Setting Up for Success… My Summer Organizing Spree

As I shared earlier this week in my review of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner, I have learned over the years that the more plan and organize in advance, the smoother our school year seems to go.  This week I took advantage of our break from school work to bring a bit more order to our home, knowing that once we get back into our regular routine I’ll be really glad I took the time to set myself up for an easier time.

There are so many areas where organization helps me maintain my sanity, but this week I just focused on two: the boys’ clothes and the playroom.

The boys’ clothes

With four boys, I have made it my policy to accept any hand-me-downs offered.  My older boys are so hard on clothes!  Jeans never make it past one kid, and shirts rarely make it past two.  Plus I’ve noticed my older boys have very different tastes, so while Ian may only want to wear long pants, I save the shorts in his size because that’s what Elijah prefers and will wear when he gets a little bigger. So we gladly receive whatever friends give us and I keep everything in tubs ready for the next boy who will need it.

This week I was sorting through several bags of hand-me-downs, getting them into the correct tubs.  I also had the boys go through their drawers and pull out anything that they don’t wear, either because it’s too small or just because they don’t like it. If I didn’t have enough room in a particular tub, I went through all the clothes for that size and picked out just the ones that had the most wear left and put the rest in a bag to give away.  It felt like a massive project, but it felt good to get it done, and now when any of the boys need new clothes, I know exactly what we have and they will be easy to find.

The playroom

We are blessed with a little outbuilding that currently serves as a play room for the older kids.  All the Lego bricks, K’nex, and other tiny little building toys stay in that room, out of my house and out of the baby’s reach.  As a general rule, I don’t make the kids keep it tidy.  I rarely go in, and since all they do there is play, it’s not that important to me to keep it picked up.  However, I do store my clothing tubs in that room, so in order to tackle the clothes project, I wanted to be able to walk safely there.

I offered to take everyone (including my two nieces, who are visiting) for frozen yogurt if they would sort all the little pieces into tubs (yes, I have an abundance of tubs in my life) and get the floor all picked up.  I should have taken a “before” picture, because it’s hard to appreciate how nice it is to walk in this room now.  It was completely covered with tiny plastic pieces, now all tucked away in their proper places.  I was able to get all my tubs put away, and I put together Ian’s Playmobil castle for them now that there’s room for it on the floor.


It’s a good start…

There’s still a lot more I’d like to get organized before we start back to school.  I need to go through Arianna’s clothes to get rid of the ones she’s outgrown as well.  I still have a couple boxes of books that haven’t found a home since we moved last summer.  My school plans for next year still need some work.  And I’d love to give the house a thorough scrubbing since it just gets little touch-ups once things get busy.  Still, I’m SO glad I was able to accomplish at least this much this week.  Every hour I put into getting things organized now will save me countless hours of stress as we move forward.

Do you use the summer to set yourself up for the next school year?  What helps you the most?