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Staying Organized When School Lets Out

As Published In Smead Organomics
Staying Organized When School Lets Out

Publicity -- Smead Organomics

School will be letting out soon for the summer and the kids will be home all day. That means rearranging your schedule to accommodate summer camps and trips to the pool and family vacations — it also means that your children will be having friends over and tearing your house up while you’re at work! How on earth will you stay organized once the wild rumpus begins? Like this!

Time For A Little Advance Planning

The only way to survive the warmer months when you have kids is to be multiple steps ahead of the game. Don’t wait until the last bell rings before you plot out your schedule for the summer. Sit down as a family and discuss all the activities that you want/need to fit in before classes start back — out-of-town trips, incoming visitors, work projects, and kids’ programs (library/YMCA/community center/whatever).

Be sure to put in your vacation request at work early — and don’t forget to factor in those long weekends involving a federal holiday (like the Fourth Of July or Labor Day). Then plot everything out on a calendar, scanning the horizon for time crunches and scheduling conflicts. Remember, compromise is the key to harmony in any family — so each person needs to be wiling to give a little to make the whole thing work.

Set Some Limits — Now

When they’re unencumbered by classes and books (and teachers’ dirty looks), kids are hit with a sudden rush of freedom — they want to do anything and everything (all at the same time) to make the most of their days off. But it may not be feasible for your child to take swim lessons, play in the summer baseball league, spend a month visiting relatives, AND participate in that cool science program at the university.

It’s up to you as the parent to keep this year’s agenda under control — but you can still let your kid make the final decision. Allow the selection of maybe two weekly activities and a single trip — pointing out overlaps or conflicts (and tossing in a few reminders that if it won’t fit in the schedule this time, it can always happen next year). You’ll be helping your child not only strengthen those ever-important “decision-making” and prioritizing muscles — powerful skills at any age!

Make Your Kids Responsible

I remember summer vacations, when I had the house to myself while my parents worked. If I had friends over, we might pull out the paint and clay and get creative — or decide to splatter an elaborate picnic lunch all over the kitchen — or rearrange the furniture to build a fort — or even set up an obstacle course using lawn chairs and step ladders in the yard. (It’s a wonder I didn’t break my neck before the age of 18!)

There was just one rule. I could make any kind of mess I wanted during the day — as long as it was gone by the time my mom got home. Just because your kids have a huge chunk of time off, that doesn’t mean that you do. Nor are you required to spend your precious hours at home cleaning up after them. Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying their company and making memories, instead of sweeping and putting their toys away? I’m all for children having adventures during their summer breaks — but there’s no reason they can’t also be made responsible for picking up after themselves, at the same time!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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