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Getting ready and organized for the new school year

The inevitable is quickly approaching. School supplies, fall décor, and even Halloween items now in stores declare the arrival of fall to one and all. While the summer heat continues, the carefree days of summer quickly come to an end, and that means shifting into high gear once again. Back-to-school brings disappointment as well as relief that the fall routine will get the kids back on track. Some quick and easy organization strategies will help tame the back-to-school stress and create a smooth transition for the entire family, so everyone can savor a few more precious moments of rest and relaxation.

A Frugal Fall Budget: Take 15 minutes to review the account balances, assess summer spending, and set up a realistic back-to-school budget. Use coupons, find sales, or even shop at thrift stores for frugal back to school finds. Many thrift stores carry brand new overstock items from stores like Target.

Quick Closet Clean-up to Make Room for Back-to-School Clothing: Set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes and have the kids clean out their closets and dresser drawers to make room for back-to-school clothing. Put on lively music and use this activity as an incentive. When there is room in the closet and drawers for new clothes, the family can go shopping. Prior to shopping, assess clothing items that are still in good shape versus those that are actually needed.

Smart School Supplies: Take an inventory of school supplies before buying more and making unnecessary purchases. Label bins or clear drawers with new school supplies for easy access during stressful homework sessions.

A Tidy Place to Study: Organize the desk or study area by tossing out last year’s school paperwork and setting up a tray or folder where the kids can place papers from school that need your attention and signature. Hang a bulletin board near the desk or study area to post important school flyers or announcements for easy visual access.

Easy Breakfast and Lunch Options: Stock up on easy breakfast options to make mornings flow more smoothly by either cooking and freezing meals ahead of time or buying healthy frozen breakfasts. Likewise, cut out pictures of lunch and snack ideas from magazines to add some variety to brown bag lunches this year. Tack clip outs on a kitchen bulletin board or post them on the fridge for quick reference.

Better Planning for this School Year: Take 15 minutes to schedule all important school dates and extracurricular activities in a smart phone calendar or organizer in order to avoid last minute surprises in the schedule that cause undue chaos.

An Organized Home Base: In the next few weeks or perhaps over Labor Day weekend, set aside a morning or afternoon to fix broken items around the house, replace light bulbs, do a quick clean-up, and organize misplaced items so the home front is tidy as the school and sport activities take over.

While kids and parents alike mourn the rest and relaxation of simple summer days and transition into a busier season filled with homework and school activities, fall brings good things to look forward to like pumpkin lattes, football, apple pies, jack-o-lanterns, and cooler days. Staying organized and focusing on the positive can help single parents and their kids weather the change this season brings to make way for the pleasures of fall.