Get Organized for Summer
24 May 2019
May-cember is almost over, and thank God for that, amiright? As all of us parents limp to the finish line (a.k.a. “summer”), here are tips for the end of the school year that will help you earn an A+ in getting organized for summer.
Get out that trash can, recycle bin, and donation bag! Take everything out of the backpacks and sort the items into categories. Trash or recycle the papers that you don’t want to save and put any keepers into your “to-do” file. Decide if you want to repurpose or keep lunchboxes and backpacks for next year. Or donate them if they’re in good shape. Do the same for school supplies—maybe they can have new life this summer as craft supplies. Be sure to find permanent homes for anything you decide to keep.
Store Special Artwork & Projects
Now is a great time to decide what kids’ artwork you want to keep. Please don’t keep everything, or even a lot; a few special pieces should suffice. If your kids are old enough, go through together any pieces that are still in your home, and use guiding questions to help them decide which ones they care about most: “Did you work hard on this? Why is this special? What are your five favorites?” Then, store them. Or, even better, display them! A friend of mine swears by Plum Print, a company that will turn your children’s artwork into a coffee table book. You can check out my recent blog post for more about how to organize and store kids’ artwork.
Prepare Some Activities for Downtime
I’m a pretty laissez-faire kind of parent. (One of the reasons we had three kids instead of one or two was so that they could be each other’s playmates, instead of mine.) While I am a big advocate of unstructured playtime and letting kids learn how to deal with boredom—especially during the summertime!—I do still like to have a response to the inevitable requests for screen time. At our house, I just make sure I’m stocked up on the things they like to do (Play-Doh, crayons, cookie-baking supplies) and that their favorites are easy to find and grab (LEGOs, bikes, balls). Importantly, stock up on sunscreen and be vigilant about applying it before going into the sun. (Sorry for the unsolicited reminder, but I’m a safety girl.)
Create and Share Your Summer Calendar
If you’re like a lot of parents with school-aged kids, your summer calendar may be a jigsaw puzzle of summer vacations, kids’ camps, and activities. Ensure your kids, spouse, and caregivers are looped into the not-so-permanent schedule by keeping a shared electronic or paper calendar that includes the times and locations of where everyone needs to be. I color-code mine—each person is a different color—but you certainly don’t have to be as neurotic as I am.
Start Your Vacation Packing List
Even if you’re not leaving soon, keep a packing list on your phone or in your planner to help you pack more quickly and easily when the time comes to start putting things into suitcases. Just add things as you think of them, and start purchasing or replacing things you will need. Plus, it will help you get into the spirit of summer. I find that when I start planning early for a trip, I end up feeling more excited about it!
Hopefully, you can check off some things on your to-do list over Memorial Day Weekend. Set yourself up for success now by getting organized for summer, then cruise all the way into August!