I’ve always been a little, um, overzealous when it comes to organizing. I’ve had to let things go a bit more since the boys came along, but my inner organizer still makes regular appearances. On a good day, clutter annoys me. Toys on the floor? Fine. Mail and papers all over the kitchen counter? Ugh!!! And when I’m feeling stressed or have a lot going on, keeping things neat and orderly feels essential. I admit, I start to get a wee bit fanatical about it. Organized and prepared = predictable and manageable = less stress. And less stress is gooood.
So of course with my baby going off to kindergarten in a few days, I’m in full-on planning mode. It’s starting to feel a lot like pre-baby nesting, which along with my recent and sudden aversion to bananas is a little weird. But no, I’m most definitely NOT expecting #3.
I thought I’d share the love and pass on to you, dear mommas and poppas, the fruits of my hyper-organized tendencies. So here are four ideas for getting organized for a new school year. If you’d like, you can download the lists I created for our family to use as templates for your own. You’ll find the links at the end of the post.
For the past 3+ years we’ve enjoyed a daycare that takes care of all meals and snacks, but starting Monday we’ll be packing for both boys. I don’t think it will be that bad, if we can get the kids helping out. I definitely think Zip is old enough to participate. As far as Bee, well, we’ll see! It is important to me that the boys eat well at school, so they can focus on learning instead of a growling belly. Hopefully giving them responsibility for what is in their lunchboxes will translate into the boys eating what they pack.
We’ve got lunchboxes at the ready and I had Zip help me create a list of what sorts of things he might like to pack. These items will go on the bottom shelves of the pantry and fridge, where he can reach them. I’ve gotten our stash started by making up baggies of crackers that they can grab easily, and I plan to do the same with veggies. I’m having a bit of an eco-crisis about the number of snack bags we’ll be going through, so if you have a suggestion for how we can go green, please share it in the comments!
Then, I created a list to help Zip pack his lunches. I have to credit Kristen at Rage Against The Minivan and her recent post about packing lunches for this idea.
Clearly we need to work on identifying some more “main item” options, since the only ones Zip came up with were PB&J and spaghetti!
Zip tends to get a little scattered (he is five, after all!) and I expect our mornings will probably get hectic, so I created this checklist to hang on the inside of our front door. The list includes the things Zip needs to have when he leaves each morning. It will probably require a little coaching at first, but I am hoping we can use this list to make sure we don’t forget things at home.
I try to be laid back about the kids’ clothing choices, I really do! But of course with a new school I want them to make a good first impression. Zip loves to pair tie-dye with camouflage (which I can live with), as well as repeatedly pick out the oldest, most stained t-shirt in his dresser (ick! I should just throw it out, right?). And once he is dressed, any suggestion that he change clothes is met with staunch resistance.
I’m actually not motivated to plan his outfits for the whole week, since he has no trouble choosing clothes quickly on his own. But I do want to establish separate school clothes and weekend/play clothes, so that he wears his nicer clothes to school and can go right on getting five-year-old-filthy when he plays around the neighborhood. I’m putting all of Zip’s school clothes in his dresser, while the play clothes will go in his closet. Then he’ll just need to pick from the right “wardrobe” when he dresses in the morning. If I put all of his gym shorts with the play clothes, hopefully we’ll avoid those mornings when he pairs them with a button-down!
4. PAPERS N’ STUFF
Last but not least, I began a “portfolio box” for each of the boys. The piles of keepsake papers and special artwork on their closet shelves was getting way out of control, so I bought these boxes for $10 each at Target and went to work separating their mementos by year. I am sure we’ll collect lots of new things this year and now they will have a tidy little home, just how I like it! I just added a new tab marked Kindergarten. I guess this school thing is really happening!
Here are the links to the lists. If you’d like to edit a template, you’ll need to save the file once you’ve opened the link. Simply click on File (top left corner) and select Download As from the dropdown menu. This is the first time I’ve done this, so if you download a file please let me know how it works out!