Article from ADDitudemag.com
News flash: The back-to-school season doesn’t start in August. It begins now, when lessons learned and challenges faced are fresh. To begin on the best foot, take on these five organizational projects now — not when school starts in the fall.
Clean out backpacks and go through school supplies
This seems like an obvious suggestion, but I have put off doing this task until a week before the new school year began. I was unpleasantly surprised. I found a summer-long assignment in my son’s backpack in the first week in August. Empty your kids’ backpacks, sort through the stuff, and run the backpack through the wash.
Sort through and organize your kids’ clothes
Summer is a great time to mend uniforms and clean out kids’ closets. Listen when your kids tell you why they don’t like certain types of clothing. Are they too tight, too hot, too stiff, too scratchy? Younger kids choose clothing for comfort, not for style. Determine the “feel” your children want their clothes to have, and buy items that they will wear.
Organize school awards, papers, and artwork from last year
Managing school papers and artworkfrom last year is a challenging task. Here’s a plan for tackling it:
Step 1. Sort each child’s papers into neat piles.
Step 2. Look through the papers with your kids. Listen to their stories, and find their favorite pieces of art. The purpose of looking over these things is to enjoy the memories.
Simplify your kids’ toy collections
Organizing your child’s toys is a task that is usually on a parent’s summer to-do list. Keep these tips in mind when you do:
1. Let your kids play with the items you want to get rid of one more time. The toys will get more wear out of them and entertain your kids on a long rainy day.
2. Get rid of toys that are below your child’s ability level first. If your child is over age five and is attending all-day school, he or she will likely have only two or three “go to” categories for toys: Legos, video games, board games, baby dolls, stuffed animals, cars, trains, balls, art materials, magic items. Have each child choose his or her top three categories, and sort all of the toys into piles on the floor. The toys that do not fit in those categories can be donated.
If there are no organizers available, create a toy zone. Each type of toy needs its home. Here are some examples:
- Baby dolls, clothes, feeding supplies, and baby furniture belong in the child’s bedroom.
- Trains go in the family room or under the train table.
- Matchbox cars go in the child’s bedroom in boxes, on the racetrack, or displayed on a shelf.
- Art supplies go in a kitchen cabinet and should be shared by everyone.
- Stuffed animals go in the basement to be shared by all.
If you are looking for a physical storage solution, I think the most versatile option is a shelving system divided into 14-inch cubes. These are sold at Target, IKEA, and Walmart. They come in a variety of configurations and color choices. I recommend one for each child’s bedroom and one for each communal play area.
Article written by:
Lisa K. Woodruff is the founder and CEO of Organize 365, a company that helps busy women get their home and paper organized in one year. Her book, How ADHD Affects Home Organization, explains the qualities of the executive functions of the brain, and how to organize your home despite struggling with one (or more) of those functions. Find more about Lisa at organize365.com.