Eben just started 8th grade! Can you believe it? Wow – how time flies. We have his creative space ready to go and we have updated his homework station with all of the supplies that he needs. He is still reusing this backpack (4 years and still in perfect condition (it’s the Lands End Eco-Friendly back pack) and I used my best eco-friendly back to school shopping tips to get all of his done. Yay!
As a parent, I feel that one of the most important tips for back to school is being organized. I have shared a lot of my tips in the past, however, there are still so many other tips that I haven’t mentioned. Most of these tips are very simple and will save you time, energy, money – and in the long run will save the environment too. Read on to learn my 6 favorite back to school organizing secrets – get organized now so the first day of school will run smoothly!
#1: Get Yourself Ready First!
Tip number one is the most important tip that I can give you – get yourself ready first! If you try to get your children and yourself ready at the same time each morning – you are going to be overwhelmed. Eben gets up at 7:30 a.m. every morning for school, this means I get up at 5:00 a.m. It may seem early, however, I am able to exercise, tidy up the house, shower and get myself ready – all before he even wakes up. I never feel stressed when something pops up – because I am ready, I can jump in to help fix any of the morning mishaps. (and believe me, over the years, there have been plenty!)
#2: Build Chores In!
All children should have chores. Chores are great on so many levels, they teach children responsibility, pride of ownership, it builds character, and what Mom couldn’t use a little extra help around the house. I have built chores into Eben’s before and after school routine. Don’t worry – he isn’t doing hours of chores everyday, but he does get up early enough in the morning to make his bed, feed and take his dogs on a mini-walk, and pack up his computer and school supplies for the day. Then, after school he is responsible for setting and clearing the table, loading and unloading the dishwasher, taking out the recyclables, taking the dogs on another walk, and helping with the general evening tidying up!
#3: Snack Station!
Giving your child easy access to the best, healthy snacks for school is easy when you incorporate a snack station in your pantry and refrigerator. Each morning, Eben chooses an item from the pantry snack station and the refrigerator snack station (you can see our lunchbox packing station here). I never have to worry that we don’t have anything yummy and healthy for snack time because these areas are always stocked and ready to go. He never forgets to pack his snack because these are healthy foods that he enjoys.
#4: Breakfast is Ready!
Eben is not a cereal type of kid – he doesn’t like cereal, any cereal. Period. However, we don’t always have time or feel like whipping up a hot breakfast in the morning. Our solution, we make them ahead of time and either refrigerator or freeze them. This way Eben always gets his choice of his favorite breakfast items (these items are always healthier than a boxed cereal anyhow) and it makes for a quick and yummy breakfast time, with foods he will actually eat. And of course I also keep the refrigerator stocked with his favorite fruits and organic yogurt to go with breakfast too.
#5: Lunch is Ready!
If you have a lot of lunches to pack in the morning and find yourself spending too much time on it, consider packing your lunches the night before. The mister will purposely make a little extra dinner simply for Eben to take to school the next day. Eben loves this because he would much rather have shish-ka-bobs, or a homemade soup for lunch over a sandwich any day! It is also a great way to give your child’s lunchbox menu a lot of diversity, the lunch is ready to go and your child is more likely to eat their lunch everyday.
#6: Bag the Equipment!
A couple of years ago, Eben had swimming as his P.E. activity – instead of running around every Friday morning looking for his swimsuit, swim shirt, goggles, sunscreen, and towel – I packed everything together in a bag and it stays there. When he brings home the wet clothes on Friday afternoon, I would toss the entire bag in the laundry room and wash and repack the swimming bag for next Friday. Then, it would go on a designated hook in our mudroom and would be ready to go the following week. This same tip can be used for any sport or activity that your child has particular clothing for – just pack it and forget it.
What eco-friendly and time-saving secrets do you have for back to school?
Please leave your comment below – they support us all in living a greener lifestyle.