Miami Springs resident Tatiana Knight does a lot more than host regular Jazzercise classes. She is also a professional organizer member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers). This issue kicks off her monthly Gazette column, “Neat with Knight” and this month focuses on getting ready for the “Back-to-School” crunch time.
As August rolls in, it becomes imminently clear that our summer fun is coming to a close and the rush of back-to-school time is upon us. It goes without saying that the first few weeks of the school year will come with their fair share of financial and emotional stress for parents.
In the midst of all of these stressors, I would like to offer some tips for handling this year’s back-to-school season as coolly and calmly as possible. My advice is to take some time before school starts to get organized.
Although popular opinion might dictate that “getting organized” consists of spending hundreds of dollars on products and gadgets from the Container Store, this is a false notion of what it means to be well organized. While shopping for holders and boxes is a lot of fun, that is actually the final task of the multi-step process of gaining awareness of what is really going on in your home.
I would submit that the real definition of good organization is knowing what you own and being able to locate it within minutes. The only way to make that happen is to dig right into the mess!
Peter Walsh, organizational guru and author of “It’s All Too Much,” believes that the quest for organization “is a deeply personal response to the feeling that the rest of the world is out of control.” To Walsh’s point, parents will have little or no control over back-to-school traffic, dress codes, class assignments, sports schedules, parents’ meetings, and so on. On the other hand, parents do oversee everything that goes on at home and I would be willing to bet that anyone who has taken the time to get organized can tell you that the immediate result was a distinct feeling of having reconquered their space.
A home that is fully organized and designed to function for the family will be a relaxing retreat where everyone can recharge their batteries and be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead each day. When your possessions are well organized, that amounts to less time you spend searching for things or buying items that you lost or damaged in a mountain of clutter. Therefore, the first step towards preparing for school time starts at home.
How to Begin the Organizing Process:
Start with your kids’ bedrooms. For children, tweens or teens, their rooms are the places where they sleep, relax, play, and do school work. As a family, the goal is to create a comfortable area that your child wants to spend time in and where there is ample space for each task that is supposed to take place within the room. As a parent, you also want to identify what will be useful in the upcoming school year and create a shopping list for the remaining essentials.
You may be tempted to head into your child’s room and try doing a complete overhaul on your own, but unless your child is under 4 years old or has a condition that would prevent them from making decisions, I would recommend that you include the child in the process. The older your child is, the more leeway you should give him/her for making choices about the way that their spaces will look and function.