Thursday, August 16, 2012

Too school for cool

Last year, I spent a lot of time yelling at the kids about all their "stuff" and how they could never find anything and neither could I. Lunch boxes weren't getting washed, forms were getting lost and no one could ever find their jacket as we ran out of the house each morning. In short, it was OBNOXIOUS and I decided I wasn't doing that anymore. I browsed around Pinterest looking for something that would work for us. I found several "command centers" that would work, sort of. Eventually, I cobbled something together which is going to be great. All it took was getting rid of a bunch of stuff and completely re-arranging the garage/family to accommodate it. I hit up Walmart for hooks to hang the coats and back packs on.
They have a ton, ranging from about $5 to over $50! Pick the one you like. Then I picked up some cheap dry erase boards to mount above the hooks. This will let us write down things for each kid, like PE Days (since they change from week to week because of the rotation schedule) so they know when to wear tennis shoes. We can also put things like snack days and field trips so everybody know what is going on.
Then, in my biggest stroke of genius, I bought paper trays to manage all the paper that comes home. Staples sells the kind that are specifically designed to mount to the wall but at $10 a piece, they were out of my budget, since I needed 4. I bought some of the regular desk top kind and convinced RF to make them work. :)
Each kid has one for papers that come home and one for papers to go back. The plan is when they get home, lunch boxes go on the counter by the sink, homework goes on the table. Everything else gets taken to the organization center. Coats and back packs are hung up, and any papers that came home from school that day go in their "from school" tray. Once snacks and homework are done, I can go through their "from school" boxes and sign forms and throw the rest away (Side note, I sure wish we could go paperless but with a low SES school, too many parents don't have access to email so it isn't feasible). Anything that needs to go back gets put in the "to school" box. Each morning, the kids can look in their "to school" box and pick up anything that needs to go back.
You'll note in the picture that no backpacks are hung up there yet. We have them, they are just packed full of school supplies and even though the hooks are in the studs, I'm afraid they are too heavy to hang without pulling them out (they are almost too heavy to lift), so we are waiting until after school starts to get them out there. This should keep things more organized, so stuff isn't getting lost and it puts them in charge of their stuff. I know that it will take some time to get in the habit but once they get it, it should make my life easier, and their's too!

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