With back-to-school season fast approaching, it’s time for Mom to get organized! Though sending the kids back to school means less time spent supervising pool parties or otherwise keeping the kids entertained, it also means an avalanche of paperwork and after-school activities. Here’s how to stick to a schedule and stay organized.
1. Don’t let papers pile up.
When kids come home with permission slips, school newsletters, and other handouts, there’s often the temptation to toss it aside and deal with it later. As the weeks progress, that tiny pile grows into a leaning tower of paperwork, most of which you don’t even need. Get into the habit of signing permission slips immediately as they enter the house, filing important papers in a safe place, and recycling the rest.
2. Pare down your purse.
Constantly switching from that chic leather messenger bag to that casual weekend tote practically guarantees that the item you need is not where you need it. To avoid this pitfall, get in the habit of cleaning out your wallet and purse on a regular basis so you can see what’s inside and it’s pared down to the essentials. Clear out those snack wrappers, melted lipsticks, and stale mints. Keep your phone, wallet, and keys where you can easily find them.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be Super Mom: baking peanut butter cupcakes from scratch, sewing a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume, and staying on top of the kids’ homework, all the while juggling the laundry, a job, and other obligations. If your kids are old enough to help, get them to decorate the cupcakes or fold the laundry. Ask your partner to pitch in with your children’s homework. And don’t feel one iota of guilt if you end up buying cupcakes from that cute little bakery down the street or buying that adorable angel costume from a catalog. Your secret’s safe with us!
4. Set your clock a few minutes forward.
Tack on a few extra minutes to the clocks in your home and your car, but don’t tell your kids! This way you’ll build in a few extra minutes in case of traffic, lost homework, and other mini disasters. It also creates a little extra urgency to ensure that you leave the house on time rather than furiously fighting traffic at the last second. Then if you arrive early, you can spend the extra time going through receipts in your wallet, updating your to-do list, calling a friend, or just enjoying a few minutes to breathe.
5. Create a family calendar.
Get everyone on the same page by setting up a master calendar for the family. If you prefer a paper calendar, post it in the kitchen or another highly trafficked area and consider color-coding by family member. If you’re more tech-focused, there are tons of free online options for calendar sharing. Google Calendars and Cozi.com are just two of the most popular choices, and both are smartphone-friendly.
By implementing a few simple organizational strategies, you’ll spend less time sorting through paperwork and rushing to soccer games or dance classes and more time relaxing with family.
© 2010 Ali International, LLC
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