Mary Hoff’s Tips for Back to School

Tips from a professional organizer.

Fearing the end of summer more than your kids are? You’re not alone. So we tracked down someone who knows the secret to a smooth transition into the school year, professional organizer Mary Hoff.

Q: My kids are all hyped up from a long summer vacation; how do I get them back on track for the school year?

A:  Fall is a great time to move your household from chaos to calm. There are four steps you can take.

1) Reducing chaos means creating routine, which is something kids crave. Routine gives them a sense of security and helps develop their self discipline. Two weeks before school starts, begin adjusting their sleep schedules toward their target bedtime. Establish routines for homework, computer time and television viewing. 

2) Do as much as you can the night before. After the dinner dishes are cleared, set the table for breakfast. Set out clothes the night before. If you or your children bring lunches, make them the night before. 

3) Establish a launching pad. This location holds all the items that we need when we leave the house, and it’s where we drop them when we return home. It can be anything from hooks and cubbies in a mudroom, to backpacks on chairs at the dining room table.  Include a charging station for the family cell phones and PDAs. Mount a bulletin board nearby listing all activities. The launching pad helps you and your children avoid the “I can’t find my ...” syndrome, which eats up too many minutes every morning.

 4) Arrive on time. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than normal. Leave five minutes early for work or for school. You’ll feel more in control. You and your kids will arrive on time, calm and ready for the day.

Plymouth resident Mary Hoff is owner of Lotus Organizing and Design, specializing in organizing systems and processes at home, and in interior design. 763.498.2657