Quick Start Back to School: Back To School Clothes

back to school organizing clothes


Your kids just got out of school and it is already time for Back To School.  It’s hard to get started, so I have created this series Quick Start Back to School to get everyone going!   The next post is about Back To School Clothes.


Your kids keep outgrowing their clothes. They’ve been wearing gym shorts and flip flops all summer.  Now it’s time for school to start and its time for Back to School clothes.


Weed out clothes

  • Your kids drawers may not be closing because there are too many clothes.  Your kids drawers may be a mishmash of all types of clothes together.  Start by weeding out what is too short, too tight or not appropriate for school.  Work with each child for 15 minutes, and then finish up in an hour.
  • Weed out shoes too.
  • Donate or consign clothes that day.


Categorize Back to School clothes

  • Not everything will be clothes for school.  Set up areas for dressy and after school clothes.
  • Determine what’s easiest for your child to maintain: hanging or folding clothes.
  • Set up easy access for your child to get clothes out the night before and get ready the next day.
  • Make a list and set a budget for clothing purchase to fill in.


Back to school clothes routines

  • Have your kids lay out clothes the night before and get all their stuff ready for the next day.  Start practicing this a week before school begins.
  • Baskets and a triple slotted sorter are great for laundry routines.  Each child should have a basket to carry clothes to and from the laundry room.  The sorter is great in the laundry area.
  • Host a family meeting to talk about laundry standards.  When will clothes be washed and put away? Who will help with this?  Having procedures in place helps everyone work as a team.


Back to school clothes can be found inexpensively at consignment shops, during tax free weekend or online at Thredup.   Being organized about your shopping list saves you money!


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10 Tips for Student Time Management

Our students have a lot on their plates! There is homework, sports, homecoming, church and more! Time management is an important skill for them to develop early on to be sure they feel successful academically and personally. Follow these tips to help you do your best!

  • Write in your assignments in your planner in each class. Check your teachers’ websites to be sure you have all your assignments too.
  • Check your planner each afternoon, write in what you missed.
  • Review your out of school activities and write these in your planner.
  • Keep your papers in your homework folder that need action, keep your papers in your binder that are reference
  • Prioritize and plan the week out. What is most important to do on what day? Anticipate the next test.
  • Plan your week by working around existing activities. Wednesdays are especially busy!
  • Break big projects into baby steps. For example, flashcards written, study for short periods, review with someone.
  • Get started and work hard during homework time, from 6 – 9 pm. Take breaks when your concentration stops, but get back to work in 5 minutes.
  • Pack your backpack and your homework before bed.
  • Wind down and get in bed by 10 pm. A good night’s rest makes all the difference.

ABC13 Back to School

Thanks to ABC13 for the opportunity to make a difference this fall for Back To School.

Healthy Breakfasts on a Budget


Best Lunch Boxes for your Money


Back to School Family Organizing


Back to School: Tips for Organizing School Lunch

Back to school! Its that time of year that makes moms happy and sad; happy to start new routines and sad about the energy and organization it can take to get your family going. Throughout the month of August we are featuring organized moms who will help get you started back to school with the toughest tasks. 

Moms are challenged by making lunch nutritious, easy to make, and enjoyable for their kids.  Here are some solutions for you. 

Lunch-making blues….

I dread making those lunches every morning as much as my boys dread returning to school.  Alternating PB&J and salami sandwiches weekly gets monotonous quickly—for the mom making the lunch and for the kids eating it!  Last year, I surfed the web and collected some great new ideas to make lunches a little more exciting.  Following are some hits with my kids:

Instead of a sandwich, I had the deli counter cut lunch meat in one thick slice, which I then cubed and packed with cubed cheese, toothpicks, and crackers.  (Toothpicks are huge with my kids—maybe because I have three boys—they love when I condone the stabbing of anything)  Wraps are another hit—the same ingredients as a boring sandwich, but wrapped in a tortilla—I spread cream cheese or Laughing Cow Swiss, then the lunchmeat, shredded cheese and “salad” (my boys’ term for lettuce, spinach, etc).  I am sure the “salad” gets brushed off immediately at school, but I try!

Also, varying the bread on a basic sandwich was a hit.  We used thin bagels, English muffins, and even corn muffins.

Other main dishes include hummus with pita chips and carrots, cold pizza, cold pepperoni rolls, and leftover meatballs (again with toothpicks).  If you have a thermos, baked potatoes, soup, or any pasta can be a great change on a cooler day.

Some extras that were a hit last year:  beef jerky, peanut butter crackers, chips and dip, veggies and ranch, pretzels with the new individual cream cheese packets, yogurt with granola, trail mix, popcorn, and zucchini chocolate chip muffins (I have a great recipe for these—my kids have yet to discover there is a vegetable in there!)

Of course, I always add a fruit and small treat to brighten their day.

Shawna McGrath is a stay at home mom of three boys, part time Math and English tutor, and enjoys believing her kids eat all the food in their lunch, not just the cookies.

Pictured above is the all new Rubbermaid lunch kit named LunchBlox.  As a mom and Gigi (grandmother), I love the gift of LuncBlox from Rubbermaid! As an organizer, lots of rectangular containers in bright colors make a difference.  Little separate compartments for different items and an ice block to keep it all cold make it easy to keep lunch together and make it the night before.  It’s also BPA free and dish washer safe.  All of Shawna’s suggestions will fit in the new LunchBlox.  Making lunch will be so much more fun, nutritious and enjoyable now!  What lunch will you pack in your LunchBlox?

Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap is a fan of all sorts of containers!

Clocks and Time management

clocks and time management


For some people, time management is a natural rhythm of the day. For some people, there is no awareness of time, time passing, arriving or leaving on time.  The greatest asset for time awareness is a clock! Placing clocks in various spots in your home or office can make a difference.  Having an analog clock in view helps you keep track of time and be more productive.  Clocks and time management are like peanut butter and jelly.

  • Analog clocks give you a better perspective of time passing.  The face of the clock, markings for each 5 minute period, and the “feel” of how long a task takes come together with an analog clock.
  • Place analog clocks in many different places in your home and office.
  • At a minimum, have a clock in your bathroom, in your kitchen and in your bedroom at home.
  • It seems redundant to have a clock by your computer, but often we lose time perspective during our work. Have a clock where you can see it without getting up from your chair.
  • Set your clocks all at the same time.  Many people want to have 15 “extra” minutes as a measure to prevent tardiness.  If so, set all of your clocks with the extra minutes.
  • Setting alarms on your phone helps you if you rely on auditory cues.  Set the alarm 5 minutes early so you can be sure you are ready to go even after it goes off.

What places and spaces do you needs clocks in your home?

Calendars designed by Professional Organizers

Our productivity and professional organizer community is filled with creative and resourceful people! I admire their skills in creating calendars that will work for our clients.

Ready Aim Organize Organize Your Life Calendar

Theresa Finnegan has designed a fold out easel, day at a glance calendar filled with different daily organizing tips.  I love this calendar because it shares something new each day and keeps organizing a daily priority. You can purchase it at www.readyaimorganize.com

A Confident Mom 2012 Weekly Household Planner

Susan Heid created this weekly planner as a complete way to organize and clean your home throughout the year.  I love this calendar because is captures all the essentials. You can purchase this planner at http://www.theconfidentmom.com/services/classes-products/household-planner-sales-page/.

Order out Of Chaos Academic Planner

Leslie Josel has created an Academic Planner for middle and high schoolers to not just record but also plan their lives.  I love this calendar because it visually represents all the dimensions for kids.  You can order this calendar at http://www.orderoochaos.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114&Itemid=70

Organizing your Library


organize your library


With the newest technologies of Kindle and Nook, book lovers still love their libraries!  Books are a tangible way to share knowledge, take to you foreign lands, and a reminder of those in our family who prized knowledge, loved to read and loved books.  To some of us, a personal library is a great reflection of our inner selves.

  • All the books in your home comprise your family library.  Refering to these as your library brings a new perspective to your books and how you care for them.
  • Keep only the books you truly love.  Review your stacks annually.  If your collection is always growing, you should also be eliminating too.
  • Remember to honor your books by placing these on a book shelf.  If your books are used as decor, books may be stacked horizontally.  Books are not best kept in a drawer or cardboard box.   Not enough book space?  Add more book cases in a hall way or a guest room.
  • Group your books by their use.  Some of for a specific reference, some of just for fun, some are collections, some are read by the bed.  You decide what your categories are, by both function and value.  Some of my clients have organized by these groups or by alphabetical order.
  • Books need care too! Remember to dust frequently and keep them out of damp climates.
  • Cookbooks have special meaning to many of us. Cull through and keep what you love. Keep them in an easy to access spot in the kitchen.
  • Group your books that are “to be read” in a special spot, so you have access to these when you are ready to start a new one.  Keep a “wish list” for upcoming reads in with your other lists, either electronically or in your command center.
  • Do you share books in your library? Always make a note in your task list of who you are lending to and the date it was loaned.  You will be able to retrieve your book easily.

Books will always be a special part of who you are and what defines you.   Honor them just as any keepsake.

Back to School Time Management

Back to school means getting back into schedules, activities and getting to school on time.  It is hard to do, especially after summer.   One of the most important parts of back to school is getting back or getting going on good routines.  Routines are the consistent, every day ways of getting things done that make life easier.  Try out these routines this fall, starting them the third week of August, so that by the first day of school you are already in the groove. 

  •  Have a set schedule for homework and other chores.  Designate a little time for down time, and then start on homework in the late afternoon. The later you start homework, the longer it takes.  Decide on what chores are done on what days and post a chart so everyone is on board with this plan. 
  • Use power periods to get homework done. Instead of 2 hours straight, break your homework time into 15,30 or 45 minutes of work and 5 minutes of walking around, getting a drink,texting friends or taking a very short break. Your kids will be more efficient if they know that the homework needs to be done in 45 minutes.
  • All kids and parents need planners and calendars.  Host a family meeting each week to write in on a month at a glance calendar what upcoming and regular events are going on. Include even the weekly activities, like ballet, football or other kids and parent activities.  You can use the google calendar or Cozi.com if you are a techie, and print the calendar to post too.  Kids bring their planners too to fill in so everyone is modeling and practicing how to use their planners.
  • Set a bed time for the kids and parents.   Well rested kids do better in school. Well rested parents are more productive.  Set alarm clocks for everyone to get up and get going. 

Take a good look at the big picture and what you want this year to be for your family.  At your family meeting, have everyone talk about this and share.  Also think through over scheduling.  Be realistic about what your kids participate in and your commitment.  Being involved is a positive, but being over involved can cause stress and frustration.

Parents’ Resources for ADD

ADD and ADHD Parents Resources


Learning that you or your child has a new diagnosis can be scary.  Getting some background and tools empower you and your child.  Here is a short list of suggested resources for you to start your education. 











Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett

The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg

The Crumpled Paper that Was Due Last Week by Ana Homayoun 

Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden

Super Parenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and Peter S. Jensen

ADD and the College Student  or Understanding Girls with ADHD both by Patricia Quinn,MD

Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults by Thomas E. Brown

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Ped Dawson, EdD

What are your best resources?  Please share!

Cell Phones for Soldiers Drive during June and July 2011

Cell Phones for Soldiers Drive Hosted by PostNet Kingwood and Professional-Organizer.com

Your old cell phone can help a soldier stay in touch with family. Cell Phones for Soldiers wants to turn your old cell phones into more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas. To do so, Cell Phones for Soldiers wants to collect 50,000 cell phones each month through a network of more than 3,000 collection sites across the country.  PostNet Kingwood and Professional-Organizer.com are partnering to host a drop off site in Kingwood from June 1 – July 31.  PostNet Kingwood is located at 4321 Kingwood Drive in the HEB Shopping Center in Kingwood.  Drop off your used cell phones and make a difference!

 To learn more about Cell Phones for Soldiers visit


To learn more about PostNet Kingwood, including store hours, visit

http://www.postnet.com/kingwood-tx194/  or call (713) 589-2151