August 27, 2014 5:56 pm

Tips to help get you organized for the first day of school

WATCH ABOVE: The countdown is on. Global News sought the advice from an organization expert to help you get ready for that first day. Carey Marsden reports.

With school less than one week away, now is the time to get organized.

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“I think one of the biggest challenges I hear from parents, and I have as a parent, is getting everyone prepared and out the door on time,” said Jill Pollack, organizational expert and host of HGTV Canada’s Consumed.

Pollack offered some tips to help get you better prepared for the first day.

Have a Clothing System

To avoid last minute drama, Pollack advised to plan the week on Sunday night.

“A great tip to get ready in the morning and to avoid confusion and last minute chaos is to label the clothes and the outfits for everyday of the week,” she said.

There are hanging clothes racks that allow you to plan clothes five days a week. But Pollack said it can be as simple as using painters tape. Just label the days of the week on the tape and stick it on the hanger. Pollack said it can help to plan ahead when there are field trips, recitals or gym classes too. Another great system is to have shoes and socks ready. Pollack said to keep shoes altogether in a bucket with socks in a plastic bag nearby. How many times have you searched high and low for that matching sock?

Morning Checklist

This was a tried and true technique for Pollack with her own six-year-old.

“I just wrote down everything that needed to be done in the morning in a chronological order,” she said.

Pollack said to write down everything your child has to do in the morning, such as get dressed, wash face, brush teeth, make bed and eat breakfast. Your child is responsible for going through the list and checking off each one on the “to-do” list.

Mom of three, Alison Dowler said the clipboard and checklist gets an A+ from her.

“It makes them take responsibility for their actions and we’re out the door,” she said

Homework Station

At her home, Dowler has a small kit with pencils, pencil crayons, pens and erasers. Everything her children in grades one and two will need. She said it is something she learned after her son finished grade one.

“What can we do to make sure that he gets started and isn’t spending a half-hour looking for a pencil or a sharpener or anything he needs to do his homework,” she said.

Pollack says saving time is the key for a homework station. She said it is also age dependent.

“A homework station for older kids, they may need a calculator, they may need rulers, they may need a computer. What they definitely need is a place that they can work and be undistracted,” said Pollack.

WATCH: Children may show signs of stress in many ways but there are different techniques to dealing with back to school. Jennifer Palisoc reports.

Lunch and Snack Centre

Perhaps the biggest stressor for parents is what to plan for lunches.

“Probably just coming up with some variety of options for them so that they’re not having the same things day in and day out,” said Dowler.

There are tons of guides online to help you search for lunch ideas. Litterless lunches are getting a lot of talk now, too. Just like the clothes, Pollack said you can plan your meals a week in advance. She suggested that you put snacks in a bin, out of the original packaging. She said that can help your children be independent too.

“Another great thing is to have them help pack their lunch box. Maybe you make the sandwiches and they can grab their snacks,” she said.

Backpack Station

Make a row of hooks for each child to place backpacks and coats. Place white erase boards or chalk boards over each one for last minute reminders.

“So you can put their name on it and that way you can put any last minute thoughts. Don’t forget the permission slip, or it’s double snack day, or whatever the day is and it’s the last thing you see,” said Pollack. “You’re not running late.”

Pollack says it’s a good idea to to do a test run to school before the first day. Especially if it’s a new route or school. She said to time the walk.

“It’s a good thing to start thinking about back to school, so everyone is a little more regimented and everyone is a little more prepared.” she said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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