Kids, Meal Planning, Organising, Productivity, School, Setting Goals, Storage, Time Management

Back to School Series Part 2 – Organising School Clutter – An Organised Home

Well, as my holiday is drawing to a close, my thoughts are slowly moving back to reality.  And while I am glad that I have put quite a few things in place for the coming year, there is still lots to be done as far as dealing wiht school clutter and back to school organisation goes.
Having a high school student definitely has its benefits. He is old enough to unpack his school bag, he knows where his school notes go, and if I can get him to put down his phone long enough, he gets through what little homework he has in a reasonable amount of time.
Back to School 3 Part Series - AOH - School Clutter - Part 2

However, teenagers tend to have to be told 5 times before they do anything!!!
You know how it goes. You have probably seen that meme on Facebook…
The one that goes a little something like this…
Mum: “Could you please pick up your stuff?”
Child: No response.
Mum: “Could you please pick up your stuff?”
Child : No response.
Mum: “Could you please pick up your stuff?”
Child: No response.
Mum: Yelling “Would you turn off the damn TV, get up off your butt and put your stuff away!!!”
Child: “Geez, why are you so angry?”

Well, welcome to being a parent of a teenager.

Welcome to being a parent of a teenager

Image Credit

While the teenage breed is pretty self sufficient, they conveniently lack a certain ability to “remember” to do those things required of them. At least that is what happens in my home.
In this second instalment of school organisation I will delve a little further into how we keep the school clutter organised in a way that makes it convenient to access as well as out of the school bag and put away.
We live in a small two-story town house. The two bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs, and the lounge, kitchen and dining room is downstairs. We don’t have a laundry, we have a cupboard in the dining room. Yes, you read that right. A cupboard in the dining room.
So as far as storage space goes, we are extremely limited.
It would be pointless for Zac to store his school items in his room, as it would mean dragging things up and down the stairs, which would undoubtedly lead to lost and misplaced items. Add to that, the fact that I want him doing his homework at the dining room table, so that I can monitor how much homework is actually being done, and you can understand why the laundry became our designated “School” area. And of course, I can’t stand things to be left out, so they do need to go away for me to keep my sanity. Or what is left of it.
Basically there are four areas that need to be addressed.
  1. Uniforms
  2. Lunch boxes
  3. School papers
  4. Shoes and School Bag

School Uniforms

With no laundry, and only one dirty clothes basket in the entire house, I need to wash quite regularly. To take a little step sideways, my laundry routine is wash when there is enough to do that load. That is with the exception of sheets, bath mats and towels. My towels and bath mats are done every Monday, and sheets get done on Fridays. Other than those items, I just keep an eye on the basket. I can see when there is enough to put on a black load or a coloured load. And to make things easier on myself, I hang all shirts on hangers. And any pants with a pleat down the front by the pant cuffs already folded along the pleats.  It does make ironing a breeze.
Now, getting back to uniforms, as Zac goes to a private school, their uniform policy is quite strict.  Summer uniform consists of long navy pants and a white shirt that has the school logo on it, and a blazer if it is a bit cooler. Winter uniform is the long navy pants, long sleeved white shirt, school tie, woollen jumper and blazer. The jumper cannot be worn without the blazer, and the children are not to arrive or leave the school in anything other than that uniform. Including their sports uniform, even if sport is the first or last class of the day.
So uniforms are obviously in his wardrobe, and as I am pretty organised with the washing schedule, 99% of the time his uniforms are there ready to go. Zac has enough shirts and pants that, even if I did no washing during the week, as long as it was all completed on the weekend, he would be fine. No further organisation is necessary.

Sports Uniform

 When it comes to his sports uniform though, I keep that in a seperate bag ready to put in his school bag on sports day. Every time his sport uniform is worn, it is washed and folded and put back in the bag in the laundry where the rest of his school stuff goes. There is no point in keeping that in his room, as he never changes into it to go to school, and if it was upstairs, it would mean it was either forgotten or Zac is looking for it at the last minute. I will go more into his school items in the laundry next week.

Lunch Boxes:

When it comes to lunch boxes, we are pretty easy. My husband has had the same lunch box for 30 years. They just don’t make them like they used to! Zac and I take which ever lunch box suits what we are taking for lunch.
My biggest problem with lunch boxes is what to put in them. Zac will not take a sandwich for lunch, as it isn’t “fresh” by lunch time. I have tried freezing them, putting ice bricks in with them, and it doesn’t make a difference. He will take a cold meat such as corned silverside, roast pork, roast lamb, chicken, even sweet and sour chicken or a beef stir fry with rice or salad.
For the past couple of years I have been using this lunchbox which keeps his lunch cold, right up until his break. However, the lid broke a while back and I had a lot of trouble finding these.
Lunchbox with freezable lid
I finally found them here, but browsing the website I came across another lunch box that I really liked.
This neat expandable lunch box, has a centre tray that can be frozen. When I looked at this, I actually liked it better than the previous one. I think with food on top and below the frozen tray, his lunch will stay cooler still. The lunchbox is called an Ez-Freeze Expandable Salad Kit, and has an expandable bowl, freezable tray and a dressing container. Check it out here.
 Ez-Freeze Expandable Salad Kit
And lastly, from Howard’s Storage World, I found this thermos. Since going on our cruise, Zac has started to try a lot of different foods. I figured this would be a great option for soups, pastas, spaghetti bolognaise or casseroles. You can find this thermos here.
School Organisation Howard's Storage World Thermos

School Papers

High school students really don’t need a lot of help when it comes to storing schoolwork and papers. However when it comes to permission slips or photo forms etc, my son needs to have as little as possible to do with those. This is why I actually keep his schoolwork and anything he needs in the laundry, easily accessible to him, but anything that I need to deal with comes straight to my little command centre file.
I spoke in a bit more detail about this last week, so I won’t elaborate to much more, but depending on the type of note, I take one of three actions;
  1. I complete the form immediately and put it straight back into his school bag to be returned the next day. These are forms such as updated medical information or a note required for his panadol.
  2. I diarise the date of any upcoming events. For example, at the beginning of each new year, there is always a breakfast meeting to go over what to expect for the year. I also do this for excursions, however I usually complete the permission slip immediately and then keep a copy in my school file so that I have all the details needed.
  3. If it is a reference type document like a canteen menu, I will just file it in the school folder. No further action is required.
I have a really great system that has worked so well for storing Zac’s schoolwork. I am going to go into a lot more detail about that next week. We have been doing this for two years now, this will be our third, and it has been an absolute lifesaver. No more lost notes, or “I can’t find my English Assessment Task”.

Shoes and Schoolbag

 This one is an easy one for us. Shoes are taken off at the front door. Firstly, this means that we know exactly where to find them the next day. And secondly, it also stops anything on the bottom of our shoes being traipsed through onto the carpet. Which in turn means less work for me.
The school bag is quite large, and while I would love to have an entry way like Hailey’s we just don’t have the space. In the dining room on either side of the buffet and hutch is a little space. This space is just big enough to hold a bag on either side. Zac keeps his at one end, and my husband keeps his at the other. This keeps the bags out of site (mostly) and out of the way. It is also right where it needs to be each evening when it is packed for the following day.
I hope that helps a little more when it comes to organising your kids for school. Be sure to check back next week, where I show you how I organise the school work itself.
Until then, make the most of these last few days with your children before they embark on the next big step in their lives.
 Back to School Header - AOH - Part 2