendar
- Sign-up for after-school care
- Sign-up for extracurricular activities
- Schedule doctor’s appointments
- Schedule dentist’s appointments
- Schedule haircuts
Summer usually means we’ve gotten pretty lax on bedtimes, routines, and screen time, but when school starts it’s back to business! Adding to the normal struggle to get back into a routine, our school system has moved the school start time 30 minutes earlier than last year. Whew, morning are going to be a little rough, so I’m going to be working with the girls before school starts to develop morning and afternoon routines, and adjust to an earlier bedtime. In addition, I’m also going to refresh our homework caddy and launch pad to make sure everything at home is set-up to help us succeed in our new routines.
- Create a morning and afternoon routine
- Practice getting up earlier the week before school
- Set-up homework caddy
- Set-up a launch pad
If you need help on organizing your children’s clothes, I’ve got a whole blog post on the subject. I like to use the beginning of the school year as a trigger to buy all new socks and undies. I also like to make sure I’ve got uniforms and a jacket for winter. That first cold day always surprises me, and this way the kids don’t go to school in last year’s too small clothes.
- Evaluate last year’s uniforms and hand-me-downs, make shopping list
- Buy new uniforms
- Buy new undies and socks
- Buy new shoes
- Buy new jackets
- Buy any clothes/shoes/uniforms needed for activities (ex. dance shoes)
- Buy new backpack or wash last year’s backpack
Thankfully my girls eat school lunch most of the time, but there are still times they like to bring their lunch, so I’m making sure I’ve got all the supplies I need on hand.
- Buy lunch box
- Replenish supplies of ice packs, water bottles, lunch containers
- Practice opening containers, for first timers
- Create and/or add money to lunch account
One of the reasons I love this career, is the schedule flexibility it allows for me to be more involved in my daughters’ school. So my first to-do, join the PTA/PTO, is near and dear to my heart, as I’m serving as the PTA’s VP of Membership this year. Make sure you join to support you school, and volunteer if you can. For school supplies, we’re very lucky that this year our school has decided to purchase supplies for everyone, so all I had to do was pay a supply fee. If you’re not as fortunate, check with the school about how supplies are used, they’re often pooled together, so there’s no need to get your child a “special” supply that they won’t actually get to keep.
- Join PTA/PTO
- Buy or order school supplies
- Sign-up for any school wide communications systems (ex. LivingTree)
- Check with nurse about any forms you need for special medial needs (allergies, asthma, etc.)
The deluge of paperwork that comes with the start of the school year, can be overwelming. Get ready by seting up an action paper station to stay on top of everything that needs to be completed, returned, reviewed and referenced later. Also, if you don’t have a system for organizing you children’s art and schoolwork, now’s the time to set-up a children’s memory box.
Did I miss something that’s on your back-to-school checklist? Good luck getting ready for the school year!
About Valerie Thompson of Chronically Organized:
In 2016, after spending over a decade in the world of corporate interior design and workplace consulting, Valerie decided to pursue her passion for organizing. She’s always loved organizing her own home and helping family and friends. Once she discovered that it could be a full-time job there was no looking back.
Valerie likes to think of herself as a personal trainer for your home. “There are some people, who have the motivation, time, and skills to follow through with an exercise program. I’m not one of those people, the only time I’ve ever exercised was when I hired a personal trainer. The same thing applies to organizing, some people have the motivation and skills to do it alone, and some people need a little help. That’s where I come in, I coach my clients through the process, teaching new techniques, setting goals, and encouraging them along the way.”
When she’s not organizing, she’s having fun with her husband and two daughters riding bikes and playing at the park. A few more fun facts about Valerie:
1. She prefers tea over coffee, and beer over wine.
2. She’s a bit of a self-help junkie and probably Oprah’s biggest fan.
3. She loves to read everything and her Kindle is her most prized possession.