August 13th, 2012

Organizing tips for back-to-school

Home organization is the key to keeping things under control throughout a busy school year. From back-to-school shopping to organizing student schedules, Professional Organizer, Jennifer Zagorsky, shares her tips and tricks for making the transition from summer fun to back-to-school routines.

Tip #1: Create a centralized, accessible family activities calendar    
The first step to creating a successful routine is having a clear picture of everyone’s new schedules; classes, sporting events and additional extra-curricular activities. With so much going on, you’ll want to create a home base where everyone can see what’s happening at a glance.  Using a simple paper wall calendar works well but there are now more high tech options that are particularly useful in households with older children. The Joy Factory Klick Wall Mount ($54.99 at London Drugs) allows you to mount an iPad in a centralized location in the house so family members have easy access to enter their activities.  This will also allow you to instantly sync family member’s mobile devices, helping to keep everyone organized, on schedule and in the loop.

Tip #2:  Preserve memories, not junk
As every parent knows, kids come home with a ton a papers and projects throughout the school year.  It can be a bit tough to decide which are treasured works of art and which are destined for the recycling bin.  As an alternative to storing hard copies, consider taking pictures of each project and creating a London Drugs Moments Photo Book for each child for each grade. These customizable albums make great coffee table books to showcase work your child is proud of and their accomplishments over the school year. If you are set on keeping hard copies, designate a Memory Box at the start of the year for each child (the Rubbermaid See-Through Storage Box -$17.49- is the perfect size). Challenge yourself to keep only one small bin of keep-sakes. After all, you probably won’t miss some of the messier glitter projects when you choose to look at them years later!

Tip #3:  Take inventory, make a list and comparison shop!
Like any large shopping trips, back-to-school shopping can be more efficient when you know exactly what and how much you need.  Taking an inventory of last year’s supplies and making a list for the new year will help keep you organized and on budget.

Another must-do to get the best deals: comparison shop! Shop at stores that have a price matching guarantee. That way you’ll get the lowest price without having to make multiple trips to different stores. London Drugs staff now carry iPads to help customers access real-time price comparisons of competitors and they’ll match any lower advertised price. It is a sure bet for one-stop shopping.

Tip #4:  Organizing school supplies = loss prevention
Purchasing some school items in bulk can be a time and money saving venture.  However, ideally, it’s best to hold on to the excess and have the kids take more as they run out (or lose them).  Pick one drawer in the house that they know is for them. Organize an inventory of specific supplies that they’ll likely need throughout the year; pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, pencil sharpeners, batteries, etc. The InterDesign Linus Junk Drawer Organizer ($14.99 at London Drugs) is ideal for organizing and storing all of these items.

It’s important to get children into the habit of taking care of their supplies – especially the expensive high-tech supplies like MP3 players and laptops. There is nothing more frustrating than having to repurchase lost items! You can help reduce their chance of losing items by providing them with ways to compartmentalize their belongings. The Tree Frog Convertible Backpack (exclusive to London Drugs – $24.99) has oodles of easily accessible exterior pockets to help keep them organized. Remind them to keep the same items in the same place – always.

Professional Organizer, Jennifer Zagorsky, is teaching a Get Organized workshop at the Heritage Drive London Drugs location (8330 MacLeod Trail SE) on August 29th from 4pm-5pm. For more information about how to get and stay organized register to attend the free workshop by emailing jennifer@jorganizing.com.

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