With kids back in school, even the most organized of parents can find themselves in need of a little help keeping track of all the people, places, and things that come along with a busy school year. Here are five tips to help keep your life a more organized:
1. Write it down.
Whether you are a paper person or a digital person, if you have an appointment, a play date, a party, or a school event, make sure you keep track of it. MomAgenda (founded by a busy mom with four kids) has a line of great day planners that come in all shapes and sizes from a desktop version to the mini-daily. Want to go online? Cozi.com is a great source for a digital family planner and calendar, as is Google Calender—and both are free.
2. Put it up.
In addition to writing down your pertinent dates, have a place to put all the flyers and invitations that have all the details. I have two magnet boards up in my kitchen. One has general information (such as recurring weekly classes) and future events; the other one has just the notices and invitations that are happening in the week ahead. Every Sunday night I make it a priority to throw out the old stuff, and transfer the information for the upcoming week. There are tons of choices for nice magnet boards, including the ones we have from Land of Nod, The Perfect Circle, they're sturdy, a good size, and even come with cute magnets.
3. Plan it.
Schedule recurring appointments as far ahead as possible so you can get your preferred dates. When you get the appointment card from the doctor's or dentist's office, write it down in a calendar and put it up. If your child plays sports, record the sign-up dates for each season to make sure you register on time. And last, don't forget to schedule your own appointments. Just because you're a parent doesn't mean you shouldn't have time for yourself—so pencil (or type) in that time, too.
4. Pack it.
When my kids first started taking dance classes and playing sports, I was always on the hunt for their various items of clothing. Not anymore. Every activity has a bag, and that bag stays packed. Now ballet slippers are always waiting in their designated bag, ready for class, and ice skates are always packed with mittens in their bag ready for rink time.
5. Label it.
There is almost nothing at my house that doesn't have a label. Lunchboxes, snack bags, backpacks, jackets—everything is labeled so everyone (hopefully!) goes off to school with the right items. And for my mom stuff—work papers, bills, coupons, and vacation plans are all in their respective—and labeled—folders. You can order labels online from many sources, including adorable personalized ones from Mabel's Labels (perfect for kid stuff), or from Post-it, which has a huge assortment of sizes and styles for all the mom stuff.
So there you have it, my five tips to stay organized: write it down, put it up, plan it, pack it, and label it.
What tips do you have to stay organized? Please share!