No matter how hard I try to keep the house in order once back-to-school season begins, chaos quickly spills out of my kids' backpacks and onto my kitchen table, foyer floor and everywhere else. So this year, I created a school-supply organizer using an over-the-door shoe rack to help keep the chaos contained.
I cut colorful card stock to size, put it in each pocket and then used a label maker to label the pockets. You can really go all out with stickers, jewels and scrapbook embellishments, but my kids are sharing this one, so I didn't go too crazy with decorations.
The beauty of this organizer is that all the supplies that used to take up space on my kids' desks are now housed neatly behind the door. They have empty space for their homework, water bottles, snacks and papers. I also added some hooks on the wall for their coat, backpack and sports equipment. My kids are old enough to have chores, so part of their everyday routine is to take their stuff to their rooms after school and then get organized for the next day before bed. If your kids are younger, they'll obviously need help with this. But think of the end-reward... everything has a place, and it's not your kitchen.
Here are a few more fun back-to-school ideas.
- Instead of winging dinner every night, plan your menu the weekend before. Do the grocery shopping and as much prep as possible over the weekend, such as marinating meats or assembling casseroles. I love my slow-cooker and will prep meals for it on nights that I know I'll be tight one time. I make dinnertime a priority in my house, and everyone in the house gets to pick a meal for the week. Then, I write it down so everyone knows what we'll be eating. (I made the menu below from a picture frame and scrapbook paper.)
- Show off your kids' schoolwork. If the kitchen is your gathering space, make the fridge the showcase for a great test or picture. Or, if you all gather in the living room for dinner, why not create a collage of empty picture frames on the wall and fill the frames with artwork and school projects? Commend your kids on a job well done so they feel special and know you care about their achievements. And, be sure to update the artwork often.
- Finally, my kids always love it when I write them a little note and slip it in their backpack or lunchbox. It doesn't have to say much...just "good luck on your math test," "score a goal for me," "enjoy the cookies," "love you, mom." If they're nervous about the new school year or they're having a tough day, a note from you can mean a lot.
QVC's Jill Bauer hosts one of the network's popular shows, You're Home with Jill, and provides fans with simple solutions for their busy lives through innovative products, a library of stress-free DIY projects and crowd-pleasing recipes. Check local listings to see when You're Home with Jill airs. Fans can connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram @jillbauerqvc.