Though we’ve kind of been robbed of a summer (‘dry’ July? Anyone seen it?) back to school season is coming into full swing, so planning ahead is key…
Ireland’s top professional organisers, Kim and Lyn from A Sorted Affair, have seen the August and September chaos too many times to count, and know all the best ways to streamline your household before school comes back.
Lyn says: “As busy working mums, we know that this time of the year can be overwhelming. So, starting early and being prepared is the easiest way to make the transition back to school less stressful for everyone.”
They’ve given advice across four categories which will – hopefully – take the sting out of the first few weeks back in the autumn routine.
Kim says: “Take an hour out of your weekend to make sure the items you need for Monday – Wednesday (at least) are washed and dry. We recommend having everything you need, including underwear and socks, in one, easy-to-grab location.”
Lyn likes to use tall drawers for her family and labels them by day. The contents then contain everything they need for that day including afterschool activities.
“We like to recommend this style of drawers which are readily available in most local stores. Aldi, Choice Stores and Mr Price have a great selection. If you have more hanging space than floor space, we recommend to check these out from IKEA or Home Store and More.”
Lyn continues: “Kim likes to hang hers over the banister ready for the girls to independently get dressed. It’s about figuring out what works for you and your family!”
Kim says: “Organise the fridge! It’s a simple tip but very effective and one of the biggest time savers. Put all the lunch box items together and in grab-and-go containers. That way you can lift it out of the fridge, get what you need and then pop them straight back in ready for the next day.
“Create a breakfast station. Depending on the age group, setting up an accessible spot for bowls, spoons, cups and cutlery for the children to either make their own or assist in the breakfast routine is not only a great habit to start but another time saver.
“Have a lunch or snack station. Fill a low-down press, drawer or even a basket with snacks and lunch time items such as dried food, lunchboxes, water bottles etc. Children of all ages can get involved in the lunch time prep. Even if the little ones are just taking out the boxes and bottles to be filled and leave the sandwich making to the bigger ones. If you have a particularly busy morning ahead, prepping these the day before can be a great time-saver.”
Lyn says: “We are the self-confessed labelling queens so this one seems obvious but it’s at this time of year especially that they really are a handy item to have in your home. We use them to label uniforms, bags, lunch boxes, football boots, the school jumpers. Everything gets labelled! Children misplacing items is out of your control, but labelling anything that leaves the house means you have a better chance of it making its way back!
4. Home time
“The biggest overall tip we can give you is to create new household habits Especially when coming home from school,” Kim says. “Yes you will get the moans and groans from the kids but very quickly it will turn into second nature like any healthy habit. Leaving you less stressed and with more time to focus on what matters.
“Coats, Shoes and Bags are stored in one zone. When coming in from school, coats and bags are stored on a designated hook. Shoes are in designated drawer or basket. No more being half an hour late because one shoe is missing,” Lyn says.
“After school, lunch boxes and drinks bottles are cleaned out and returned to their storage spot in the kitchen. In the morning allow the children to help pick and pack their own lunch.
“Taking a uniform off when getting home from school can save you time and money. Less wear = Less dirty, needing less washes, and less wear and tear making your uniforms go the extra mile. Routine and responsibility are great for encouraging young minds, so allowing them to help in the weekly uniform prep and maintenance is great for their confidence and your sanity.”