Organizing doesn't come naturally to everyone. Lisa Hess offers 5 strategies to help kids succeed this school year.
It’s that time of year again! As we prepare for a return to school, whether at home or in a school building, we often begin the journey by gearing up. It’s not hard to find gear – stores have had it front and center for a while now.
But what do we choose?
Kids who are Type A organizers have mastered every tool on the back-to-school list. When it comes to organizing, they bloom where they’re planted, and it doesn’t really matter what tool you give them. They were born to organize, and they’ll find a way.
Have a kiddo at your house who’s not a Type A organizer? Try getting him (or her) organized with STYLE.
Start with successes
What worked last year? The year before? More of the same, please.
Take small steps
If you’re thinking of trying new things, go ahead and buy when the prices are low, but consider testing out new tools slowly. Habits take time to develop.
Yes, it has a home
Which items were homeless last year? Make it your shopping mission to find them a place to call home in your child’s desk or backpack this year.
Let it go!
Binders and pocket folders are popular, but they don’t work for everyone. Try substituting accordion files for binders and file folders for pocket folders if you have the option. If not, try upgrading standard tools by adding clips, dividers with pockets, or inserting a file folder into a pocket folder, then sorting the contents each evening – with your child, of course.
This is the goal, but it can sometimes feel like you keep landing on the space that takes you down the giant chute in "Chutes and Ladders" before you get there. It takes time, along with trial and error to find tools that work, no matter the age of the person who’s doing the organizing.
One last note: organizing shouldn’t break the bank. Back-to-school sales – or sales of any kind, for that matter – are great because you can find tools that aren’t around all year long and the prices are often better, too. But, if you have an organizationally challenged kiddo at your house, check out dollar stores and clearance bins at the office supply store year-round. Or, if there’s a store you frequent, keep an eye on that expensive item that may or may not work and wait for it to drop in price. It’s a gamble, but if there’s a huge stack and school starts in a week, you might find it cheaper next week.
If you find something really cool – or experience a success at your house, please share it in the comments! I’d love to hear about it and you might just help another struggling organizer, too.
For more on this topic, check out my video, Finding Inexpensive Tools to Fit Your Child's Style.
Copyright 2021 Lisa Hess
Images: Canva Pro; Pixabay (2019)
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.