Hey Collectors!

I hope you enjoyed our first blog on Back to School Organizing Tips for children. If you missed it you can read it here: http://www.collectorcare.com/back-school-organizing-tips/

While last month focused on children, I wanted to share some back to school organizing tips for parents. As a busy single mom, I need to keep myself organized not only for business, but also for my son Shane! If I am not organized, it affects Shane. The more organized and free of clutter I am, the better mom I can be to Shane.

Most of us have started the school year and now is a great time to build organizing habits and get into routines. Organizing can help you save time and money as well as reduce your stress. Who doesn’t need more stress reduction? Here are a few back to school organizing tips I have found very helpful for parents.

Get Organized

Now that the kids are back to school, take some time to get organized and clear clutter!

Organize Clothes. Go through clothes and give away, sell or store for a younger sibling clothes that no longer fit. If they are worn, turn into rags or toss. (My rule of thumb when donating: if I wouldn’t give it to a friend because it’s in bad shape, I wouldn’t donate it.)

Make sure fall clothes still fit and make a list of anything you may need to purchase that children have outgrown: winter coats, sweaters, boots, etc.

Don’t forget to go through your own clothes! If you haven’t worn it in a while, donate or sell. Take the time to try on clothes and see if any need adjustments. Put it on your to do list to have clothes altered.

Organize/ Update Health Records. Many children have back to school health examinations and physicals. Many doctor’s offices now have on line record keeping. Check with your physician or health plan to see how long they store files and if they keep everything such as test results. Shred any old records (outdated prescriptions, etc.) that you don’t need.

If you don’t already, create a health record file for each family member and pet. Include things like current meds, allergies, physician phone numbers and health insurance information. In case you need it, will be easy to find.

Go through files. The onslaught of paper from schools has already begun! Before you get too overwhelmed, take the time now to go through your files and purge. Be judicious when it comes to holding onto school mementos. I suggest no more than one box per year and even less if you are able. Consider going through items with your child. Something might be important to them that you aren’t aware of and they might not need to keep what you considered special.

It is also a great time to start preparing information for your taxes. If you haven’t already, create a folder to keep all receipts for tax purposes.

Laundry

Pick laundry days. There is always laundry to do, but I suggest picking regular days to wash clothes. Let everyone know what days you will be doing laundry. Children will know to make sure to know when they need to have something in the laundry. No more not having a clean green shirt to wear for Earth Day.

Build a routine around laundry. On the days you do laundry, plan routines. After putting in laundry, you could pack lunches, do dinner prep or answer email. After you put clothes in the dryer, you could make dinner, return phone calls, or read mail. The more we do something at the same time, the more quickly the task gets done.

Get children to help. So many parents, especially mom’s, take on the burden of doing everything. Assign age appropriate chores for children. Teenagers can wash, dry and fold. Younger children can help sort and put away clothes.

Family Calendar

Create a central calendar. I am a fan of having one calendar that lists everyone’s activities. In our house, each person is a different color. My activities are in pink, Shane’s are in blue, etc. That way with a quick glance, each person knows what is on the agenda for the day.

If you have a command center or an office area, this is a great place to keep the calendar. If you have older children and/or are tech savvy, Google calendar is a great option.

Remember to add any event, appointment to the calendar as soon as you say yes or schedule!

Involve everyone. Make sure that everyone uses the calendar. It might take some adjusting, but if you make it a habit every time you schedule something, it will become automatic.

Don’t forget to block out time for yourself as well as family time. So many times we overschedule and it is important to have time to relax, recharge and have fun.

How do you organize for back to school? Where are you challenged when it comes to clearing clutter for the school year? Share your comments below.

Are you struggling to get organized or clear you clutter? Had you hoped to begin the school year organized but it didn’t quite happen? Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email rachel@collectorcare.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.