As summer days begin to fade away and the reminiscent smell of sharpened pencils fills the air, it’s that time of year again-back to school season. For busy women in South London, juggling work, family and the myriad of responsibilities, the thought of the chaos that managing all things school feels completely overwhelming. But fear not! Your Professional Organiser is here with eco-friendly back-to-school organisation tips that will not only save you time but also align with your sustainable lifestyle.
1. Invest in Eco-Friendly Supplies
The temptation to buy new school supplies is real, friends! The shiny, new products are on the shelves in most of the shops and even on the TV adverts. But before going out and spending money, check to see if there are items at home that can be reused. Pencil cases, backpacks and lunch boxes can be washed to bring them back to life again. A gentle wash in the machine will have them looking much fresher so they can be used for another school year.
If there are items that need to be replaced, try and opt for eco-friendly options. Look for products made from recycled materials or those that can be easily recyclable. Choose reusable items for lunches such as storage containers, beeswax sandwich wraps, stainless steel water bottles and cloth lunch bags instead of the single use kind. By making even a few sustainable choices, you reduce your environmental footprint.
2. Create a Centralised Family Calendar
Keeping track of everyone’s schedules can be an absolute nightmare, but if you want life to run smoother than it’s absolutely necessary. Designate a prominent spot in your home for the calendar, somewhere that is easily accessible to everyone that needs to see it. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive. You can always just start with a simple calendar printout to get you started. You can also use a reusable whiteboards or digital calendar app that can sync across family member’ devices. Use a different colour for each family member to make it easier for each person to see their activities and appointments.
3. Breakfast Tidy Up for Champions
You know that feeling in the morning when everyone is rushing around, and you are trying to make sure everyone looks ok, smells ok and has eaten something ok. Well, one of the areas in your home that probably takes a big hit is the area where everyone eats breakfast. Whether it’s a table, a breakfast bar, a coffee table-one useful tip to get the area clean and tidy quickly is to place a serving tray there. When someone is finished eating, they just put their items on the tray, and then you only have one trip to clear the space. If you don’t have a tray, it’s worth investing in a good quality wooden one that is more sustainable but also sturdy. If you wanted to take it even one step further, add a cloth and a spray bottle with eco-friendly washing up liquid and water to the tray to finish of the area with a quick wipe down, ready to be used again later.
4. Establish a Homework Station
Designate a quiet, clutter-free space for homework and study sessions. If there is only one useable space in your home that multiple people have to use, consider investing in a cardboard display board (like the kind used for science projects) to create a divider between little ones. Ensure the area is well- lit and stocked with essential school supplies such as pencils, sharpeners, paper (use paper from old school notebooks), erasers, felt tips and colouring pencils. Having a dedicated area will help your children focus on their tasks while keeping the rest of the home organised.
5. Create a Drop-Zone
This is a great opportunity to create an easy-to-use space to support your children to take responsibility for their belongings. Having a drop-zone for each child, somewhere near the front door ideally, will save so much time and frustration in the mornings. No more lost shoes, backpacks, or other items necessary to get out the door in the morning. Again, it doesn’t’ need to be anything expensive or fancy. Honestly, cardboard boxes with each child’s name would do. It’s just ONE place where your children can put their shoes, backpacks, reading books, pencil cases, lunch boxes and water bottles so they can always be found. You may decide to have a separate drop-zone in the kitchen for water bottles and lunch boxes if that makes life easier for you. The hard part is to teach them to put everything in their box. It will probably take some time, but it will be worth it in the long run. These skills will not only make your daily routines smoother but also instil a sense of responsibility in your kids.
6. Daily Debriefs
Get into the routine of having daily debriefs with your family where everyone that can be present is, and where you talk about upcoming activities and tasks that are happening the next few days. This open communication helps create a sense of unity and ensures that everyone is on the same page. It gives parents the chance to discuss expectations of what jobs or tasks need to be completed the next day, and who will be doing them. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to reinforce the importance of sustainability in your family’s daily life. Praise anyone that has been helpful around the home or that has been conscious of saving energy by turning off lights, not leaving water running and hanging clothes so that they can be worn again.
7. Digital Dates All in One Place
I don’t know about you, but it feels like I receive about a hundred emails, WhatsApps, text messages or school notifications a week that have some important information on them that I need to remember. One trick that has been a lifesaver is to take a screenshot of the important information on any digital communication, and then WhatsApp it to yourself. Then, at the end of each day, take five minutes to add this information to the centralised calendar. That way, you’ll never forget any events or appointments that are coming up. Not only that, but then you only need to look in ONE place to find out any details for each activity.
8. Reusable Meal Planning
This is that one that most people wish they were doing but aren’t, and the simple reason is that it can take a lot of time, if you let it. But you can give yourself a bit of a break, and just create one week of meal planning, and then just reuse it for a few weeks until you can do another week. Planning meals ahead of time reduces food waste and saves a ton of money. Of course, you can always use a reusable meal planning tool or app to organise around your family’s dietary needs. Another great thing about planning ahead is that you can cook more than you need for a meal, and then store it meal on a night when you can’t be bothered to cook. Go for eco-friendly food storage solutions, like glass containers, to store the leftovers.
As busy women in South London, you can conquer the challenges of back-to-school season with eco-friendly organisation strategies. By investing in a few eco-friendly supplies, planning ahead and instilling responsible habits in your family, you’ll not only make the transition smoother but also contribute to a greener, more organised future. Remember, even the smallest changes can have a big impact our environment but also your wallet.
Follow Your Professional Organiser for more tips on eco-friendly decluttering and organising, mental wellbeing and saving money to streamline your busy life. Together, we can create harmony in your home while embracing sustainable living.