Getting Organized: Back to School

Sep 28, 2012

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People this organized scare me.

I'm sure those of you with school age kids and even preschoolers are already DONE with the hectic morning routine.  I waited to post this because I wanted to make sure the changes we made this year are actually working before I shared some tips.

As a mom of three boys that are super messy, don't care if their clothes match, "forget" to brush their teeth, and don't even notice if they smell like a locker room, I realized I've got to get them in order.

I always attempt to make lunches at night so I don't have to scramble in the morning, but I'm usually too exhausted to even consider it. That means I leave them alone to get dressed and they usually end up with dirty clothes and/or clothes that don't match. They ALWAYS forget to put on socks and underwear.  This means arguing as I send them back upstairs at least a few times to get their clothes right.  Then, they almost miss the bus and are hopping out the door as they put their shoes on.  There's no nice goodbyes because I'm usually at the door in my pjs yelling at them to run so they don't miss the bus.  I'm sure my neighbors think we're absolutely nuts.

I decided this school year we are going to get organized.  Mornings are still chaotic, but much better than last year. This is what we did differently.

1.  Clothes Organization

My oldest kids are 10 and 6.  They have a very definite idea of what they want to wear.  Even though they may have said they loved that expensive and nice t-shirt in the store, they decided weeks later they were just kidding.  Now, they can't wear anything other than Under Armour t-shirts so they look like muscular football players.  In reality, they are so skinny it gives them a bobble head appearance, but what do I know?  To stop the morning arguing we pick out what they are going to wear for the week together on Sunday.  I'm not organized to do this the night before.  I would definitely forget four out of seven nights.  Where do you put those clothes for the week?

In here:

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Maybe it's not the prettiest picture, but it works.  I'm sure you've seen these 6 tiered closet organizers everywhere.  They're about $10 at Target.  I think they are supposed to be for sweaters, but they work perfectly for putting an entire outfit in there, too.  We don't just stop at a top and bottom.  I also put in underwear and matching socks.  Now, there is no excuse for not matching.  The kids seem happier because they have several options and they helped put together each outfit so there's no,"Buuut, I don't liiiikkkke it!"  A side benefit is it saves on laundry time by folding the clothes instead of hanging them up.

Unfortunately, my 4 year old is not quite tall enough to grab anything from the top three cubbies so I had to come up with a different system for him.  This also works if you don't have enough closet space for one of those organizers.

I put together an entire outfit for him, also.  He's only four so I'm sure he wouldn't be embarrassed by his Spiderman underwear out there on their internet...yet.

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Then, I roll it.

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And, store it in his drawer.

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All he has to do is grab "a roll" in the morning to get dressed.  It's still a shock to see him come downstairs in matching clothes.

I roll his pjs up too in a different drawer.  It's so much better than folding because the clothes stay together.  No wrinkles either!

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2.  Hygiene

Usually, my kids don't smell until they've been playing outside more than 30 seconds. I know it's not just my kids either. I went to my son's fourth grade parent information night a few weeks ago and the teacher pleaded for the kids to start wearing deodorant if they haven't already.  I thought it was funny and didn't think much about it.  Then, I walked down the hall in the middle of the day after another meeting.  Blech!  That entire fourth grade hallway smelled so bad of body odor.  No wonder the teacher mentioned the deodorant.

Another problem I was having was the kids would say they brushed their teeth and they didn't.  I used to make them blow in my face so I could smell their minty breath to be sure, but when they lied I almost got sick from their morning breath.  They thought my reaction was funny.  I didn't.  If they did really brush them there would be toothpaste everywhere on the counter.  I started putting the toothpaste on for them as soon as I woke up so they didn't smear it everywhere.  I also check to make sure no one still has toothpaste on their brush before they leave.  I also set the deodorant out right next to the toothbrushes.

For those that are scanning for pretty pictures:

I have no pretty pictures of the boys' bathroom, but this is my inspiration picture when I do remodel it.

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3.  Where are your shoes?!  I can't tell you how many times I've asked my kids this as I hear the bus coming down the street.  Except for yesterday morning when we discovered my six year old's shoes were at the neighbor's house (don't ask) we haven't had any problems this year.  We have a basket by the front door for the kids shoes.  I put it there so it would keep the shoes out of the hallway, but a side benefit is that we always know where the shoes are.

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These are some tricks I finally learned after much trial and error.  Please feel free to share yours.  Kids paperwork storage ideas are especially welcome!

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