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Back to School, Homeschol and Distance Learning Organization Guide

It’s the start of a new school year in my home and I’m determined to make sure we have a smooth, clutter-free and positive school year.

As an avid believer in  and the positive impact of having a decluttered and organized home, I believe having an organization system and clutter and junk free home are essential for ensuring positive energy flow and clear thought.

I highly recommend that parents use the beginning of a school year as another excuse to get organized, not just for the school routine, but the family home in general.  So even if you did Spring or New Year cleaning, use the late summer/early fall to re-organize your life and priorities as well.

Even if your kids have already gone back, you can still get started. Here are some declutter and home organization tips that I’ve put together that I hope can help get you through the year.

Clean and DeClutter

Clean and Declutter the Kids Play, Work Rooms and Nursery.  Limit the number of toys and books in the kids room. Get rid of old broken toys. Give away old books and toys to the Salvation Army, Good Will or another family member with children younger than yours. Keep only a few of the favorite story books and the toys your child or children play with regularly. Don’t let them know you’re getting rid of the stuff they don’t even play with. They likely won’t even know it and you don’t need the headache of having them plea for you to keep it.

Infuse Calming Scents in the Home.  I’m a also a big believer in aromatheraphy and that scents guide the mood. Buy Glade or some other brand’s plugins to keep the air fresh and clean smelling. You can burn candles when you’re home or if you’re an incense type of person, those work too.  Consider using those with essential oils or scents such as chamomile, rose, vanilla and lavender. They are calming scents.

Thoroughly Clean the Room. Wash and Wipe down the walls, baseboards, windows and floors — with natural cleaners. Repair wall holes, cracks, squeaky windows, peeling paint. A clean home is great for fostering clear thoughts and just clarity, in general.

Set up Calendar and Chore Lists. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you shouldn’t be doing all of the cleaning and upkeep. Set up a chore sheet for the refrigerator for after school chores. Also, start a new family calendar for keeping up with back to school nights, upcoming field trips, sports activities and other events so everyone knows what’s going on. If you’re the family manager as mom, you shouldn’t be the only one aware of what days are soccer practice.  Sitters, your spouse and house guests should too. Also, a chore list is great for keeping up the principles of feng shui which are all about clean spaces.

Keep Toys Dedicated to ONE area of the home (or maybe two) Avoid the chaotic mind that comes when you have toys and other things sprinkled in every nook and cranny of the home. Toys should be kept only to the play room, the kids room or one area of the apartment that is quartered off and situated with a toy chest, storage bin or some place where you can quickly toss all the toys hanging out all over the house. The tough part may be to stick to this one simple rule.

When the kids are not playing with a toy, there is really no need for it to be taking up space on the kitchen table or creating a tripping hazard for you or a guest. Either you, your partner or trained kids if they are old enough should make a concerted effort to gather all errant toys and keep them in the designated area.

It seems pretty intuitive, huh?

Over time, it will become a habit or second nature and you will find toys are not strewn about as much anymore. I do this with other areas of my home and life.  All papers, books, newspapers, invoices, magazines are usually put away in our home office.  All clothes go in a hamper, closet or bedroom.  Dishes, cups and silverware discovered anywhere in the house are picked up and taken in the kitchen

Think of this mantra:  “There is a place for Everything and Everything in its place.”

Organize the Paper Trails. Each year, families accumulate reports, information from school, permission slips and the such. It will get mixed in with bills, receipts, warranties and other paper that come into your life.

This Home Organization plan will make it easy for you:  Get a binder or two and dividers or one of those mega accordion file folders with tabs and divide them in the following categories:

School Category

  • Car maintenance schedule/Receipts
  • School schedules and holiday list
  • Lunch menus
  • School information page
  • School reading lists
  • Summer Camp and programs information
  • Medical information sheet for each family member
  • Emergency directory
  • House-sitter information sheet
  • PTA newsletters and rosters

Health Categories

  • Prescription drug record
  • Health insurance information

Home Vacation

  • Travel packing checklist
  • Before-we-leave checklist
  • Vacation idea list

Home Renovation

  • Home renovation contractor lists
  • Contracts and Bids
  • Warranty information
  • Utilities/services directory
  • Home decorating ideas

Home Business

  • Business records
  • Tax Documents for Business
  • Consultants and Independent Contractor records
  • Liability Insurance
  • Business & Office Equipment registry

Financial

  • Tax Documents for Personal
  • Big Ticket Items receipts
  • Life insurance information
  • Budget/spending record
  • Bills to pay

Hope these Declutter and Home Organization Tips are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!

 

The 3 Step Guide for Setting Up Your Quarantine Homeschool

students

students

By now, most parents are a month or more into being Homeschool families and many have been given the news that school will not resume for the school year.

With this reality solidified, now is a great time to get organized for this last quarter. During this time, we are all sharing one office space and need to keep our files separate and organized from other members of the family.

Here is one suggestion on how to accomplish this task:

STEP ONE

Find in the home or purchase from Staples, Walmart, Target  curbside pick up or Amazon, one mega 3 inch three ring binder and purchase  thin one-subject spiral notebooks to go in it.

Purchase matching color-coordinator two-pocked three-hole punched folders to accompany each subject that will be placed behind each notebook.

In the left pocket of each folder, insert the class syllabus/agenda for each week . The right pocket will be used to hold loose-leaf notes and print outs.

The notebook  should used for note taking on one side of the pages only and dated at the upper right hand corner so your child can keep track.

STEP TWO 

FAMILY ORGANIZATION MATERIALS:  Because the entire family will need to organize time in the shared office space, dueling times on the computer on zoom office meetings or distance learning sessions, a large central family calendar is a must have.

It’s great for the entire family, for accountability sake and so everyone is tune in to the duties and obligations, and assignments of everyone in the household, use or repurpose the following: 

A Large Central Family Calendar to hang in the kitchen or family room where everyone can see it.

On this large calendar, put important dates including virtual doctor’s appointments, quiz and project deadlines, online tutor and rehearsal schedules and more.

If you have more than one child, like we do, dedicate a different colored marker color for each child and family member so they can easily see what applies to them with a glance.

This large calendar may help your child or children organize in their mind(s) as well as let you know who has what exam coming up or assignment due and when too.

STEP THREE

A Storage Bin: Find an unused bin in your home or, if it is financially feasible, order one from Staples, Walmart, Target or Amazon

Get a bin with multiple compartments that can store paper, notebooks, blank flash cards, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, staples, glue, scissors, compasses, protractors, rulers and all the materials that may be needed for homework or a short project.

It takes away the time wasted looking for a sharp pencil that children use as an excuse to procrastinate from starting. Have this storage bin be located in the designated study area or nook in your home.

A Weekly Calendar: Like the monthly calendar, the weekly calendar should be updated each Sunday before the new week with tests, quizzed and other due dates. . Have your kid or kids review your class notes from the previous week to see if you need to add any school activities.

Timer: Use a timer on your smart phone and set it for 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted study, then allow for 5-10 minutes of break to help a child who has a tough time concentrating and working non-stop.

You can also purchase a timer just for this purpose.

It’s also great for kids who have or are borderline ADD/ADHD and/or have executive functioning disorder. Children with these conditions require more frequent breaks.

Daily To-Do List: Some children need daily reminders of what to do each day and even though you tell them, they forget.

Having a fixed daily schedule up on or near the fridge in the kitchen or other heavily traveled area is a good idea.

Ours include minutiae: Bathe, brush teeth, put on deodorant, dress, brush hair, eat breakfast; and after school and after library: undress, hang up uniforms, dinner, get forms signed, pack backpacks and knapsacks for the next day and leave by door, unpack lunchboxes and dump uneaten stuff and trash, warm milk, reading or practice instrument, quick study, bedtime.

Now, let’s get organized and getterdone! No more excuses for being organized! Do it today!!!!!

Good luck, parents!