Back to school organizing tools

Whether "back to school" is in your family’s vocabulary or not, September often rhymes with back to regularly scheduled programming for most families. It also tends to be a time when customers and friends like to pick my brain about my best tips on how to get organized for as smooth a return to routine as possible. So, I thought I would share three of my favourite things that keep our family of five organized!

1 – Homework station: Whether it be ensuring homework gets done or keeping your toddler busy while you (try to) prepare dinner, it’s a great idea to have a dedicated area to house the supplies you need to keep your little people occupied!  

After using the corner of a kitchen counter for a couple of years it became obvious that clutter always resulted, no matter what system I tried. No magazine rack, mason jar or binder could keep clutter at bay!  Then (insert angels singing) the IKEA RASKOG cart came into my life! Three levels. Nice design. This cart is awesome. We put our family binder, school workbooks used at home, one mason jar filled with homework supplies per child (sharpened pencils, erasers, red markers, rulers, etc), music books for the family’s resident violinist, etc. When homework comes around, each child takes his mason jar and sits down to do their homeowork. We always know where to find our stuff now, and it even looks stylish!

We also keep busy bags and other activities for the youngest member of our family. Our 4-year-old has special needs, so kinetic sands and other activities are a great way to keep him busy and help him develop better motor skills.  The cart is the perfect spot to hold all of this and any other activities to give me a few minutes of uninterrupted time to cut those vegetables. It also makes him feel like he’s doing his homework just like the big kids!

2 – Label maker: I used to think label makers were limited to office use only, but now I couldn’t live without them at home!  

At the beginning of the school year I always order personnalized labels for each of my children, but there are always particular items that need their own special label. For example, for lunch containers, at our kids’ school, each container needs to be labeled with the child’s grade level, on top of which child it belongs to. Enter the label-maker. Surprisingly, they withstand quite a few washes before having to print a new one! It’s also great to label bins of outgrown clothes for the next child who uses them, or to label the files of memorabilia you’ll want to keep from each school year. I’m a big fan of the P-Touch, and always recommend that my friends buy their tape refills from Amazon. They are amazingly cheaper than in stores!

3 – Lunch containers with compartments: Did anyone prepare you for the daunting task of school lunches?  I mean seriously. If preparing lunches wasn’t enough, you also have to factor in washing all those containers into your agenda… So, the magic of lunch containers with compartments is significant. You can transform six parts to be washed into just two. Think about it! Say you save two minutes washing, drying and putting away these containers. That’s six hours per year… or roughly six episodes of Game of Thrones. Priorities…

So, game on! It’s a busy time of year, but integrating organizing solutions is so worth it! You’ll gain so much time in the long run!

While we’re on this topic, what are your favourite organizing tools related to back-to-school?  

Mylène Houle Morency is a Professional Organizer, speaker, and owner of FLO Organisation, which specializes in organizing families with children ranging from newborn to the teenage years. She has the firm conviction that organized homes help parents become the parents they want to be, by freeing up time and diminishing stress. She has the privilege to lovingly test all her theories and organization inspirations on her husband and three children!

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