Out of my love for simplicity and organization, I’m going to do several posts titled, “Five Ways to Simplify: _________ “.  I already have some ideas for future topics, but if you have any requests, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can come up with. The first in this series will be “Back To School”. Some children in our area went back to school today and the rest will start on Monday.  I’ve been racking my brain trying to get my house organized and ‘in order’ before “school” resumes.  Here are five ways that I will simplifying the “Back To School” process in my home…

1. Every child needs to eat breakfast, so make it as simple as possible. Last week I made two dozen muffins and about ten breakfast burritos (sausage, egg, and cheese, wrapped up in a tortilla) and I froze them individually. This makes breakfast nutritious and simple. Throw it in the microwave and you’re ready in less than a minute…not to mention, no dirty dishes! …Mommies, don’t forget, you need to eat breakfast too! It gives you a boost of energy to start your day and it helps fire up your metabolism.

2. If you have young children, decide on Sunday what they will wear to school next week. That’s right, go ahead and pull five pairs of shorts and five shirts (different if you have girls of course), pair them together and place them where the children will not mess with them. Each night, pull the next day’s outfit down and set it out for the morning. You may be thinking, ‘what’s the point?” afterall, it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds to choose an outfit, but this will take the guess work out of the process. You don’t have to worry on Friday whether or not their favorite shirt is clean or whether they wore their nice khaki shorts to play in the dirt one day after school. The clothes will already be picked out and placed out of reach.

3. If your child takes their lunch to school every day, decide on the weekend what the lunch “menu” will look like for next week. Make or prepare as much of that ahead of time as possible. If your child wants grapes in their lunch, go ahead and divide the grapes into five containers/baggies and put them in the fridge. If you’re going to make brownies for their lunch, wrap five brownies in foil and set them aside in the kitchen. Now all you have to do is make their sandwich (or whatever), grab the bags of grapes and the brownie, and you’re done!

4. Use sticky notes!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE sticky notes (“POST IT” notes). Almost every Sunday night and Wednesday night, I place a sticky note on the front door to remind Josh “DON’T FORGET THE TRASH!”. This also helps for “Don’t forget your lunch box”, “Field Trip Money!”, “Purple Shirt Day!”, etc.

5. REST. Even the most difficult child (or parent, LOL!!) is easier to handle and manage when they’re well rested. Did you know that five year olds should be getting ELEVEN hours of sleep a night? Nine year olds still need TEN hours and parents should really try to get seven to eight hours. My children go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 each night, but now that school is back in session, we’ll be shifting bedtime to 7:00pm. That allows me a good three or four hours of peace at night to spend time with my husband, get MY things done, and still get to bed NO LATER THAN 11:00pm.

That’s all for now. Make sure you take pictures of their FIRST DAY BACK TO SCHOOL!