Fall Family Organizing Tips from Rachel and Company

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I am honored to feature this guest contribution from celebrated local organizing expert, Rachel Strisik Rosenthal of Rachel and Company.  As we all work to establish order and healthy routines for our families this fall, her tips and advice are lifesavers! – Jessica 

Back To School Is Stressful for Everyone, So Give Yourself a Break

The beginning of a new school year is stressful for kids, but it’s stressful for us parents too. Some parents may be asking if I am crazy right about now as they are happily sending their kids off to school after a long summer together but just because you are getting back a few hours of your day, doesn’t mean the back to school prep isn’t hard.

There is always the pressure to start the school year off on the “right” foot (perfect test scores, must have back to school wardrobe and everything in between). For us parents, we have the added pressure of getting everyone to school on time, making sure they get to sports practice and have time to do all of their homework.

Don’t let the pressure get to you. We have to remember that it is okay to make mistakes. We may not get it perfect the first time (what is perfect anyway?), just make sure your organizing systems and goals for the new school year are adjustable, and that you are okay with that.

This year I am making a conscious choice to be ok with changing organizing systems and routines a few times, without worry – until I get it to the point where it feels like it is working properly. I tell clients all the time that you have to “live” with your systems for awhile to see how they are working so why wouldn’t I take my own advice and at the same time relieve myself of a bit of pressure of starting off the school year with everything organized perfectly.

My girls and are prepared for back to school this year – with our new command center systems but we are also prepared knowing that we can change any part of it that isn’t working.

Here is what is in our command center:

Drop zone: Created for backpacks, shoes and coats. This is where everything gets left so that we’re not searching in the morning. Once homework is done, it goes back in the backpacks and in the drop zone. A few hooks or large baskets work perfect for this!

Homework bins: Each of my daughters has a container with all of their homework supplies in it. Everything from pencils and erasers to notebooks. The bins have lids so they can be easily stacked when they are not in use and easily taken out to complete homework and projects.

Family calendar: We write everything on it from dance class to doctor’s appointments so we can all stay on the same page. Hung up near our calendar we also have a goal list so we can keep each other accountable and remember the things we want to get done. These goals can be anything from reading 2 non-school books a month to remembering your homework every day. Remember that you need to be okay with adjusting your goals as the school year progresses and you realize what you can handle and how much time you actually have.

So this year, set up a command center, get into the routine of using it and be prepared for the school year, but also be okay with tweaking your system – especially in the first few weeks. What works for my family may not work for yours, and what works for one of your kids may not work for another. It is all about adjusting your organizing systems so they are working for you and not just becoming chores.

Rachel Strisik Rosenthal of Rachel and Company is an organizing extraordinaire – Rachel uses creativity, style and a little elbow grease to help clients get their homes, offices, schedules and lives in order. As a professional organizer, Rachel empowers her clients to live more organized, productive lives. Rachel and Company is a full-service professional organizing company specializing in client organization, closet design and organized moves and has helped over 800 clients since starting in 2008. Rachel works nationally with clients, is based in Bethesda, MD and has been featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Washingtonian, The Washington Post, Parents, NBC4 and Fox5. Rachel can be reached through her website: www.rachel-company.com.

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