Back to School time is upon us. It is time to pick up backpacks, lunch bags, laptops, school supplies, and more. While kids might like to pick out their own new paraphernalia, parents really just look forward to getting their children back into school and routines. Any parents I know also want the process to be painless, quick, and as economical as possible. So how to go about that? With a little prep work beforehand.

Before the first school bell rings is the perfect time to prepare for a new school year. It is time to take stock of what you have, what you need, plus fit in time to declutter and organize your space, before all this year’s homework, projects and artwork starts coming home again. It won’t take long for life to speed up, so take advantage of the last of  the lazy summer days before it is time to embrace the rat race again. A little preparation now will take you a long way into a more organized school year this year.

Where to Start:

From backpacks, to school supplies – how much should you buy?

  • Go through last year’s backpacks to see what kind of shape they are in. Do you need to buy a new one, or will it last for another year? Same thing goes for lunch bags. Toss it, or clean it so it’ll be good to go again?
  • What did you find in those backpacks? Do you need to file report cards, recycle or shred old tests, or tuck away a special piece of art or project into your child’s memento box?
  • What did you find in the lunch bags? Do you need to buy new freezer packs, storage containers,  or drink boxes?
  • How about the pencil cases? Are they full of holes, empty or still jammed full of pencils, erasers, pencil crayons and more stuff. Waste not, want not.

To Buy, or Not to Buy: 

Figure out what supplies your school already has before running out to buy things you might not need

  • Check on your school’s website for suggestions for what to bring to school; ie. runners, extra clothes, backpacks, binders, etc. Some schools have supplies available, while other classrooms might be begging for boxes of kleenex and any art supplies you might have on hand.
  • With your checklist of what children need, plus inventory taken stock of with what you already have, it’s not a bad idea to check the flyers or look for online sales before you head out the door. Back to school shopping can get expensive, so save money where you can with a little investigative research.
  • Decide if your child will need any other electronics this year. Are your kids ready for a cell phone, smart phone, iPad, laptop or PC? If they are still in elementary school, you might just want to stick with a calculator as your big tech gadget,  but that is ultimately up to you. Check with your school’s policies as well, as you might find that the brand new smart phone that you just bought isn’t really encouraged at your child’s school.

Study Space:

  • Unless you like clutter, you should do a little planning now. Where will backpacks live when not in use? How about lunch bags? Will hooks behind the door work for backpacks, or will they live in your child’s room? Do you have a drawer or cupboard where children can put their lunch bags after they have been emptied?
  • Will your child have dedicated supplies for school and others for use at home? How much will be going back and forth between classroom and home? Can you afford to buy both, or is it more feasible to leave school supplies there, and have a second set of supplies at home?
  • Where will your children be doing their homework when they get it; their bed, the kitchen table, a desk? Will you be helping them with their homework, and if so is there space enough for both of you? Will they have access to all that they need in this study space?

Now all you have to do is start getting the kids ready for when that first bell rings. Bring bedtime back to a more manageable hour, get them excited about seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and have them practice their ABCs and 123s, to see if they’ve still got it. And you parents? Hold your excitement in til the bell rings.