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Back to School Basics – My Five Essentials

Back to School Basics – My Five Essentials

Just a quick reminder about some of the basics that  are important for students heading back to school.  It may not seem like much but it can make the difference between your child using or not using the systems and when that happens, not using it can mean not doing well. So here are my top five favorites: If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you have surely seen that I am passionate about planners. It doesn’t matter to me if your child has the greatest memory ever, if they don’t have it written down somewhere then for many of them, it just conveniently slips their mind. It can be electronic or paper as long as it is used. Most schools supply an agenda or planner but fail to help the students learn to use it effectively.  Deadlines need to be where they can be seen, not just written in on the day that they were given. That is one great advantage of using a smartphone app; it will remind you about that project that is due or that upcoming test if you set it to. Binders that open with one hand or rather one finger. Fill it with notebook paper (not those spiral notebooks that always get stuck) and plastic pocket divider tabs. Some schools require separate notebooks but it is really difficult to put four or five binders into a backpack. Your teen could probably use one and just clean it out each term. I would suggest a 1.5 or 2 inch binder. Label the dividers and leave an empty pocket divider in front for...
Keys? Keys? Where are my Keys?

Keys? Keys? Where are my Keys?

When was the last time you had to hunt for your keys? Were you late or just frustrated with yourself when you finally found them? Out of all the organizing tips I first learned (yes, it’s true I wasn’t born organized) this is the tip that has saved me the most time and aggravation – hang your keys on a hook near the door you use to go out. Sounds simple doesn’t it? What used to happen is that I would leave them in my coat pocket or pocketbook or drop them on the table which would then get covered with the mail and although they are a fairly substantial bunch of keys, they had the ability to become invisible. How else would you explain the fact that one minute they are not there and the next time you look in the same place – there they are? Here’s what I suggest: create a launch pad area near where you exit the house that is large enough for all the important things you need when leaving. Place either a hook on the wall or place a specific basket there for your keys….and only your keys. You can also set up a charging station for your cellphone as that sometimes has stealth abilities also. The idea is to have a place for everything you need to head out the door. When you come back home, place things there, especially those keys and you’ll save yourself some time and aggravation. I know the research says it takes 28 days to change a habit but “my research” says it’s more like 56...

Come In: Organizing Your Entry

First the snow, then the ice and now the melting mess! The warmer temperatures (although I love them) have started melting the mounds of snow and uncovering layer upon layer of sand and salt. Is all this coming into your home? Are you tired of stepping over piles of boots and shoes as soon as you come in the doorway? Well, here’s some help for your entryway: 1.  First try to trap as much dirt outside as possible by using a large door mat outside your door. If you often enter your home through the garage, it’s a good idea to put a mat there too. This will trap some of the dirt. Place another large rug or mat inside your entryway door to catch more of it. Make sure it can handle wet boots or use a boot tray. Vacuuming and shaking the rug outdoors will keep that grit where it belongs. 2.  Many families remove their shoes at or near the doorway. This really cuts down on the amount of sand and grit in the rest of the home. Having a shoe rack, boot tray or basket to contain the shoes gives them a “home” and keeps them together. The easier it is to put the shoes in a spot, the more likely the children are to do it. Assign a spot for each child and watch what happens. 3.  Once inside the door, the hats and gloves (or mittens) are the first things off. In schools, children use cubbies and lockers to keep their things together. Why not use the same idea at home? Cubbies or...
3 Tips to Organize for Back to School

3 Tips to Organize for Back to School

  It’s back to school time. Are you ready or are you dreading the start of a new school year? If your last year was filled with stress and disorganization, then take a deep breathe. We have three home projects you can quickly do while you wait for the supply lists to come from the school. With a system for handling papers, a launch pad area and a family calendar in place you will start the year off on the right track.   1. Set up a system for handling the incoming and outgoing papers. Using a simple in/out box system for each family member helps reduce the hunt for that permission slip or the emergency contact form that needs to be sent back. Help children empty their backpacks daily and put papers that need to be signed or seen by a parent in the parent’s box. Once signed it is returned to the child’s box or put back in the backpack. If possible, set this up near the door that is used most often. Office type in/out boxes come in plastic, metal, bamboo, and fabric covered cardboard. Pick something that makes you feel good. If you’re short on flat counter space use the wall and hang a literature rack, or Pendaflex has a hanging file with 4 poly pockets.   2. The launch pad or landing pad area is probably already established. It is the place where things get “plopped” on their way in the door and also when they are waiting to go out the door.  Why not make it more efficient and create places for those things you use...