Let’s be honest, there are a million task lists and blogs posts and articles out there containing every tip for what to do, buy and organize for back-to-school perfection. (We’ve written a number of them ourselves!) And yet, sometimes it all just feels HARD.
You’ve stared at endless supply lists, read a trillion school documents and scoured the internet for the best deals on watercolor crayons. And the tasks just keep piling up! Forget perfection – you’re just trying to get through.
So today, our focus is simple and straightforward. Not excellence, not Pinterest-style organization, just a good, old-fashioned “how to” for making it through the first week of school.
Each year, we’re reminded that the first week of school is a slow build, especially when it comes to supplies. The world won’t end because one kiddo still needs a set of fresh markers or those specialty labels haven’t arrived yet.
Plus, we have too many anecdotes of times we did serious school supply shopping in advance, only to get a refreshed list of supplies our kiddos needed the first week of school… and then back to the shopping grind it was.
So, without further ado, here are three suggestions for tasks you can accomplish this weekend that will actually make the first week of school easier:
We all know food can make or break the day for our kids – and truthfully, for ourselves. Start in familiar territory, and fill your pantry and fridge! Get some favorite easy-to grab fruits, cut veggies, and lots of grab-n-go snack-pack style items (think yogurts, protein bars, trail mix, pretzels and seaweed snacks).
And if the sheer idea of another grocery run feels overwhelming, consider an Instacart delivery, or a curbside pick-up at Target or Whole Foods.
And please know that there is no requirement to perfectly organize the snacks today. While we love a perfectly labeled pantry and decked out snack zone in the fridge, just having the food on-hand is half the battle. If your snacks stay out in the garage, still in boxes and simply ripped out of the packaging each day, so be it.
When you’re ready for some snack food organization, once you’re into the swing of school again, we’re here for you with this blog!
REMOVE OLD CLOTHES
Okay, you may not have done comprehensive back-to-school clothes shopping yet – also, Labor Day sales are so close! – and we’re not here to tell you to get that done. It’ll happen. Kids are growing constantly, and clothing procurement is an ongoing process.
But, we all know the perils of a kid walking out of their room in too-small pants or last season’s ill-fitting rain boots. So take 30-minutes this weekend and do a quick fit check on your kiddos’ closets. Rope your kids in as well, if they’re able to help.
Create a pile of clothing that is outgrown, ill-fitting, or in need of repair. It never fails to amaze us, even when we do seasonal clothing edits, how quickly everything is outgrown!
If you don’t have time to be thorough, toss everything that’s in question into a trash bag or box and add a big “To Review” note. Then move it out of their bedrooms to somewhere less accessible. (Our kids are notorious for rifling through our to-do clothing piles and adding things back to their closets!)
This way, although you may still need to do some clothing shopping in coming weeks, at the very least your kids will only be grabbing things that actually fit for the first days of school.
And don’t feel the need to review your pile right now! That’s a task for future you, who has the time to sit and sort things into “Donate,” “Repair” and “Recycle” piles. Your current self is just crossing part one of this task off the list and moving on.
PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE THE FIRST DAY
This one may be our least favorite, but it’s likely the most important.
On day two or three – we’ll be ready to wing it all on the morning of. Let them fill their lunch boxes with all those grab-n-go snacks or roll out of bed and eat breakfast in the car!
But day one? That day is the day we prepare for.
There’s often a ton of first-day jitters in our houses, coming from both our kiddos and parents alike. Try as we may, the early bedtimes we’ve chosen get pushed (and pushed). A must-have item goes missing. And inevitably, something is bound to go wrong. So anything we can do to make that first day as smooth as possible is going to be huge for all of us.
The night before, consider tackling the following tasks:
- Pack all the lunch boxes. (Nothing but the ice pack should be left out!)
- Help kids pick out their first day outfit and lay everything out. (This includes socks, underwear, hair clips, etc. – no accessories should be missing!)
- Put backpacks and shoes (and jackets, if needed – in LA we’ve got months before that happens) next to the door.
- Plan for breakfast and prep anything that can be done in advance. (This frees up extra moments for the unexpected!)
But ultimately, remember that LIFE IS PERFECTLY IMPERFECT. And even if the first week of school isn’t as smooth as you hoped it would be, everyone will probably be just fine.
Get some rest while you can! Best of luck to all the kiddos going back to school — and to all of you grown ups, too!
Cover image by Amy Bartlam for Practically Perfect
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