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We start getting ready for back to school about a week before the first day of college. Every year brings new challenges, with schedule changes and regular adjustments. The carefree vibe of summer means we require a transition period to ease back in the regimen of the college year.

I attempt to be coordinated for your first day of college not because it comes naturally — trust me it does not — but because children are much better imitators than they are now listeners. I’ve found that when I’m organized, my children follow suit and pick up on ways to stay organized simply by watching me. After years of training, I think I have some suggestions that might help your school year get off to a good start. If your children are about to start a new year, start your motors; it’s go time. If they’ve already begun, there’s a lot you can still do.

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1. Clean out closets. If your children are still college age, they probably grow out of clothing quickly. Go through closets and drawers and weed out overly small-clothes; give them to younger siblings or donate them.

2. Organize shoes. I enjoy keeping shoes near the point of entrance in my house. A shoe rack or custom cabinet works great for organizing shoes for everybody, so it’s possible to steer clear of the “Where’s my shoe?” Issue once and for all. Additionally, everyone’s getting in the habit of taking shoes off as soon as they enter the home will do wonders for your floors.


3. Prepare the entrance point. When you’ve clutter or a cluttered flow where the children leave and arrive home from college, it’s time to clear it out. That 60 seconds that children have just before they leave is critical for them to recall what they need for the day.

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4. Lay out clothing. This habit took a while for me to develop, but I swear by it. Do your clothes selection the night before and get everything prepared so that you’re not searching to your brown belt or green sweater at the last moment. Your children are going to pick up with this custom should they see you doing this.

5. Post the schedule. At the beginning of the new school year, there’ll probably be schedule changes. Article the new schedule someplace by the doorway to help children — and yourself — get accustomed to the new weekly regular. Include practices, classes and appointments.

6. Stock the pantry. A well-stocked pantry is essential. Most people need to make weekly runs to the market. But it is possible to stock some items to save a while. Cereal, peanut butter, bottled water and brown paper lunch bags are only a few I’m always reaching for.

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7. Clear out the garage. An organized garage will help most families stay on track. If you need to grab sports gear, raincoats or a bike to get to college, make it easy on your own and also have these items ready to proceed. Most cities have local garbage pickup services. Check online for trash collectors that will come straight to your home and take discards or ease donating items. Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are ever looking for gently used items.

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8. Gas up the car. This is the 1 errand that constantly eludes me. Try to avoid having to gas up first thing in the morning once the lines are longest and your own time is shortest. Make a note to gasoline up the night before to prevent the strain of running on fumes on the way to college.

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9. Prepare the mail area. Whenever school begins, the paper route starts. I’ve found it useful to separate faculty mail from regular mail, because a lot of college mail requires a response or something to complete. Stock up on stamps and envelopes, and get ready for the mail avalanche.

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10. Form novels. As with clothing, children grow out of novels. The good news is that novels are so readily given or donated away. Keep any publications that have sentimental value and clear out these the children have grown out of.

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11. Teach children to hang up their things. This really is such a precious lesson for children and has a great influence on their own day. Feeling cluttered can be confusing and upsetting. Help children start their day off confidently with a designated area for jackets and backpacks.

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12. Stock the very first aid kit. Smaller children will come home using boo-boos. I understand my youngest son still enjoys a Band-Aid out of Mother. Stock on bandages, cold packs and antiseptic spray.

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