026 - Clean Out Those Backpacks!

With summer literally on our doorsteps, preparing your kids for the new school year is probably the last thing you want to think about – and I don’t blame you! You’ve got your vacation planned and you’re ready to start enjoying your summer break. BUT there’s just one little thing that you have to do first – clean out your child’s backpack! It doesn’t take long to clean out a backpack. In fact, I’m willing to guess that it shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes per bag and, once you do it, you’re pretty much done with school until the summer is over. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Cleaning Your Child’s Backpack On the last day of school, your kids usually come home with everything that was left in their locker and desk. Most of it will be things like broken crayons, partially used notebooks, old pens, and if you’re one of the unlucky ones, a moldy sandwich wedged in the bottom corner – eww! Don’t wait until August to clear out the backpacks because you never know what you’re going to find and you might not have the time (or energy) to tackle your kid’s backpack just a few days or weeks before school starts again. There’s so much you need to do to prepare them for the new school year that it makes sense to get as much done in advance as possible! Learn From MY Mistake About five years ago, my kids came home on the last day of school before the summer and I took their backpacks and hung them on a hanger in the back hallway. I took the whole “out of sight, out of mind” approach and I never gave them a second thought. That was all well and good until the day came when I had to fetch the backpacks and open them up at the beginning of August. You wouldn’t believe what I found lurking inside my kid’s backpack. It wasn’t a rotten banana or anything like that – it was much worse. Inside, locked away for the entire summer, was a GIGANTIC summer assignment that was impossible to complete before the start of the new school year. Almost immediately, panic set in. How could we get this assignment done on time? It simply wasn’t going to happen and there was no time to hire a tutor. So, the first thing I did was call the school. As it turned out, some of the assignment was just a suggestion, but a large part of it needed to be done. So, the remainder of our summer vacation in August was spent working on this mammoth assignment and, it’s safe to say, that it RUINED the end of summer for us! If you want my advice, don’t make the same mistake I did and clean out your children’s backpacks NOW to save yourself the time and hassle later in the summer. Assessing The Backpack When you’re searching through the backpack, you need to decide which items to keep, donate, recycle, or throw out. But you also need to assess the condition of the bag. Look at the backpack and ask yourself, will it survive another year? If not, you’ll need to remind yourself to buy a new backpack when you’re shopping for new school supplies. If it’s in excellent condition – great, you’ve just saved yourself some money! The “Back to School Vortex” I have a theory that I like to call the “Back to School Vortex.” It’s that time of year when you’re shopping for school supplies and, even though you might already have some notebooks and crayons, etc. left over from last year, you can’t help but get caught up in the whole excitement of it all. Before you know it, your shopping basket is filled to the top and you want everything the store has to sell from sparkly notebooks to fun stickers – you’ve got to have it all! This is the main reason why I always say it’s better to throw out the old broken crayons because, for just 25 cents, you can easily buy a new box. The same goes for a lot of what you’ll find at the bottom of your kid’s backpack. Some of it may be salvageable, but if it’s not, just throw it out. Recycling Notebooks When you’re cleaning out your children’s backpacks, you’re likely to come across several notebooks that are as good as new. There may be a few pages of notes at the front, but the rest can be re-used as a journal, scrapbook, or notepad for the following year. However, if you can’t keep all the notebooks and you can’t be sure whether or not you can use the same ones for the next school year, recycle them. Don’t keep a pile of old notebooks if you have no use for them because they just take up space that you can’t afford to spare! Creating A ‘Back to School Basket’ There are a lot of different elements and things that need to be planned before school starts in the fall, which is why I think it’s a good idea to create a Back to School Basket. In your Back to School Basket, take an index card and write down where you put the school backpacks so when August rolls around, you’ll know exactly where you left them. Next, take another index card and write down “Lisa’s FREE Back to School Blitz” which starts on July 15th. You should also include this note in your planner and calendar because you don’t want to miss out! I’m hosting several 20 to 30-minute Facebook Lives on the Organize 365 Facebook Group to help you get ready for back to school. Over on the Organize 365 Podcast, I’ll also be talking about the Kid’s School Binder that I make for my own kids every year, so you know how I do it and how you can follow suit. Make sure to tune into the podcast on July 13th to keep up with that one! Keep Up With The Podcasts! I hope you enjoyed this discussion and, if you do happen to find a summer assignment hiding in your child’s backpack, I highly suggest that you delegate the work to someone else! A babysitter or mother’s helper is a great option because they can look after your kids, help them with homework, AND give you the free time to get some of your own work done. If you like the sound of that, you’ll love the Organize 365 Podcast where I discuss the different summer routine days that you can apply to your summer schedule, including advice on hiring a babysitter to help keep you organized. You can listen to this fun podcast episode here. Next week on the Sunday Basket® Podcast, you’ll hear all about the National Convention, and I’ll let you in on some of the surprises that were announced at the convention. Be sure to tune in!

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