Five things to do for a smoother start to the school year

School is just around the corner. As a teacher, I feel like we only just left school for the summer. As a parent, I am looking forward to the kids getting their routine back. While we are busy squeezing the last little drop out of summer, I have begun to think about what we can do to make our back-to-school transition go more smoothly.

1. Organize your children’s closets

Does your kid’s closet currently resemble an avalanche? If so, that’s really going to stress you out when you’re trying to get everyone dressed but their closets are insane.

Just grab a sheet of plywood, a saw, a drill, and some wood screws and build yourself a closet organizer.

2. Teach your children to prepare the night before

Pack your lunches, lay out your clothes, and get your book bag ready the night before. There’s no point in scrambling to find what you need in the mornings. This will only stress you out and make you feel rushed.

3. Establish bedtime routines and after school routines about three weeks before school starts

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Don’t wait until the week before school starts to begin going to bed early. Make sure kids know what you expect them to do when they first get home from school and what times are bath time and bed time. We start working on this a month to three weeks before school starts to get it ingrained. We also use a checklist similar to this one to help:

Source: Pinterest

4. Go back-to-school shopping early!

If you wait until the last minute, items may be sold out. Get your back to school shopping done sooner rather than later and you won’t have to worry. Also, if you forget something, there is plenty of time to get it.

5. Take some time off

Rest. Don’t jam pack your schedule the last few weeks before school. Take one to two weeks to relax and prepare for school to start back. Spend time together and just enjoy one another. For the days are long, but the years are short. Someday, back to school time will be a distant memory.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Dance Recital Organization Hacks

We are a dance family. Both of our daughters take numerous dance classes and are competitive dancers. As a result, their recent recital consisted of 12 costume changes…eight for Emorie and four for Aubrey. To keep them all straight and minimize time between numbers, I chose to purchase a rolling rack.

1. Rolling garment rack

At rehearsal, we tried to keep all the costumes and shoes in a large rolling duffle. It worked to an extent, but it did get difficult at times. So instead, I bought a $10 rolling rack at Walmart and hung the costumes in the order of the dances. I hung a ziplock bag with shoes and accessories on each hanger. This made costume changes so much easier!

2. Cosmetic bag

Amazon.com, $14

We have a large cosmetic case similar to this one. It’s huge and it holds their hairspray, hairbrush, hair ties, mirror and their makeup. We use the smaller one to hold the hair pins, safety pins and the smaller items.

3. Multipurpose closet hooks

Walmart, $7

We use these hooks to hang our mirror and cosmetic bags onto the closet rod so we will have them close at hand.

4. Small handheld mirror

Amazon, $9

This mirror is magnifying and lighted…and you can fold it up! It travels easily and is very handy. Get you one!

I highly recommend you get all of these things to make your recital run more smoothly. They made our experience so much more organized and less stressful.

Free printable Friday: weekly cleaning schedule

Good Friday morning to you! I hope you are all well and healthy. At this time, many of us are planning our yearly spring cleaning projects and trying to find more efficient ways to do our regular cleaning.

If you know me at all, you know how much I love making lists, especially if it’s a checklist. This week, I thought I’d share two of my printable checklists with you.

There are certain cleaning chores I like to complete each week, but sometimes we get busy and I need a visual to help me remember what I’ve finished.

To download, right click on the picture and save to your device. Please remember these are for personal use only and are not to be used commercially.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Getting organized: how to organize your closets and keep them that way! (Part One)

Getting organized: how to organize your closets and keep them that way! (Part One)

There are two types of people in the world: those who are naturally organized and those who must work to be organized. Maybe you fall into that second category- you really want to be organized, but you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

And as some of us are beginning to think about spring cleaning, closet spaces are a good starting point.

My once well-organized closet now looks like this. I;’m struggling to find what I need and I’m tired of it. Maybe you feel the same way.

Getting organized is possible, but it doesn’t happen overnight. With the following tips, you too can have an organized closet.

1. Think about your family and your needs.

Who lives in your home? What rooms do you use daily in your home? What spaces are currently giving you the biggest headache? When you consider your family’s needs, and organize accordingly, you’re more likely to stay organized. Apply this to closets, too. Who uses that closet? What do they use the most? What don’t you need in that space that could go somewhere else?

2. Simplify, declutter and purge!

When you’re organizing, remove everything you don’t need or don’t use. Keep only what you use and trash or donate everything else. Clutter doesn’t help you in any way and it only stresses you out.

man faceless mail business
Photo by C Technical on Pexels.com

3. Sort and purge all rooms at least twice a year to keep things organized and decluttered.

We like to declutter once around Christmas time and once again in the summer. We usually donate or repurpose what we no longer use. This cuts down on toy clutter and helps us to rid ourselves of the things we no longer need.

4. Start small

Don’t try to tackle your whole house in a day. Start with a closet first, or even a drawer. Organize all cabinets and drawers and then move on to closets and rooms. Before you know it, your whole house will be organized!

5. Have specific places for everything and put things away when you are finished with them.

Sometimes we get lazy and we don’t always put things away when we are done. We then forget where we put them and misplace them! It’s better to put away the items and be done with it.

Getting organized may seem overwhelming, but it’s easier than you think. All it takes is dedication and a little effort…and the patience to start small.

Happy organizing!

Five Friday Favorites: our favorite apps for staying organized in the new year

Most of us enjoy being organized, and others of us want to be more organized. Some of us fit into both of those categories. Better organization and a more simplified life is at your fingertips…look no further than your smartphone.

There are a few apps that have proven indispensable to our family and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Cozi family organizer (free, premium version available)

Do you have two or more children with several activities on the calendar? Do you struggle to plan meals, keep track of schedules and to-do lists? Cozi is for you!! We use it to catalog recipes, share shopping lists and keep track of schedules via the calendar feature. Each week, it emails all members of your family the events for the week.

2. Spotify Family

I was already a Spotify Premium user and I originally tried to share my account with family. This worked great until we all wanted to listen to something different at the same time. For less than $20, you can have up to five members on one account…not much more than one Spotify Premium account. We also take advantage of their under 12 account, where you can block explicit content and see what your kid listens to.

3. Poshmark

Are you cleaning out closets for the new year and getting rid of outgrown clothing? Make a few extra bucks by selling those clothes on Poshmark. You can also save a few bucks by purchasing gently used clothing for your fast- growing littles. We do!

4. My Macros

Take charge of your diet and fitness by keeping track of your daily food intake with My Macros! I have used this app for about a year and a half now and I love how easy it is to track my calories, fats, carbs and proteins. I highly recommend it.

5. Instacart

No time to grocery shop? Uncomfortable going into the grocery store? Give Instacart a try! I have been making a weekly grocery cart, adding to it throughout the week, and finalizing my order when it’s finished. Then, I arrange a pickup time, drive to the store, and pick up my order. I pay online so my stuff is already paid for when I get there, and they even load it for me. It saves me so much time.

What apps do you use to keep your family, food and fitness on track? Comment below!