There are just a few short weeks left of summer vacation. You know what that means: it’s time to prepare for the frantic back-to-school season. But while you’re battling with the restarting of the school day morning routine and hair-pulling homework sessions (seriously, when did math get so hard?), you can ensure the rest of your world stays in order, thanks to these handy organizational tips.
Get a budget
From field trips, to AP exams and yearbooks, the school year is filled with surprise expenses, many of which can stretch into the triple figures. This is why it’s always a good idea to start the school year with a budget in place.
The Internet has no shortage of budgeting tools available. One of the most popular is called You Need A Budget. Think of it as a turbocharged spreadsheet that’s designed to help households get their financial affairs in order, so they can weather unexpected costs further down the line. Just add your income, deduct the usual expenses (e.g., rent, groceries and utilities), and then plan what to do with what’s left, such as paying down debt or putting more money toward school-related costs.
Make your calendar work for you
There are so many things for parents of schoolchildren to remember – from homework due dates, to presentations and musical recitals. If you’re still relying on post-its and Apple Notes to make memos, you’ll inevitably find yourself missing something important.
Instead, set up a family calendar, which will allow you to see upcoming events at a glance. While there are special applications that fill this particular niche, like the Cozi Family Organizer, you might as well stick with the tried-and-tested Google Calendar. It even works seamlessly with your Amazon Echo or Google Home smart assistants, meaning updating it is as easy as saying “Alexa, add an event to my calendar.”
Set up notifications for everything
Speaking of Alexa, you can also use your smart assistant to set up notifications, so the morning routine goes on schedule.
Alexa can handle the shower schedule by telling your children when it’s their turn to use the bathroom and avoid pesky hallway traffic that makes getting ready for school even more hectic. And when it’s a few minutes before the school bus is due to arrive, it can give them a gentle nudge to get their stuff and leave the house.
Plan meals with an online grocery service
Food is the fuel that powers young minds, helping them to grasp complicated concepts like trigonometry, or the past participle in French. That said, if you’re a busy parent, you might struggle to find time to grocery shop.
Thankfully, services like Instacart, Amazon Grocery, and Walmart Grocery exist, allowing you to do the weekly shop from the comfort of your couch, which is ideal when you’re relaxing after a hectic day’s work.
Some of these sites also let you create shopping lists, which you can easily reorder when you need, saving you time, and guaranteeing you won’t miss anything important.
And best of all, these services deliver your groceries straight to your home, meaning all you’ve got to do is put them in your fridge – or get your kids to do it.
There’s a surprising amount of paperwork associated with being at school. At the start of the year, your child will be presented with a printed-out copy of their schedule, which by the end of the semester, resembles something more akin to a tatted piece of historical parchment.
For your sanity – and so your kid actually attends their classes – it’s worth digitizing all the paperwork they’ll rely on throughout the academic year.
Enter the Fujitsu ScanSnap line of scanners. These make it easy to create digital copies of important paperwork, which you can keep on your home computer, or upload to an online service like Dropbox, Google Doc, Box etc.
Think about it: your child brings home their schedule, and you then make a digital copy which they can easily view from their smartphone or tablet computer. If they lose the paper original, it’s no big deal. And you can always see where they’re supposed to be.
What parent doesn’t want that?