Labelalooza: From the First to the Last Day of School

Everyone is ready for the first day of school: uniforms ironed, new shoes purchased, little coats hanging by the door. Mere weeks later, we might be looking at a rather different picture. School bags left where they tumbled at the end of the day, new coat purchased because the first one was lost, uniform not quite as pressed. Also, new snack kit, water bottle, and a few other items because the first ones were lost. Take a weekend day to do some systematising, and get back that fresh-start feeling.

Labels for everything
Charming personalised labels, small as they seem, can help solve a few of these problems. Some children just have a tendency to trail their belongings behind them and lose things constantly. A range of colourful graphic labels available means you’ll find plenty that your child will love; you can order labels already printed or sit down with your child for a short session of writing in their own name, even if they’re too young to make the letters – you just need to be able to identify their items. Let them go crazy and label everything from shoe to water bottle to little coat.
Engaging them in paying more attention to their things, rather than reacting after they’re lost, can help head problems off at the pass.

Entry and exit point
Try allocating bins or baskets for your child at the door where the family leaves and arrives each weekday. Make this their own special place for their things by having them paint or decorate it. At the end of the school day, the bags and such – anything not directly related to homework or other necessary items for the evening – goes there before they run off to the kitchen for snacks.

Closet
Create a separate area in the closet for school uniforms. That way you can always see whether you have enough clean items for the following days. If you can afford it, extra uniform staples will be absolutely one of the best purchases you can make.

Junk drawer
Every household needs a place where all the weird stuff goes – that tortoiseshell comb your husband bought and never used, the dog brush, that key to backdoor. With kids, sometimes it can feel like your whole house has become a junk drawer, so they should have their own. In their room. Even if you love labelling and creating systems, this can be an exercise in your own frustration in a child’s room. Buy bins with lids and let them throw things in them. You’ll be happy for the hiding place, and you’ll see that tidying up is made so much easier when you let them just toss things in a bin.