Back To School Series Part 1

 

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Happy New Year everyone. I can’t believe we are already in the second week of January. Before we know it holidays will be over and the school year will be starting. To be honest it is something have been both excited about and also quite nervous. I will be sending Master 5 off to kindergarten this year and while he did attend pre school 2 days a week for the last couple of years, “big school” is a whole different ball game.

I have been planning this back to school series for a few months now to get our little guy and ourselves ready for our first school year experience. Over the next three weeks I am so excited to be teaming up with Nikki from An Organised Home. Together we will be covering 3 areas of back to school organisation and sharing with you how we keep on top of out family schedules, homework, backpack storage, school clutter and storing school papers.

This week will be all about how we organise our family’s schedule and routines.

I have had a few systems in place for a while now that work really well for our family but with the school year approaching fast, I decided to take a look at how I could better organise my family while keeping these tools all in one place. I decided to gather everything in one spot – the kitchen – and create a family command centre. If you have never heard the term command centre before, it refers to one central location where you use various tools to keep your family organised.

If you scour pinterest as I have, you will see a million and one different ways to create a command centre.

Here are just a few that inspired me to set up our own.

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While they all look stunning, you can’t simply choose one and copy it. You have to find what works best for you and apply it.

For example, tools I already use to keep our household organised include:

  • Weekly calendar on our fridge
  • Daily and weekly cleaning schedule
  • Daily filing system
  • Children’s morning and night time routines
  • Chore / reward charts

What I decided to add to our command centre includes

  • Two monthly calendars
  • School In and Out file

The next thing I did was to chose a wall to create our command centre on. I will go into more detail about how I put it all together in a later post.

So here it is in all it’s organised glory! I simply love it.

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Isn’t it pretty?!  Here is a rundown of what I have included in our command centre and how I use it to keep my family organised.

Calendars

First I have two calendars that can be customised, so I can view two months at a glance, the current month and the one following. When any appointments or school events pop up I can put them right on the calendar and know exactly what we have going on now and coming up the following month.

I loved all of the paint swatch calendars I have seen on pinterest and decided to whip a couple up for our command center you can see the tutorial I followed here. They are bright and colourful and because I already had the frames they didn’t cost me a thing to make!

 

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Cleaning Schedule

I love having my cleaning schedule right where I can see it so I can keep on top of all the not so fun things that need to be done around the home. I have my daily and weekly cleaning schedule on a clipboard. I have filled them out and then laminated it so I can tick them off each week with a whiteboard marker and then wipe it clean each Sunday night before the next week begins . I have written about my daily and weekly routines here so you can check it our in a little more detail. Following these check lists helps to keep my house under control on a daily basis. I’m loving these free printable cleaning check lists from Nikki at An Organised Home. You can customise them to suit your needs. Find them here.

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Children’s Routines

I made some simple charts for my kids a few years ago using free images that I searched for on google, it is very simple to do. I have recently however updated my charts to suit a school day, using these charts from iheart organizing. Morning and evening routine charts are a great visual aid for little ones to see what is expected of them each day. These are basic tasks that they need to complete like getting dressed, brushing teeth and packing their schoolbag as well and their night time routine of showering, getting pajamas on, picking up toys, reading stories and bedtime. It has really helped my kids gain more independence as well as keeping our mornings and evenings on track.

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Kids Clip Boards

In the past we have kept reward charts stuck up on the fridge but with two kids and their own behavior and sleeping in bed charts, the fridge gets cluttered fast. Not just that but Miss 2 is forever pulling the magnets off the fridge and I am constantly picking up the charts off the floor. I’m hoping that this will be a solution to this problem.

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School Pocket

I really wanted a designated area to store school notes, permission slips, home readers etc that will need to go back and forth to school. This pocket keeps them separate from our other paperwork so they will not get lost or misplaced.

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Bench Top File

This desk file sits on my kitchen bench just next to our command center and let me tell you this little system is worth its weight in gold. I used to have paper piles everywhere!! I put this together about a year ago to take control over our everyday paper clutter and it works so well for us. When paper or mail enters our house it comes here. It is opened and if it’s not rubbish, its placed in the appropriate folder.

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Once a week I will sit down with this file and:

  • Shred sensitive documents
  • File any paperwork to keep
  • Put our keepsakes in the appropriate file boxes (I will cover these in another post)
  • Pay any bills that are due
  • Go through my “to action” file and add them to my to do list.
Week At A Glance Whiteboard

I have had this for over a year now and I absolutely love it. It is stuck to my fridge where I see it a hundred times a day.

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On Sundays I go to my calendar and write down all appointments, meetings and events that are due to take place that week on this whiteboard. On the right hand side I jot down my meal plan for this weeks dinners. I purchased this whiteboard organiser from Kmart about year ago for about $10. It’s nothing fancy – just simple and easy. I think that is why it works so well.

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So there you have it, that is how I keep my family organised and make sure our house runs like clockwork…….well most of the time anyway. I hope this has inspired you to create your own command centre or to tweak systems you already have in place that are not working as efficiently as they could be.

Check back in on Wednesday because I have Nikki from An Organised Home guest posting about how she organises her own family’s schedule and routines and stays on top of it all during the school year.