Escape the stress of back to school… get organised beforehand!
The best stress saver and time saver I have experimented myself and which I now teach to my clients is the home and life organisation. I always recommend to the parents I work with to set some easy systems up to encourage the kids to put their own things away from an early age.
The summer is a great time to get more organised as the kids are in school break, your life as a parent is (hopefully) a little bit calmer… Here are my organisation ideas to start off the next school year right, and with less stress...
Plastic Free Food Shopping Challenge = Student Week
What to do as soon as the school finishes?
1/ Inspect all the school uniforms and sport clothes to make sure they’re still in good condition and the right size for next year.
2/ Take a moment with each kid to look at all the school year production they’re bringing back home at the end of the school year (and to everything they brought back during the school year). Take the time to discuss each project with them. Keep a selection of the best drawings, the cutest art projects, the main pieces of writing and proudly display them in an area of your home (you can create an art gallery on a landing, in a staircase….) or keep this small selection in a memory box. You can also take some photos of some other pieces to create a photo book. Then, my advice is to discard the rest! If you keep all the school productions for all your kids for their whole school life, you might end up with an entire room full of boxed school projects you will never look at again…
3/ Check all the school supply which are still usable for next year and organise them by category. You can use freezer bags to keep everything nicely together.
Felt pens neatly organised in the ISTAD resealable bags (IKEA) - Credit IDea for your space
What to do during the summer?
The idea is to focus on each single area the kids follow as soon as they go through the house door when they come back from school.
1/ Organise your hallway
If not well organised, the hallway can easily and very quickly become a dumping ground. Make sure you have a dedicated place where the kids can put their shoes, their jackets, their schoolbags, and all their wintery accessories (hard to think about that in the middle of the summer but this time will come for sure…).
When you think about storage organisation for the kids make sure they’re as simple as possible. For the shoes or accessories, bins, baskets, cubbies, open storage are the best.
I also often suggest using hooks in a hallway. Think about an area where you could have a low (effortlessly accessible for the little ones) row of hooks where they could easily hang their coats and backpacks. You can even double up the hanging space by adding a second row of hooks, higher, so older kids or adults could use this wall storage space too.
By creating designated storage spots by the door, it helps to keep all these items there (and not all over the house) and will make leaving the house the next morning a little smoother.
Hallway storage organisation with a low row of hooks (TRONES shoe storage, TJUSIG shoe bench, BÄSTIS hooks - IKEA) - Credit IDea for your space
2/Organise your kitchen
Then comes the time of the snack. My kids are always starving when they come back from school. From the hallway, avoid the chaos coming to the kitchen. Choose an easily accessible spot in the kitchen to store their after-school snacks. By designating a specific spot, you encourage them to eat what you mindfully bought for them instead of tempting them with anything you store in your cupboards. Make sure you store these on a lower shelf or drawer so they can easily reach them. Same goes for the plates, tumblers… they can use.
Kids’ snack organisation on a lower shelf of a kitchen cabinet (VARIERA boxes – IKEA) - Credit IDea for your space
3/ Set up a dedicated homework space
The next after-school step generally is homework time. Depending of the age and the preference of your kids, you could choose to have them nearby when they do their homework (while you’re cooking for instance) or in the room next door or in their own bedroom. Avoid your children falling into the habit of doing their homework all over the house, especially in front of the TV... By creating a designated space to do their homework, kids will be less distracted and will begin to associate that part of your home with learning. I always advise keeping a caddy with the essentials, like pencils, pens, glue stick, notebooks or anything else they might need where they do their homework so they can’t pretend needing a pen to escape the workplace… But also, it avoids taking some school supplies out of their school bag. So, if your kids do their homework in the kitchen, save some space in one of your kitchen cabinets to store there anything they need.
School supplies stored in a kitchen cabinet - Credit IDea for your space
4/ Organise your laundry
Final step of the day is when kids get ready to go to bed. Place one or several laundry baskets in some strategic spots depending where your kids usually take their clothes off. Is it in the bathroom, in their bedroom? Keep in mind that doing more than 3 steps (or even less) is usually way too far to put the dirty clothes away…
If you have a laundry room it’s great to have at least two baskets to pre-sort your laundry between darks, colours and lights.
And you could even save yourself more time by putting clean items in designated baskets that each child can take back to their room and put away.
Always try to empower your children by encouraging them to take part to some house chores.
Laundry pre-sorting baskets (DIMPA baskets – IKEA) - Credit IDea for your space
What to do two weeks before the school restarts?
1/ Play declutter and give away
Before going back to school it’s often a good time to declutter the children’ toys, books and clothes, especially when they’re starting a new school. Take the time to explain why it is important to get rid of the things they don’t play with anymore and to pass them to another kid. It’s a great opportunity to make them more mindful about recycling their belongings. After having donated their things you could reward them by taking them out for dinner or to the cinema.
Double check the size of the school uniforms and sport kits as kids tend to grow a lot during the summer… And assess the rest of the clothes too. If they’re not too keen about trying some clothes on, ask them to do that while they’re watching a movie.
2/ Label, label, label!
As you’re sorting the children’ clothes and toys out, take the time to organise them by category and to add some labels to help identifying what is going where. When I work with children I always suggest they create the labels themselves. By making them part of the organisation process they tend to be more inclined to maintain order in the long run…
Labels created by my kiddie clients - Credit IDea for your space
What to do during the school year?
Plan your meal in advance
Busy families can save major time and money by planning their dinners beforehand.
Meal planning is asking the “what’s for dinner” question once for the whole week, instead of every night, and then shopping for the ingredients before cooking.
There are at least five benefits of Meal Planning:
1. You eat better and include more variety in your meals
2. You save money
3. You reduce food waste
4. You save some precious time
5. You stress less
Meal planning at IKEA Greenwich - Credit IDea for your space
Guest Blogger: Live Lagom Isabelle Lamy
Ideals For Your Space - Transforming Your Life
Declutering & Home Organisation Expert