Back to School . . . And Back To Sanity
As teachers, parents and students are all gearing up for another school year, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share this guest post from my wonderful friend Corinne from Grid + Glam! Today Corinne is sharing some amazing tips on how to ease into the school year AND providing us with a free printable! Without further ado, I am so thrilled to introduce you to this wonderful woman! Enjoy!
I’m Corinne, the founder of Grid + Glam, a full-service professional organizing company that marries aesthetics with functionality. My goal is to help you live a more organized, inspired life because I believe an organized home creates a calm mind. Much like Lauren, I know that minimalism and luxury are not mutually exclusive; rather you can only fully enjoy life’s luxuries when you have less, do less, and focus on less. Lauren does this so well, and I am inspired by her daily. I am thrilled to share with you, her amazing readers, some tips and inspiration that have helped my clients and me have a healthier and more sane transition into fall.
Summer can be a time to indulge in warmer weather, yummy food, and more free time. But for those of us that thrive on consistency and routine (like me!), it has been - in part - a time of heightened anxiety. I learned over the years that there is both a psychological and logistical transition to summer (for both adults and kids), and the same is true for fall. Following these eight steps can help ease that transition into fall, even for those of us who are counting down the days to get back to our routine.
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Acknowledge that the change of pace can be hard for some of us, young and old. Many kids and adults look forward to summer, with dreams of playtime, belly laughs, and no set bedtime. But the disruption to our schedule can actually prove to be quite challenging for many of us. Later bedtimes can mean cranky kids and chaotic mornings. Both of which create a cranky mommy. Please hear me on this . . . it is OK if summer was challenging for you. Don’t beat yourself up. Embrace the time left and start gearing up for fall.
Set aside an hour one night to think about what your ideal fall would look like. First, think about your goals - and not only what you want to achieve, but also how you want to feel. For example, if one goal is to have a stress-free morning, what will you need to prep the night before (making kids’ lunches, laying out clothes, packing backpacks) to make that a reality? After your goals are determined, spend some time mapping out how you will structure your days to get there. And start implementing these strategies. For example, a week or two prior to the start of school, incrementally move bedtime up by 10 minutes each night.
My big goal is to spend more time feeling present with my kids after school. To do this, I am planning to work alongside them during homework time, and then totally disconnecting from my phone until they go to bed. That will mean working more efficiently during the daytime hours.
Talk to your kids (and yourself!) a few weeks before school starts to discuss upcoming routines. While it is true that a week for a child can be an eternity, it is also true that most children thrive when clear expectations are set for them. Explain to them that they will soon be transitioning to new routines, and get them involved in planning so they get excited about what it is to come.
Get a copy of your kids’ school calendar, and put vacations and other key dates in your master calendar. This step is well worth your 15 minutes! Will you need babysitting coverage during vacation times? If so, start lining it up now. Will you plan a trip? Start booking well ahead of time to take advantage of travel deals. While you’re in the scheduling mindset, schedule doctors and dentist appointments for your kids AND yourself!
Schedule your house maintenance. Whether you do it yourself or outsource, schedule your winterizing (like cleaning your gutters and shutting off your sprinkler system). I live near Boston where the snowfall can be heavy. We line up someone to plow us out during major storms. Get on someone’s schedule early so you are not left stranded. And start making a list of other home winterizing you need to do like putting on any air conditioner covers or taking out window units.
Take a clothing inventory. This is particularly important for kids, who seem to grow like weeds over the summer. Take a pen and paper (or use the “Back to School Inventory” checklist I created) to go through all of your kids’ clothes. Anything that is ripped, along with old socks and undies (which can’t be donated), should be tossed. Any clothes that have been outgrown should be donated, passed on to friends, or catalogued and stored if you plan to have more kids. As you are purging, make a list of all the items you will need to purchase. Let your kids help not only with purging, but also in picking out some special items that they will be super excited to wear to school (like their first day of school outfit!). Also, if your kids are signed up for any activities, now is a great time to make sure you have all the necessary gear.
Grab this free back to school inventory checklist!
Get your back-to-school shopping in early while there is still inventory, or else wait until school starts to take advantage of even bigger discounts. Backpacks, lunch boxes, pencils . . . oh my! The list can be overwhelming. Most stores have their back-to-school sales well underway by August. Take advantage of sales and stock up early to ensure you get everything you need. Or, if you are brave, just get the essentials and wait until after Labor Day to get the rest. Once schools are in session, most stores drop their pricing even more. The one downside to this is missing out if inventory runs out.
It might seem silly to purchase snow boots in August, but once I waited too long and couldn’t find a single pair! Life lesson learned: purchase them early! I love buying from Zappos because they have great prices and a 12-month return policy. That means if you buy a pair of snow boots in August that end up not fitting in December, you can return them for a full refund. One of our big end-of-summer activities, while we are away at the beach, is to visit the outlets. If you know you will be near one, bring your list with you. The Children’s Place and Gymboree Outlets have amazing deals on clothing (most items are under $10) and the clothing is great quality.
Schedule in self-care. It’s easy to brush aside the importance of self-care. Whether you are a caretaker for others or not, it is so important to spend time recharging your own battery. Whether it’s mid-day walks, relaxing baths, yoga, or a mani/pedi . . . you get to choose what makes you feel centered and pampered. Schedule it into your calendar at least monthly, and make those appointments non-negotiable.
Ok, take a deep breath. This might feel like a lot, but if you take some time to think about how you want to feel during this time, and put steps in place to help make that happen, it will feel more manageable. Even 15 minutes of getting yourself organized and planned for the next day can make a huge difference in helping bring sanity and simplicity to your days. And the same goes for the kiddos. If they participate with you in the process and are eased into it, it will make for a more peaceful and joyful transition for all!
I so hope this and the checklists are helpful to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!
Corinne is the organizing guru behind Grid +Glam, a full-service professional organizing company based in Boston. She also runs the Grid + Glam blog. Her goal is to help her clients create a happy, fulfilled life through organization. As a wife and mom to two little ones, she understands the challenges of staying on top of it all and loves to give her clients the gift of calm in their homes . . . and in their lives.