Cool back to school get organized tools

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It was kind of nice to let my super organized self slide with the summer days.  However, the lazy days of summer have ended and now it is time to get as organized as possible for both myself and my busy family.  Read on for some tried and true get organized tips.

Right Night Before Rituals
Laying out backpacks the night before can really keep the morning on schedule. This year, I also incorporated some fashion steps into our bedtime routine.  For example, I select my clothing for the next day and I used to do the same with my daughter.  However, at almost nine years old, she wants to pick out her own attire, but I don't always agree with what she comes up with.  So, at the start of the school year, we worked together to assemble several outfits.  Then we designated one drawer as her go to clothing station and placed those outfits that we agree on in that particular drawer.  I remind her to check that drawer the night before.

Another time saving tip is to assemble matching accessories the night before.  I have left late because I could only find one earring or I spent five minutes in front of the mirror trying on belts.  You will be amazed at what a time saver selecting your jewelry the night before can be!  And don't forget shoes and socks as we have left the house late due to lost tennis shoes on P.E. day.

Great Get Organized Goods
Speaking of laying out accessories the night before, I found some bright colored containers to house those items for easy access in the morning.  Neon colored boxes fit in a fun kid's room and Dollar Tree sells different sizes for just a buck each.  To keep shoes handy, Ikea sells a hanging organizer that stores ten pairs of shoes.  Made by Skubb, this handy device sells for only $4.99.  No more lost shoes in the morning and that has kept us on time!

When the weather cools suddenly, so does our change of clothes and pulling winter clothes out of storage can take time.  One helpful storage devices is the Ziploc Flexible Tote which is a 22 gallon sized baggie that is secured by zippers and can be stacked and stored easily.  I found mine at Fry's Marketplace for $6.99.   When my kids have to find winter clothes in a pinch, this item is easy for them to access, open and put back.   To keep clothing smelling fresh and moth-free, add a cotton ball saturated with a few drops of the essential oil lavender.

Get Organized After School Tools
As soon as my 7th grader and 3rd grader get home from school, I am faced with mountains of paper.  Homework, parent notices and permission slips spread across our counter tops like spilled milk.  Usually, one of these important papers would vanish by morning, so we needed a paper plan.  I went in search of a cool school organizer and Ikea had just what I was looking for.  The Allamala wall basket sells for $19.99 and has three hanging pouches for papers galore.  It hangs on the wall, which keeps every important piece of paper in its proper place and with the rod iron frame, it looks nice, too.  Each pouch is designated for my kids and for me and we love it.

Homework time goes a lot smoother when I have it together first.  If I have to stop the flow of busy minds to look for a pencil, the kids get easily distracted and it is hard to get them back on the study track.  Snacks and the remote control are like magnets that pull them away from their studies.  So I have a snack basket ready along with a homework station stocked with pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, calculators, rulers and fresh paper.  We are banking on my son's scholarship possibilities, so helping him along with a good organized work space may be helping our entire family's financial future!    I tried to get creative with a fun and unique study caddy.  Here is what I came up with to get my kids' attention, so hopefully they will embrace study time.

Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencils - These come in bright colors and require two shakes to advance the lead, not the old fashioned way of clicking the ends.  You never know what is going to float a tween's boat and this actually did get them writing away come homework time. 

Think Pink Trio -- Study time also means give back time with the pink pack for girls.  Each purchase gives back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the trio includes one pink mechanical pencil, one ball point pen and one retractable high lighter for $3.99.  My daughter loves this set and feels good about helping others as she helps herself to a helping of homework. 

Go Green with Handy-lines Retractable Highlighter -- This earth-friendly highlighter is made from 54% post-consumer recycled plastic.  I harp on my kids to recycle, so it is nice to show them a beneficial product that was made from our recyclables.  This product also goes green because the highlighter can be refilled instead of thrown away.  And one tip from this manic but managed Mom, highlighters were my secret to memorizing, so have your kids try this trick.

To keep the family on schedule, I use a dry erase board and it works great.  However, it left nail holes in my walls, so I was intrigued to find dry erase circles that literally stick to your walls with no residue or holes left behind.  Called WallPops Peel & Stick Dry Erase Decals, a package of three sell for $9.99 at Office Max.  I stuck one on our laundry room wall that lists our family's weekly calendar.  The other two go in the kids' rooms and are strategically placed on the back of their doors with reminders and notes.  The Wallpops are fun, functional and reasonably priced.

So far these get organized ideas are getting our family off to a good school year start.  If you have some organizational ideas on how you keep your family schedule in sync, share in the comments section following  this article.  I am always impressed by the strategies that busy families come up with to stay focused, but also have time for family fun.  On most days, being organized has helped our hectic household find a good balance.  Wishing all of you a smooth school year with less stress and a lot of success.