This post has been sponsored by Giant Tiger. As always, all opinions shared are truly our own.
It’s that time of year…. again (seriously, was it not just June?) ! While there are still a few weeks left of summer to savour, we’re officially in full back to school prep mode. We start getting organized well in advance of school starting because there’s a lot to get in order and I like to pace myself. That’s actually my first tip, take your time to ensure you’re able to get everything done without having it feel frantic! Keeping a bit of time on your side will even afford you the opportunity to consider changes you can implement to keep things running even better this school year.
The main areas I focus on for back to school are clothing, home and food. In my experience having these under control before school even starts is key to staying organized all year long. Below are some helpful tips that will prove useful from September all the way through June.
Avoid overstuffed closets and dressers, early morning struggles of having “nothing to wear” and spending more money than necessary to keep your kids looking on trend.
Declutter! If you know me, this tip is no surprise. Doing a clean out of your children’s wardrobe (and maybe even your own while you’re at it) will provide you with a true sense of what needs to be purchased.
Buy Smart. Purchasing quality children’s clothing does not need to break the bank. After making a list of what my kids needed for back to school, I bought everything at Giant Tiger. From Everlast underwear, to fashionable outfits and the cutest rubber boots; everything is as trendy as it is affordable.
Label. I recently shared a dedicated blog post on why we label ever-y-thing belonging to our kids. Things get lost, mixed up and left at school, a lot. By having everything clearly labeled we’ve had almost all missing items returned. Ultimately this saves a lot of money by not having to replace lost belongings. This task is one that I recommend doing before school starts to ensure everything gets properly labeled.
Laundry Routine. I could write a whole post on this and maybe someday I will, but for now the main things to establish as routine are: dedicated laundry hampers for each child, a washing/putting away schedule (have your kids help with this!) and setting out their clothing either the night before or for the entire school week on Sunday evening.
Fact: Our house takes a major beating during the summer. Our cleaning schedule falls by the wayside in favour of more appealing things like the beach, backyard hangouts and spontaneous road trips. While I wouldn’t have it any other way, by the end of August I need to play major catch-up with housework. This is a big area of focus because a tidy home just makes things function better during the very busy school year.
Declutter! No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, you’re reading this again. It’s likely not feasible to do a full clear out of all areas of your home, but prioritize the main ones that are high traffic spots during the school year. Bedrooms, the kitchen, play space (books, toys) are all prime examples of this. Reserve a morning, afternoon or full-day to this task and you’ll be so glad you did.
“Family command centre”. By creating a dedicated spot for school notes, forms, calendars and schedules you will keep everyone informed and organized all school year long. This doesn’t have to be fancy (though there are gorgeous ones to find inspiration from on Pinterest), all that is needed is an area or simple system that your family can get into the habit of using.
Refresh. Back to school is a great time of year to take inventory of bed/bath linens and pillows. I find after a summer of campouts and sleepovers, pillows are especially in need of replacing and by tying this into my back to school prep, I also know that I’m replenishing these items on a regular basis. I purchased new Simmons Deep Sleep pillows for each of the kids from Giant Tiger, so no excuse for them being too tired to get out of bed in the morning (ha!).
Bedroom spruce up. In addition to decluttering, I also like to spend some time reorganizing and generally cleaning up each of our children’s bedrooms. This, as much as anything, feels like a fresh start and sets the stage for a great school year. Even a couple of new items can really change the look of a space and make it feel new. I’ve been eyeing some of the gorgeous home decor items at G.T and have some ideas in mind for a couple of bedroom mini makeover projects, so stay tuned!
Have you seen that meme of the September, perfectly organized and magazine worthy, lunchbox versus the one in June containing only a potato? This was nearly me this past year. Man oh man, by the end of the school year I don’t even want to look at a lunch box much less pack it, but #parentlife, the show must go on. This year I am committed to keeping things easy and still fresh for both me and the kids.
Schedule. This is new to us this year. In fact this idea lightbulb only went off a couple of weeks ago. Ever since I have been questioning why I hadn’t thought of this five years ago when I started packing lunches (sigh). I am going to determine a one week lunch schedule that I will be sticking to year long. This might initially seem a bit boring, but one type of lunch per week, really isn’t. This will help with our grocery budget/shopping and certainly following a schedule will take the guess work out of what to make.
Ensure your kids can open everything. Before sending your children off to school with new containers and packages, have a couple of trial runs to ensure they know how to use and open everything comfortably. This will save them struggling with their containers, having to get help and will provide them with more time to eat.
Be a Smart Shopper. Buying everything needed for lunches and snacks can add up quick. You can save huge by shopping smart. Giant Tiger is a perfect example of this. I can purchase all of the major snacks that my kids love for recess at almost half the cost of buying them from other major grocery chains. Giant Tiger also has amazing, fresh produce, dairy and now even a deli section. By shopping at G.T you can spend less and save the difference (that’s not their store slogan, but it could be!). Everything shown in my picture is from Giant Tiger.
Nightly Prep. To maintain freshness, there are some things that are best packed in the morning. However for the most part, making lunches the night before is a huge time saver. As your kids get older, have them help you so eventually they can take over this task completely.
We’re always looking for ways to simplify the school year and would love to hear your tips and suggestions for keeping things running smoothly! Please share any recommendations as a comment.
Here’s to the Best School Year Yet!
Big thank you to Giant Tiger for their support of our blog by working with us on this post. G.T is proudly Canadian and a great shopping option!