“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…” No, not Christmas, I’m talking back to school time! I can hear parents all across the internet cheering!
After a nice, long summer, it will be nice to get back into a routine, and the great things that follow: cooler weather, autumn, upcoming holidays and of course, all things pumpkin! Unfortunately, many find themselves scrambling to get everything together and ready for the first day of school and upcoming school year, which can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! I have found some great organizational ideas for the frugalista, like myself, to help ease the transition of going back to school, and make everyone’s year little bit easier!
The first thing that came to mind is how hectic and chaotic mornings can be. Some of the biggest stressors in my family, seem to be breakfast and lunch. One thing that has saved us money and kept the stress at bay while staying organized is, meal prepping!
“Leggo that Eggo.” Why buy the store-bought waffles and pancakes that have the two P words – pricey and packed with preservatives – when you can make your own (which I personally, think tastes better)? I found some great ideas for pancakes and make-ahead freezer waffles that you can make in advance, freeze, and when ready to eat, just throw in the microwave or toaster. For those of you who prefer something a bit lighter, like myself, I found healthier make-ahead options here that look delicious!
Buying pre-made lunches or sandwiches can add up, so make your own and save some serious cash. There are so many great packed-lunch ideas that cost less, are healthier and score you some serious mom points. You can make your own PB&J sandwiches with a decrustable sandwich cutter (available here and here) and freeze, and throw in the lunch box when packing lunches.
Recreate those lunches that can be bought at the store, such as this mom did. She even gives ideas to pack a very similar lunch while comparing and breaking down the cost of store-bought lunches versus homemade. These are all great ideas that can be done ahead of time making life easier a little more organized and best of all, help you to save money.
Reusable Bags and Containers
I love compartment containers, you can pack everything in them and keeps food organized and free from touching. This reduces the use of plastic baggies, which can be very pricey, and saves time and stress from the meltdowns from food touching. Unfortunately, some compartmentalized containers can be a bit pricey, but you can make your own. You can do this by using common household items such as; muffin tins, cookie cutters, small containers. Then just put everything in one bigger container such as a pencil case or cereal box, like these fun bento box ideas.
With all the gadgets, snacks and containers lunch calls for, make a space specifically designated for all things lunch it can be a cabinet or drawer. That way everything you need for lunch is all in one easy-to-get-to spot.
Before and After School Organization
I stumbled across a great article in Good Housekeeping that gave great tips and trick to organize during the school year. One that stuck out was to buy an inexpensive hanging shelf or bin, then on Sundays, laid out Monday – Fridays outfits. This will omit the “ What should I wear today?“ debacle that creates stress and mess those early school mornings, which I am all too familiar with, having a “threenager” in my house. I will definitely be implementing this idea in our household.
credit: the posh space
To help organize those after school messes, create a command center. This is where everyone has their own designated space to hang their backpack, stash their papers and shoes. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, just a hook for coats and backpacks, an individual folder for papers, a basket for shoes, and a calendar with all that is going on during the week. Viola! You have your very own command center! This is great because everyone has a place to put his or her things and it’s all in a nice confined area and not all over the house.
I must be honest, I only have a preschooler and a one year old and thankfully, they do not have homework! However, I do remember when I was in school and dreaded homework time. Luckily, I found some great, inexpensive ideas to use once my daughters are in grade school to make homework a little less stressful and a little fun (if that’s possible). Here are two DIY homework stations I found that only require things you have laying around the house or dollar store items. Simple, fun, easy on the wallet, and less frantic because everything needed for homework is right there (including a spot for snacks)!
credit: aunt peaches
What fits in your pocket and with one touch, puts the world at your fingertip? I bet you have it with you now … If you guessed smartphone, you are right! This little gadget is great for organizing those busy school weeks schedules. You can set reminders, makes lists and manage your calendar just with the touch of a button. I have found some great apps such as Any List that will help organize everything and best part it’s FREE, so take advantage of it.
What are your favorite organizational ideas for school on a budget? Please comment and share below. I hope you found some of these ideas to make the school year a little more organized and stress-free. Here’s to a happy, healthy, wealthy and organized school year!