Tag Archives: Back To School

School Clutter Clear Out

Today was the last day of school for 2016 for our kids and they return home from a year of learning with all of their ‘stuff’.  So much stuff!

If you ever thought that having a baby created alot of ‘stuff’ in your house, just wait until they’re school age and watch the piles begin to appear.  And grow, and grow.

In approximately 55 days time, they will return again to the classroom with their shiny new piles of ‘stuff’ that you’ll have bought, labelled and laminated.

Crazy as it sounds, my back-to-school prep begins tonight, tackling the piles and jobs that often get put on hold.  Doing it now means that when it’s time to spend nights on end in January labelling socks and covering books, our 2016 ‘stuff’ & clutter is out of the way.

The golden rules to making this work is to:

1) Streamline/double up on your jobs – anything that can be done together at the same time, do it!

2) Touch each item only once.  If you pick it up – deal with it straight away.

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End Of School Clutter Clear Out List

  • Hang their Christmas cards in their rooms (the kids and I will do this tomorrow, tonight I’ve just helped them sort their cards into piles ready to put up with blutak). (10 minutes)
  • Put up the decorations/cards and gifts they’ve bought and made for you.  As well as any awards or Christmas photos they’ve come home with. Each of my kids has a felt pin up board in their room and I’ve simply swapped out and filed some older items from there. (10 minutes)
  • Clean any laminated charts that you need for next year.  Especially the THRASS chart which will be filthy.  A quick spray with eucalyptus & a wipe and it’s ready for next year (2 minutes).
  • Disinfect headphones – a quick wipe with eucalyptus should do the trick.  (1 minute)
  • File all the work you’re going to keep/throw all the work you’re not.  I have a large expanda file for each child and put all their special pictures, drawings and items in there. (At the end of the year/start of next year, I’ll go through it and cull 2016 to keep only what I really want and scan into the computer or throw away the things I don’t.  I find it too hard to do it as it comes in, I never know which pictures are going to be the ones worth keeping until I can compare them all. I also do the same for workbooks, I’ll keep one or two but for now, I put them all into a box to sort at the start of the new year when we can go through and reflect on them). (5 minutes).
  • Copy and laminate any resources that have come home that you’d like to put up in their homework nook.  Such as their names, school logins, alphabets, number charts, left and right reminders.  I copy and re-laminate these because the ones that come home are usually a bit ragged around the edges. (5 minutes).
  • Empty and wash lunch-boxes, lunch cooler bags & school bags (inside & out)  with hot soapy water.  I do this in my kitchen with an Enjo cloth, dishwashing detergent and a towel on the floor.  A quick scrub and they’re now hanging on the washing line to air out overnight. Remove all bag tags as well – Santa has new bag labels for their stockings this year, the ones I’m keeping, I’ve given a quick wipe over to freshen up.   (5-10 minutes) **Streamlining here – I also give my stroller a scrub and remove the seat cover to throw into the washing machine.**
  • Wash all hats, take home bags and library bags.  I throw all of mine into the machine in delicates bags.  My stroller seat is also in the machine with this load. (5 minutes to sort, 5 minutes to hang).
  • Wash or throw out their nap-time cushion (for Kindy/Pre-Primary age). (1 minute)
  • Polish or throw out school shoes.  One pair I’ve kept as they’re only new so I’ve polished them up for next year and the others I’ve thrown straight out as they were just about falling apart.  (1 minute)
  • Read through and scan or file the school reports.  Follow the ‘pick it up only once’ rule.  Don’t forget to celebrate their achievement! (5 minutes)
  • Sort and store their stationary into the cupboard.  Test texta’s, sharpen pencils and throw out anything you don’t need to keep.  (15 minutes)
  • Put away all empty workbooks – these can be sent to school next year or used at home to practice homework. (1 minute)
  • Strip wash school socks. The soap build-up from washing can leave them feeling hard and crunchy, a strip wash 1-2 x per year will get them feeling fresher and softer.  Method – Soak in napisan, launder on a normal wash with regular laundry soap.  This is to remover dirt & stains. Launder once more with a tiny squirt of dishwashing detergent (but NO laundry soap!) and put some vinegar into the rinse dispenser.  Run a rinse cycle 1-2 times to remove the soap build up and dry indoors on a rack to keep their newly returned softness (10 minutes plus time in machine).

Hopefully that helps you clear out the clutter that comes home from school this year a head start into your back-to-school prep for next year.

Let me know if you have any tips or routines you follow to stay on top of the end of year ‘stuff’… I’d love to hear it!

Rebecca xx

Back To School? 5 Tips To Make Your Mornings Less Chaotic

The balmy endless summer days of Christmas are fading, a new year is well and truly underway and the next big annual milestone – “Back To School” – is already upon us.

Now, I’m not one of those mothers who wishes the holidays away.  Not.At.All.  Rather, I love the slow pace of a home-day with my brood and the unpredictable freedom and blank canvas of a day without scheduled constraints

But perhaps that’s because I have a 1, 2 & 5 year old and the very thought of having to get them all up, ready and out the door by 8am on my own (as my entrepreneurial husband, all too frequently, travels the globe, building our future) can see me quivering in my boots and feeling totally and utterly overwhelmed.

This is where I aim to focus my energy onto my strengths as opposed to my weaknesses.  My weaknesses may include being very tired, busy and running around solo after three very energetic little ones.  But my strengths include organising and motivating myself towards getting a task done.

Systemised and energised, I can create the space I need every day to factor in and safe-guard against the mishaps.  The lost socks, missing library book and occasional meltdown that are inevitable to occur if mornings are rushed and stressed.

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My Top 5 Tips To Make Your Mornings Less Chaotic

  1. Use a clothing organiser system, such as those from Howards Storage World (RRP $33.95), to set out uniforms, clothes and other important items (accessories, activity requirements such as goggles, badges, etc) for the week.  Everything from underwear up should be ready in these drawers and not only will it promote independence and learning for preschoolers, but it will also prevent the mad scramble to find clean and wrinkle-free uniforms at the last minute.  If you don’t 9081_PNF011-PLAZA-Neatkids-7-days-a-week-organised-pop-2have a uniform for each day (My son is full-time this year but I only have three sets), start with Monday and replace as the laundry is done early in the week.  Don’t forget to always put your regular weekly items straight back in there after use.  For us this means martial arts uniforms, bathers, goggles and gymnastics shirts are always put straight back in, never into his chest of drawers.  I also use these drawers to store ‘news’ items for school and any other important items my child may need for that day.  The uses of a system like this are endless!  You could even use these drawers to allocate weekly activities such as puzzles, etc if you wanted to.
  2. Set a baking day and always make double batches for the freezer.  I like to bake at least one sweet and one savoury item every Sunday to be sure that I have a variety of healthy, ready-made food on hand for lunch boxes.
  3. Create an evening routine that sees you prepped for the next day.  Include making up lunch boxes, filling the washing machine, clearing the dishes and kitchen bench, even select your own clothes and if possible, blow-dry your hair the night before.  That’ll save you at least 20 minutes in the morning alone as well as prevent you rocking that ‘everyday is a joggers & bun day’ look for the next 10 weeks.
  4. Create routine for your kids so that you can be there to gently guide them through their daily habits, as opposed to chasing everyone going off in different directions.  In our house that means waking up, getting straight into the bath, getting dressed, brushing hair and then sitting down for breakfast.  After breakfast, they wipe their faces and hands, brush their teeth and then it’s free-play until it’s time to leave.  The predictability of a morning routine not only prevents chaos and meltdowns but also promotes and empowers independence from a very young age.
  5. Be ready 10 minutes before you have to leave.  No mum I know can leave ‘on-time’ unless they are ready long before their departure deadline.  Bags by the door, sunblock on, lunches in the bags, drink bottles filled…by 7.50am at the latest. The only thing left to do is put shoes on as we walk out of the door. 9 times out of 10, I can end up making my 8am departure as planned. And that means that it’s only once a fortnight that I run screaming down the driveway, frantically buckling everyone in and doing a head-count on the run.  But I’m working on it!

Happy 2015 and to all the littlies starting off on a new adventure – have a wonderful journey and enjoy all that your new classroom has to offer!