You might remember that at the start of the school year I set up a school bag command centre. You can read how and what I used to set it up here.
We are now half way through the school year and I can’t believe I hadn’t set this up sooner!
Our school bag command centre has been the solution to many of our school clutter and routine problems.
Benefits of having a school bag command centre
1. No more school bags left in the hallway.
I like to pack our bags the night before and previously we would line them up in the hall the night before. While it was a neat line, they seemed out of place and annoyed me a little. My boys would also unpack their bags in the hallway after school and then leave bits of paper and other school items lying around.
2. No more looking for school items
Anything to do with school (apart from their uniforms – they are still in their wardrobe) is now stored in the school bag command centre. School bags, hats, library bags, shoes, socks etc are all there ready to go. Any school items found in the house go straight to the school bag command centre, it makes answering “Mum have you seen my ______” so easy.
3. No more school paper clutter
Any notes from school get stuck to the front of their lockers with a magnet. I sign them if needed and leave it there for them to take back to school. The boys are also getting into the habit of giving their bags a quick clean out and emptying straight into the bin.
4. Teaching responsibility.
I’ve always encouraged my boys to pack their own school bags, but there is something about the school bag command centre that has stepped it up a notch. Yes, they’ve forgotten things and the Mum guilt kicked in, but when I saw my prep boy make himself a reminder note and put it on the front of the door of his locker that guilt went right out the window.
I believe that one of the secrets to being organised is having systems that work. If they’re not working, be flexible and willing to change things up. As the term progressed and we used our school bag command centre we adjusted and added to suit our needs.
These are the updates we’ve made…
1. A mat
Because their shoes and socks are in the lockers, I wanted to add a rug or mat underneath, so they weren’t sitting on the garage floor putting them on. My ever frugal husband remembered that spare piece of carpet we had left over and saved us a few $$. It’s not as pretty as a new mat but it’s doing the job.
Last term I had the boys schedules printed and stuck to the whiteboard on the wall. This was great for me to refer to but a bit high and out of reach for the boys to use. I grabbed these whiteboards at Kmart and have secured them to the inside of their locker doors. I’ll be getting the boys to write or draw reminders on them for what they have on each day. I’ve found when they are involved and feel like they ‘own it’ they are more likely to use it and for it to work. Plus it’s never too early to teach them good organising skills.
3. Adding a shelf
Originally we left the top shelf out of the lockers, so it was easier to take the bags in and out. We’re going to try using the locker with the top shelf now for things like Homework folders and library books.
4. Storing school shoes and socks
I don’t know what it is about my boys and shoes but they never seem to find their way into the wardrobe! Keeping the boy’s school shoes in the command centre has meant that they don’t bring them into the house. They take them off as soon as we get home and put them straight onto the bottom shelf of their locker. Fingers crossed, but no smells so far, but just to be safe I’ve hung a car air freshener to keep it smelling fresh.
5. The sock baskets
Just as the shoes never made their way to the wardrobe, the socks never did either. On top of the locker, I’ve added two baskets, one for clean and one for dirty socks. Remember how I mentioned that added responsibility? Well, we’ve only run out of clean socks once, the boys have been onto making sure the dirty basket gets taken to the laundry on time.
We are all set for another organised school term.
It’s important to remember when organising a space that there isn’t one solution that will work for everyone. If it’s not working try and identify where the problem is and make a few changes. You need to decide what will work for your family and your home.