Back to School 7-Day Home Reset
Back to school season is here. How are you feeling? Having four kids and summers full of fun can leave me feeling a little unprepared when time for back to school prep rolls around. A few years ago I outlined everything that ideally would happen before kids go back to school and it has made a huge difference in managing the overwhelm that comes in the weeks before school starts.
I have created a 7 Day Back To School Reset Checklist to help keep all the many tasks limited to one week. And… it works! At least for me :). I hope it works for you too! Let me know if you end up using this and what you found the most helpful. I love that this checklist focuses on resetting the areas of your home that are most important for systems involving kids. The thought of organizing your entire home in preparation for school would just be too much.
Read on for more details and blog posts on exactly how to execute each item on our checklist.
Prep for the Week
If you are really trying to tackle ALL back to school prep in one week, a plan is essential. There are a few things you can start to prep to keep you on track each day.
Start a shopping list separated by stores (use a different colored pen/marker for each child).
Start a donation bin or bag (add to it throughout the week).
Schedule time each day to tackle your back to school preparation for the day. Focus on one space each day.
Today’s task at hand is to establish a place where backpacks, shoes, coats (when it gets colder), and bags for extracurricular activities should go. There are many benefits to creating a drop zone that is close to the main living areas of your home instead of the kids’ individual rooms.
Check out my blog post on how to create a drop zone for your kids.
If you have multiple children, I suggest tackling one or two closets a day. Set aside one-on-one time with each child (or children if they share a closet).
Check out my blog post on getting your kids’ clothes and closets organized for the new school year.
Today’s back to school challenge is Meal Prep. Life looks so different when kids are at school for the majority of the day. Having systems in place to help them eat a healthy breakfast, healthy after school snack, and then independently prepare a healthy lunch makes such a difference in your day and your kids’ day. Resetting an entire pantry can be a big undertaking if you have never reset it before. For now, just focus on the areas of the pantry that affect your morning and after school routines. As you analyze each space, keep your grocery list, baskets, and bins close by to help you better create categories and zones.
For more help on creating zones in your pantry, check out my blog post on organizing school lunches, snacks, and more.
Today's challenge: reset your command center. If you don't have one… start one. Every home needs a main center. If you want help setting up a command center, check out my blog post on creating a family command center.
Back to School Shopping!
After accomplishing what you have this week, you should give yourself a pat on the back. All week, you have been prepping for this day. You probably have a very long list at this point. I love shopping deals, so if there are deals/basics you know can get online, start there.
If you are on the fence about ordering online, put a little star next to it on the list. When you are shopping later that day, this will tell you that there is an online option you can purchase at the end of the day if you don’t find a better option in person. Make a plan as to which stores you need to hit. I usually keep it pretty basic and get as much as I can at Target, Old Navy, and Walmart. If there are other stores, make sure you know what you want to get at each store.
Schedule a time to go shopping with each child. If this requires a babysitter or swap with a friend to stay home with the others, I think it is so worth it. Having alone time with each kid makes the experience fun instead of chaotic and turns it into an event you can both look forward to. To efficiently go to multiple stores in one day, allow each child to choose one of the stores on your list. While you are there grab anything on your list for that store even if it is for a different child. Gotta keep it efficient!
Once shopping is complete, make sure that everything ends up where it is supposed to go:
- Are teacher gifts, backpacks, school supplies, lunch boxes, water bottles and shoes all in the drop zone?
- Are clothes in closets and dressers with the systems you set up this week?
It’s Saturday! How did this week go so fast? How did you do? Are you feeling ready? Calm? Frantic? I hope this has been helpful. Guess what? The hard stuff is over. The next two days are focused on fine tuning systems. You have been working all week on creating systems in your drop zone, closets, kitchen, and command center. Are there any other systems you are wanting to set up or need some fine tuning?
Prep for systems: chores, homework, reading, bedtime, allowance, and practice.
Do you like to take pictures of your kids on the first day of school with little signs? Print them out today so you won’t be scrambling come Monday morning.
After working on fine tuning these systems: get outside!! This is the best day to do a fun summer sendoff activity. Is there anything you haven’t been able to cross off your summer bucket list yet? Make it happen!
Today I’m excited to share with you a few of our favorite Back to School traditions that we do as a family. I have gathered ideas from others throughout the years and we have made these our own. These are just ideas and not a step-by-step how to. Like everything else I share… find what works for you, your life, and your kids. I love the opportunity to step away from all the organizing, planning, and shopping and celebrate change and fresh starts.
The day before the first day of school is a special one and I like to celebrate my kids and how proud I am of them. I think it has helped them through the years to feel special and also optimistic about a new school year. This is what we do:
We go through our summer bucket list and cross off the last of the fun things we have done and then take a picture holding it so we can remember a summer well spent.
We decide on a family theme for the school year. Usually, I come up with a few ideas ahead of time that feel right. I’ll find a scripture or a quote that goes along with a short, easy to remember phrase. Then during our feast I’ll share my ideas with the kids and let them decide which theme we will focus on for the year.
We feast and toast. I like to do an extra special dinner the day before the first day of school. Some years we have decorated and worn crowns. Some years I do balloons. Some years I decorate fancy. The only consistent thing I do in preparation for this feast is delicious food and a special toast with Martinelli’s.
We set goals. This looks different each year, but usually we talk about our social, academic, athletic, spiritual, and personal goals for the year and how we can support each other.
We bathe, lay out our clothes for the first day of school, prep lunches, and GO TO BED EARLY.
I hope these tips and ideas help you feel prepared and ready for a new school year. I believe that a little bit of intention goes a long way in setting the stage for a successful and fun new beginning. Don’t forget that you can download our 7 Day Back To School Checklist as an easy reference to stay on track. And remember, what you do for your kids is perfect for them, if there is something on this list that doesn’t work for your family dynamic, find what does work. Good luck friends! I hope you have a great school year ahead of you.
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Utah (Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Logan, Utah County, and St. George), California (Bay Area, Los Gatos, Hillsborough, Atherton, San Jose), Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.