Organizing For The Start of Summer

posted by Andrea | 05/10/2012
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It’s already the second week of May — which means your children’s school will probably end in less than a month!

Seriously, it seems like the school year JUST started! 

I know Dave is looking forward to a break. I’m looking forward to it too because then he’ll be home to give ME a break! However, before you officially swap your backpacks and shoes for beach bags and sandals, there are a few simple things you can do NOW to avoid dealing with school clutter all summer long.

1. Corral ALL that paper.

Schools are really good at sending your children home with lots and lots of paper… so before you close up shop for the summer, take an hour to sit down with your child and go through all their paperwork from the past school year.

Toss anything you/they don’t need, use, or want; and encourage them to weed out some (or most) of their school art projects and crafts. They only need to keep the ones they love — and if they insist that they love all of them (which they probably will) explain that there is not room to keep everything. Believe me, this is a good lesson to teach them, even at an early age!

2. Stock up on summertime activities.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but now is the time to stock up on some fun activities to keep your kids busy during those long summer days.

Look for deals on board games, DVD’s, craft supplies, water ballons, sprinklers, etc. Search the internet for creative activities to do as a family. Scour garage sales for dress-up clothes, scavenger hunt items, and “prizes” for whatever reward system you might implement.

Now is also the time to finalize the plans for any family vacations or day-trips you would like to take.

3. Look over your calendar.

Speaking of travel plans… lazy summer days have a way of suddenly becoming jam-packed with all sorts of sporting events, vacations, trips, play dates, BBQ’s, pool parties, weddings, summer camp, and much, MUCH more.

Take a few moments to glance over your calendars for June, July, and August — do you need to make any last-minute plans? Do you need to request time off from work? Do you need purchase gifts or prepare anything in advance? Once the kids are home, you might not have as much time… so do it now!

4. Size up their clothing.

If you haven’t taken the time to weed through your kid’s clothing since last summer, chances are it’s ALL too small! Take an afternoon to go through their clothing and figure out what you can pass down to the next child, what you should donate, and what you’ll need to buy for the upcoming season (remember to write down what you need).

Then, if you’re like me and refuse to pay full price for anything, hit up a few church/school second hand sales and stock up. Those sales usually have a wide variety of styles and sizes so you should be able to find most of what you need.

5. Get your house in shape.

The best time for deep cleaning and organizing is probably NOT once the kids are home full-time. If there are any major (or even minor) cleaning and organizing projects you want to tackle… do them now!

Unless of course, your husband is a teacher and you’re waiting for him to be done for the summer so you can start renovating your kitchen :)

 I know it sounds like a lot — but you still have an entire month. 

And while I’m sure none of these things sound particularly thrilling right now, think about how much more you’ll be able to enjoy those precious summer months if you take a little time to plan ahead!

How are you preparing for summer?

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  1. Melissa


    I live in Phoenix so for me summer means a lot of time indoors, at least during daylight hours. So preparing for summer here is more like prepping for winter elsewhere. I have about 2-3 weeks left to do any organizing projects in the garage, wash the windows outside, etc before it’s too hot and unpleasant to do so. One of the things we do to prepare for summer is to get our A/C system checked in spring before the summer busy season starts. Another thing I like to do is get any baking done in spring and stock the freezer so that I don’t have to turn the oven on during those hot summer days if I can help it!


    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks for sharing these ideas/tips, Melissa. I am in coastal South Carolina – so, not nearly as warm/intense as Phoenix – and our days are spent out of the heat & humidity until things cool off in the evening (when the mosquitoes come out!). I love the idea of baking now to avoid the heat being exacerbated by an oven during the middle of the summer- no need to add extra work for an A/C unit that is already working hard to combat a heat index of 115.


  2. Paula


    When the kids come home with all their papers I do sit down with them and go through them. We make piles. 1) Toss; 2) Keep; 3) Take picture and then toss. My kids each have a file on the computer of ‘Artwork’ labeled by grade so they can always see their creations and especially if they are oversize this works well.


  3. Lisa


    Thanks for giving me my next “to do list” :) The reminders are all great! I would add “putting meals in the freezer” and “making a list of quick and easy meals to refer to”…although I love to cook, it’s sure nice to not have to fuss with supper after a long hard day at the beach or pool :)


  4. Bonnie


    Thank you for your helpful ideas!


  5. Ivy Miller


    I like to get together some “school type” workbooks for the kids so they don’t forget everything over the summer. Plus it gives them something to do when I hear “we are board there’s nothing to do!!”
    Now that all three of mine are going to be going to school next year I am also going to spread out the school supply shopping. I can’t believe how much stuff they need.


  6. Ann


    Here are my summer suggestions for kids:
    Don’t do all of your cleaning before they are out of school! On the first day of summer vacation (which was often a half day) we invited friends over or met other moms/kids at the park for a picnic and an afternoon of fun. The next morning, I paired kids up into 2’s and gave them cupboard assignments. 1 of them had to empty the cupboard. Together they would match all lids, etc of margarine containers and “Tupperware” and stack them neatly. The other child would then wash out the cupboard. I would put everything back in.
    Another terrific “kid” job is to put socks on their hands and have them crawl around on their hands and knees dusting the baseboards, chair rungs, etc.

    My mom had a list in the garage of “100 things to do”. It included bike rides, roller skating (that dates me!), reading, puzzles, games, writing a story, drawing pictures, playing instruments, swimming, building and completing an obstacle course, etc. #100 was ask Mom for work to do. If we ever said we were bored or that there was nothing to do, my mom would say, “Check the list.” If we had the nerve to say we had, she would say, “Oh, but you didn’t ask me for work to do. Now you can…..” We didn’t admit to being bored often!


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Ann — that’s great. I’ll have to remember this one for a few years down the road :)


  7. Stel


    Ann…now THAT is an idea that I must remember!