Back To School: Getting Organized by Rachel and Company

My organization guru and favorite read when I want to believe that home life order is actually possible? It’s Rachel Rosenthal, owner of Rachel and Company! Check out her accessible and school-year-changing tips for getting organized during the back to school season and contact Rachel and Company if you need professional organizing services. 

For most of us our kids are back to school and we are knee deep in getting the kids out the door on time, getting paperwork signed and returned, and creating more of a routine with completing homework and getting kids off to their after school activities.

I don’t know about you, but I depend on routines and schedules at home with my identical 9.5 year old twins. From when I grocery shop to when I get my work done, it is all scheduled out as best as it can so that when life’s inevitable hiccups throw a wrench in my plan I know how to get back on track. This also gives us time for more enjoyable things. As a professional organizer, I’m not one to “wing it” when it comes to getting tasks and priorities handled (some people disagree with this but our family thrives this way), and getting my kids up and out the door before school is no exception.

In our household I have implemented morning routines to create order, independence, and also to keep us on time and get us out the door without forgetting the essentials. Over the summer months our schedules look a lot different than they doing during the school year, but since we are a few weeks out from the first day of school this is the time we start getting back into the habit of the routine. Now that my twins are entering fourth grade in a couple of weeks they are still using the same morning routine that we set in place years ago, only now they are able to handle a lot of the routine on their own without my assistance (which I love!).

If you’re interested in adopting some tried-and-true tips that have worked in a busy household with young children, I’ve included the morning routine tips that have worked for our family over the years below. For younger and older kids, the same morning routine tips apply but your involvement will be determined on their age and how much responsibility/independence you’d like for them to have.

Keep clothing sorted in color order. When choosing what to wear each day it’s helpful to keep an organized closet, especially on the days when kids are requesting a specific shirt or perfectly-coordinated outfit.  My girls like to choose their own outfits, so keeping their drawers and closets sorted in color order (and by type) makes it easy to find the exact article of clothing that they want to wear that day.

Make outfit choices the night before. There is so little time in the morning to be spent choosing what will be worn that day, so we find it to be helpful to select outfit (and accessory) choices the night. My girls know that if they make their selections in advance that means that they can have a few more minutes of sleep each morning. All options are sorted within arms’ reach and in open bins, low hangers, and drawers to make it easy to see and grab.

Work backwards to create your morning timeline. We give a time limit for each task (hair=5 mins, breakfast=15 mins, etc.) to figure out how much time is needed to get everything done and determine the wake-up time based on how long everything will take so that we have enough time to get it done and out the door on time. We always build in an extra 5 minutes to account for something to take longer than normal (let’s be honest, we depend on this extra time most days!).

 

Set our fridge and pantry up in advance. I’ve learned that my girls enjoy their lunches more when they are the ones actually making the decisions on what goes inside. Our fridge and pantry is set up so that the girls can reach in and grab an option from each category (fruit, vegetables, protein, etc.), so all they have to do is grab and fill. Each night I wash and set out their lunchboxes, containers, and water bottles so that in the mornings the girls can get started without waiting for me to pull out their essentials.

Keep extra essentials in the downstairs bathroom. In our house we keep toothbrushes and hair supplies in a bin underneath the downstairs bathroom sink. That way as we’re heading to the door to grab backpacks and put their shoes on they can stop in the bathroom for final preparations instead of taking longer than necessary to run upstairs.

ABOUT RACHEL AND COMPANY
Rachel and Company (www.rachel-company.com) is a full-service professional organizing firm specializing in home organization, closet design, and home moves in the Washington, DC area and beyond. Since 2007, founder Rachel Rosenthal and her team have worked with over 1,500+ busy families to make their homes organized and beautiful. Over the years, Rachel’s work and organizing tips have been featured in several publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Garden, Washingtonian, Teen Vogue, House Beautiful, the Washington Post, Women’s Health, and Reader’s Digest. Rachel has collaborated with and hosted events with national brands and companies including West Elm, Wayfair, Kit + Ace, and The Container Store.

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