10 Things To Do Quick Before School Starts.

Summer really flies by, doesn’t it!

Only a memory ago we were having fun on our first day at the beach and now we’re almost back at school. And as a teacher I sympathize with the parents and children who are leaving a Summer of fun for the boring reality of work and school. So here are ten things to get done quickly whilst there’s still time!

1: Go for a last picnic.

Make some sandwiches, some salads and some baked goods. Grab some fruit and veggies. Buy a few bags of sweeties. Throw it all into a hamper with a cloth, some plates and cutlery and some toys and get outside to make a day of it before the sun goes into hiding!

2: Get those assignments done!

Go through all your children’s papers and find every assignment, email teachers asking them to confirm and make sure everything is done.

3: Go swimming as a family.

Once the routine of school and work is back to normal, you may not be able to go swimming together for several months. Make a point of finding a place that’s outdoors and sunny if you can and all go for a swim. Maybe it’s a lake, the sea, a pool or the river. Just try and have a great time.

4: Plan some school outfits.

Especially if the children don’t wear uniform. If they do, then we need to get them a new one because they’re bound to have grown. But if they don’t there’s no reason not to go and find or make them some cute or practical new clothes for school.

5: Stock up on stationary.

Get everything. Seriously. Stop by your local dollar or pound store and buy the essentials, plus five or six cool items, like themed notebooks, glitter pens, swiss army pens, reward stickers, everything.

6: Spend all day at the zoo.

Try and spend all day at the zoo. Get some tickets, some change for lunch and drive down to the nearest zoo. Make a point of staying as long as anyone wants at each enclosure, seeing every show and animal and taking pictures of everything, even the upsets and bruises.

7: Do something you’ve never done before.

Never been to a fair or a circus? Why not go? Never went camping? Maybe just one day won’t hurt. Try and get a brand new experience in right before school.

8: Make a Summer album.

Take a good look at all the photos you have from the Summer and print out everyone’s favourites. Then, get a scrapbook and assemble them. My favourite idea is one or two pages for each place or activity, including the tickets and any stickers or postcards you bought whilst there.

9: Start a homework club.

If any of your little ones is really struggling with homework or isn’t sure about starting at a new school, send an email to the PTA asking whether you can start a homework club, or start a private one for your neighbourhood.

10: Spend the weekend away.

As long as you’re back with 12 hours to get tidied up and send the kids to bed, then why not spend a couple of days in a cabin or a hotel somewhere completely different? It won’t cost much for one night so close to school time and it ends the holidays on a high note.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What would you like to cram in before the holidays are over?

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How To… declutter paper.

We’ve already looked at speedy and efficient decluttering and how to declutter your wardrobe. Next we’re looking at one of our worst clutter areas: paper. Maybe you’re a student and going through last year’s work. Or you’ve accumulated a pile of bills and don’t know what to do with them. Or you’ve been away for a while and the mail pile has just piled up and up.

Well, as a private tutor I accumulate a lot of random paperwork and need to regularly go through it. Here is the fastest and most efficient way I have found of sorting paper.

1: Pile it all together.

If it’s a complete mess, just go round the house and empty all your piles of paper together. Most people have at least three, so here are the common piles of unsorted paper.

-Homework.

-Work sheets.

-Mail.

-Coupons and vouchers.

-Magazines and newspapers.

-Past bills, receipts, etc.

-Essential documents.

-Fun things, like motivational posters.

If your paper stores are generally organized, work through them one by one. But if you’re finding your post with your past bills and magazines and receipts in your briefcase, you may as well empty them into one pile to work through.

2: First sort. Bin or check.

The first time we go through our paper, we need to just ask if we want to bin or keep it. Plenty of things can be thrown away immediately. Anything that won’t be put in the bin or the recycling goes into another pile.

3: Second sort. Store, use.

The second time we go through our paper, we decide whether the paper needs something done, like a bill that needs paying or a magazine you want to clip things from, or just needs to be stored like payslips or important documents.

4: Third sort. Folders.

Take your store pile and assign a folder for every category of paper. Use the categories above, or even break them down, such as bills into water, gas, electric and tax, or homework by class. As you sort them, arrange them by date, with the oldest at the back. Make sure to add the newest at the very front of the folder each time.

5: Go through.

Once a year, go through your folders and get rid of anything you no longer need. Bills older than five years can easily be thrown away, though you may not keep bills older than one or two. Either way, it should be a simple matter of taking the papers nearest the back and recycling, shredding or burning them. If not, it’s time to sort again.

6: Keep out.

Make sure your folders are easily visible and usable, otherwise you start creating more paper piles. When you are sorting something, make sure you get whatever it is done and then put the paper away.

And that is how I declutter my papers. It does take a while, but it’s absolutely worth it and at least it gives you an excuse to procrastinate, watch TV, take a call and drink coffee for a couple of hours.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What does your paper drawer look like? Is it driving you crazy, like it used to drive me crazy? How do you keep on top of paper clutter?