Back to School Help

It’s that time of year again!  The school buses are rolling again or will be soon.


So I did a little research to find you a lot of helpful back to school tips.  Since I’ve been writing this blog (and the old Organize By The Month blog) for seven years now I figured a good place to start was with the old posts.

I found  a lot of helpful information plus many links to other sites and articles. Unfortunately there were several links that were no longer working.

So I reviewed all the posts listed below and either updated or deleted any links that were not working.  If however, you find a broken link please let me know.  I’ll fix it as soon as possible.

Anyway, I hope the tips in the posts below will help you and your children start off the school year on the right track.  That will help the whole year be more successful. …

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Get Control of Those School Papers Now!

quizWith the start of school comes the start of the avalanche of school papers entering our homes.  There are the notices of events going on, the permission slips, homework, worksheets, and all the art work the younger children do.  With so many papers coming in so fast it’s hard to keep the piles from growing out of control.


That is, of course, if you don’t have a plan on how to handle all those papers!

Now is the time to set up a system to get control of the incoming avalanche of  papers. It will help the whole school year go smoother.

School Papers Organizing Tips:

1.  Notices, permission slips, etc.: 

Pocket folders work great for these. Make sure each child has a different colored one for easier filing. Every day when your children bring home the papers be sure to mark the date on your calendar for any events or when permissions slips are due. Then file the paper in the appropriate folder.  Instead of separate pocket folders you can use a 3 ring binder with labeled or different colored pocket folders in it.  This might work better if you have several children instead of just one or two.

2.  Current homework:

 Each child should have their own notebook or folders they keep in their backpack.  Usually the teachers will recommend what they want for their class. Check it daily.  Your child will need to clean out this folder periodically or else the current homework could end up lost in the old homework.

3.  Old homework:

This is were it’s harder to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Depending on the grade level there can be a lot of papers that your child never needs to look at again.  If there is a chance they will need it to study for a test then help them set up a folder for each subject.  Most of the time in the younger grades the practice papers can be recycled.  At the end of the school year very little if any needs to be kept.

4.  Art work/stories:

Many of these will be keepers, at least for a short time.  You can hang up the art work, give it to the grandparents, or store it.  Plastic boxes that go under the bed work great for these since many pieces of  art work are larger than the standard piece of paper.  You can also put those short stories they write in this box.

If you still have last year’s papers laying around now is the time to go through them. The article “Decluttering Children’s School Papers” will show you how.

Here are more tips on back to school routines.

“7 Tips for Back to School Evening Routine”

“Back to School Tips”

“Back to School Organizing”

Hope everyone has a great school year!



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Back To School Sales, Oh My!

It’s hard to ignore all the ads on TV, internet, and radio about all those wonderful school supplies every child needs to succeed.  Of course we aren’t fooled by all the hype the advertising agencies throw at us.  Yet, we do want to make sure our children have every advantage possible to get the best education they can.

It’s easy to just go to the store and purchase all the items we think our children need or they think they need.  But if you have students well into elementary, middle, or secondary grades you probably have unused school supplies still sitting on the shelves.  The reason for this may be:

  1. You bought way too many items because of the great price.
  2. You or your children bought into the hype and purchased items they never used.
  3. You wanted to make sure your students didn’t run out of supplies causing a last minute run to the store.

Another source of leftover supplies is when you and your children are lured into wanting all their notebooks, backpacks, pencils, and lunch boxes with the current “fads” on them.  There is nothing wrong with buying some of these.  After all it is important that our children are enthusiastic about going to school.  The problem comes in when leftover supplies with last year’s fad is this year’s “dud”.  It could sit on your shelf forever!

If you’ve had this problem in the past there is an easy solution.  Buy only a few things with this year’s “fad” knowing the child may not use it next year.  If your budget is tight try to stay neutral with the more expensive items such as backpacks, lunch boxes/bags, zippered notebooks, etc.  Start out the new school year with one or two fad notebooks and/or other supplies. Stock up on the basic ones to be used later in the year.

As children grow older the required school supplies will change.  If you have a lot of unused and outgrown leftover supplies on the shelf consider donating these to a local charity that collects new supplies for underprivileged children.  It always feels good to help all children start off the school year right. After all, they are the future!

For more information on preparing for back to school check out these sites.

If you have any unique ways in which you shop for school supplies please share them in the comment section.



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September 2012 Important Dates


I started this blog 4 1/2 years ago to help people (and myself) to plan and get organized according to what is happening during each month. This included knowing the special dates and holidays plus the different seasons and events such as gardening, home maintenance, school happenings, etc.

I kind of got away from that in the past year or two.  I am now going back to the original intent of this blog. Below is a list of September dates. I didn’t put links today but will in future posts.

I’m working on writing a report on how to create your own “Organize By The Month Planner” so you can keep track of all your personal birthdays, anniversaries, home maintenance chores, and personal monthly/yearly appointments.

I’ve had a planner of this nature for years.

When I first got married my mother-in-law would remind me of the upcoming birthday’s on my husband’s side of the family. She was good about it and I thank her for helping me not forget. However, after a few years it became a little embarrassing to have to rely on my mother-in-law to remind me. So I figured out a system that works for me.

I’m visual person so the out of sight out of mind statement really applies to my life. This planner has helped me and I hope will help you. I’ll let you know when it’s ready for the free download.

Here are September’s Dates.

Sept. 3, Monday, Labor Day

Sept. 6, Thursday,  Fight Procrastination Day

Sept. 9, Sunday, Grandparents Day

Sept. 11, Tuesday, Patriot Day

Sept. 16-17, Sunday (evening) & Monday (day), Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)

Sept. 22, Friday, First Day of Autumn

Sept. 25-26, Tuesday (evening) & Wednesday (day) (Day of Atonement)


P.S. If you have any questions on how to get more organized or suggestions you would like to share please let me know in the comment section.  Thanks.

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7 Tips for Back to School Evening Routine

This past weekend my neighbor’s son headed back to college.  It seems like just last week I was asking him what his plans were for the summer break.

Our local school starts tomorrow.  I live one house from the corner where the school bus stops.  Although my children are grown I’m always reminded that school is in session when I hear the kids laughing or talking or even running down the sidewalk yelling for the bus to wait for them.

Mornings can be hectic trying to get everyone out of the house on time.  The best way to have the mornings run smooth is to have a good evening routine.

I know, it’s easy to say but a lot harder to do!

The best way I know how to do an evening routine is to write out a check list that is followed each night.  Then practice, practice, practice.

It will be up to you to teach your children to follow their list. You may even want to give them some incentives such as a weekend movie, a special treat, or some other reward for them doing well with their evening routine.  They are more likely to follow it if they know they will be rewarded for good behavior. If you have them help you develop the list and rewards they will take more ownership of it.

Here are some suggestions to put on the check list.  You may want to individualize it for each child according to their age and grade level.

Evening routine check list:

  1. Homework: Time (set a minimum time according to their age. Even if they don’t have specific homework have them do some reading, drawing, or other creative activity during this time.)
  2. Put completed homework in backpack.
  3. Take clothes out for next day.
  4. Prepare lunch box/bag (non-perishables) or put lunch money in backpack or wallet.
  5. Make sure any permission slips are filled out and put in backpack.
  6. Personal hygiene list: bath or shower, brush teeth, wash face, prepare for bed.
  7. Bed time: make sure it is age appropriate and that they know it’s lights out. If children want to read before going to bed they will need a “getting into bed” time and a “lights out” time.

Once you have made up the check list be sure to post it in the child’s room, a control center location (kitchen, family room, mud room) or both areas.

The Flylady website has a Student Control Journal that can help with both the evening routine and the morning routine.

The more you and your children practice the evening routine the smoother the mornings will go for everyone in your household. So get that check list started today!

To a lighter load along the way.


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