4 Homemakers, 4 Questions, 4 Answers: The Homemakers Guide to getting our lives organized after our kids head Back to School
We’re excited to share our first Collaborative Article with you! There are four Homemakers who write regularly for Just Homemaking, and we thought it would be fun to talk about our to-do lists and how we get our home lives organized after our kids go back to school. Maybe you can borrow some inspiration or share something you hope to accomplish in the coming month that’s not on our list!
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1. What is the #1 thing you want to tackle when your kids start school?
Jenna: Homegirl needs to work on her health and fitness! I never have more motivation than I do at the beginning of the school year! Handsome Hubby and I have set a date to start our Whole30, so I need to plan and prep some meals that will set us up for success. I’ve downloaded the C25K app to work my way back up to being able to run. Not going to lie— I’m not super stoked about doing this in the Georgia heat, and cardio is already hardio, but if my seventh grader can run miles for Cross Country, then I can put in some effort too. I’m not a huge gym fan, but a friend who’s a personal trainer wrote me a plan for exercises at home. My neighborhood has some really nice trails that I can walk or bike, too. And a pool! Can’t you see me with a swim cap on, doing my water aerobics?
Melissa: The first thing I want to get accomplished is replenishing my freezer with meals that are either cooked ahead of time or can simply be dumped in the roaster or crockpot and cooked throughout the day. I love to hit the grocery store first thing after kids get out the door and buy marked down meat that needs to be used or frozen in the next couple days. I then plan my meals around what we get on sale. I explain more about this in my post Planning a Menu on a Budget. Usually, I make 2 or 3 of the same meal and spread them out over a few weeks so we still get a variety. After getting stocked up I feel like I can tackle other things on my list (like finishing painting my kitchen cabinets I started in the spring).
Suzanne: I desperately need to clear the clutter. There are certain areas of our house that gather piles of random paperwork, clothes, or toys that I need to sort through and put where they belong. We have a tough time keeping up with it through summer when the kids are playing. I keep large Memory Tubs in our garage for each of our four kids. It’s not always convenient to take items out to the boxes as soon as we’re done using them, so now I have stacks of each of their things (birthday cards, some items from their last school year). Here’s where I’m starting with my decluttering: My desk area, my closet, kids games/laundry closet, kids’ coat closet.
Nicole: For me, I know that organizing my closet is on the list. I will probably just go through it and donate as much as I can and throw out the rest. Maybe my friends on here can help me with ideas for good closet organization and storage. I have several cupboards and closets in my house that are not being utilized well. Suggestions are welcome.
2. How do you get your spiritual life back on track? Daily disciplines, studies/books planned, small groups?
Jenna: I always have worship music playing when I’m in the house cleaning. I need to do better at spending time in God’s Word. I like to do devotions through the YouVersion app, but am not always good about rolling right into the next one. Our small group will be starting soon, so I’m sure that’ll help! I’ve been contemplating a screen detox for the whole family – I think that would help all of us focus more on what’s important!
Melissa: I am very excited to get back in the groove of getting up before the kids and getting my time with God before their feet even hit the floor. It makes a huge difference in my day and the rest of the family when I get that time in before the hustle and bustle starts. My reading varies. Usually between Jesus Calling, planned reading we are doing as a church, parenting books, or marriage books. I Just started “You and Me Forever” by Francis and Lisa Chan. I’m super excited to dig into that. Sometimes my quiet time is reviewing values my husband and I have in raising our boys. We have them written out and talk about them often. It doesn’t look the same every day and that works well for me. I am excited to start our small group back up this fall and get reconnected with great friends. Life is so much better done together.
Suzanne: During the summer my Bible time is in the morning before everyone gets up and active. During the school year I really enjoy having it in the afternoon. I’ll have three in school this year and one home (still naps!) so I’m hoping to get extra reading/praying time in when my brain can think clearly. I really want to start a prayer journal, some ideas of which I’ve pinned on our Just Homemaking Pinterest Page, and am looking forward to watching God work more closely. We usually are part of a couple’s small group ~ but this semester I’m planning to join Nicole’s Facebook Live women’s study group. They meet at 9 o’clock p.m. on Thursday nights. Very excited to be a part of that! And any woman can join!
Nicole: I’m more of a relational girl and would rather hang out with someone than do anything in my house. I really desire to restore the connections that I’ve missed during the summer: starting with soul care, and then reconnecting with the hubs, followed by refreshing my friendships. It’s hard to do soul care solo. It is so important to find a group to go through life with. I need accountability to stay on track spiritually. When I try to do it alone I give up easily, but being in a safe group makes me want to stay on track. If you don’t have a group, start one. Grab a friend or two and ask them if they want to go through a book or a study with you. If that isn’t your style, then I would like to invite you to be a part of my Facebook bible study that has provided friendship, prayer support, and truth when I desperately needed it. We’d love to have you join us HERE.
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3. How do you deal with paperwork from school? What system do you have in place to keep things orderly?
Jenna: I love my boys’ school – they typically only send paperwork home one day a week! We have their baskets on the Command Center where we put things that need to be signed and returned to school. I really need to go through their files at home where we keep things.
Melissa: Over the years we have developed a system that works well with our school papers. First, we have an organizer with separate files for each boy that contain their spectacular work. Those items go straight into their file and they empty their file into a bigger file at the end of each semester with each grade labeled. We also have clipboards hanging at our command center. Those papers with important dates and times go directly on a clipboard until that event passes.
Suzanne: I just got my new Command Center up and running. Thanks to Jenna’s post HERE where I found tons of great ideas. I now have a large calendar, a folder organizer for important weekly school papers, a file folder system in the cabinet underneath to organize paperwork we want to keep all year for each of our three kids in school, and the school lunch menu on the wall.
Nicole: My kids’ important papers get clipped on the side of the fridge until we need them. I have been inspired by my Just Homemaking sisters, and one of my goals is to start more of an organized command center. Although, one of my tips for staying on top of things is: don’t let it stay outside of the backpack if it can go right back in. Anything that needs to be signed – do it right away.
4. What is your favorite type of home project? One that brings you joy! Why do you love it and how do you make time for it?
Jenna: Organization! So many things get stashed somewhere random when everybody’s home for the summer. I’m a firm believer in “a place for everything, and everything in its place”. I feel chaotic when things aren’t organized for a long period of time. My plan of attack is to go room by room and purge the unnecessaries, and organize what’s left. I love to use over the door pocket organizers all throughout my house… in the pantry, in bedrooms, closets, etc.
Melissa: My favorite home project is decluttering and organizing. I love to get rid of all the things. I love for things to have a place and a label so people can find them on their own. The best way for me to organize is by doing small sections at a time and by using bins and baskets from Dollar Tree and also repurposing boxes or jars we have emptied out. I love it because there are so many less questions of “Mom, where is……”
Suzanne: I love painting a room a fresh-new color! It’s a simple project that can transform a room. It also forces me to clean in areas I can’t easily get to. Now that my kids are all over 3 years, I can actually get rooms painted – then it feels so fresh and clean! I plan to paint my bedroom this fall. It’s one of the rooms I haven’t changed since we bought our house 3 years ago.
Nicole: My favorite type of home project is something that adds fun to my home. I love pops of color, glitter, and all things holiday. I love searching Pinterest for something new for the upcoming holiday and creating a version for my house (Did you know Just Homemaking has a Pinterest Page?). As we head into the fall and upcoming holiday seasons, are there any projects, plans, decorations that you would like to see us post here? We are so excited to share but would love your input too!
We hope you enjoyed our Collaboration and found some new ideas for the upcoming months! As always, please leave us a comment at the bottom to let us know what ideas you have. We love to hear from you!