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"BTS"A Blog About Back To School,Not The Boy Band!

As referenced in our first blog for the month of August, it is typically this month that we begin to slowly switch gears from those laid-back, loosely scheduled days of summer and start thinking more about schedules, the return to school and to regular routines. We also talked about ways to simplify that process and today we’d like to continue that theme – not just talking about routine and structure however, but also about what to REMOVE from your life while adding back to school items into your shopping cart! Given that the first week of August was also a time dedicated to “Simplify Your Life Week” but you may have been enjoying life pool or dockside, this seems like a good time to continue the conversation about living life simply. Scale We aren’t talking about scales that weigh you, for many of us, those are not our friends! Instead we are referring to scales as in “finding a balance,” much like the logo of thE Concierge encourages you to do. It also refers to thinking about the scope of change you are trying to make when simplifying your life and making sure it’s “to scale.” There’s a very good chance if you exclaim in frustration one day, “That’s it! I’m decluttering the whole house and if it is on the floor it’s garbage” (admit it, we’ve ALL done that) your project will be done within the hour because chaos and frustration will overwhelm. Instead, like true weight loss programs that show a difference on the scale that lasts - plan to take your time and tackle just one small project at a time. Declutter one room and start with the easiest one. If there is a room that doesn’t need much work, start there for an instant sense of gratification. It’ll be a mood booster! Declutter your junk drawer in the kitchen! We all have one and the satisfaction of seeing all those “bits and bobs” organized (or tossed) will inspire the next step in your kitchen reorganization project. Kitchen Speaking of kitchens, they are the hub of the home for most families. It is where breakfast, lunch and dinner take place, homework is done, midnight snacks are procured and pets get fed there too! A lot happens in the kitchen so if you are feeling brave, thE Concierge recommends starting here. Making the kitchen work for YOUR lifestyle is key to making the whole home function well. · Really take some time to think about what your priorities are as a family and HOW you use the kitchen. · From that point, work backwards to determine what really needs to be on the counter ALL the time (think coffeepot of course) and what can be put away because it’s only used once a month (perhaps your stand mixer?) · If it’s on top of the fridge you don’t need it! Start by clearing out the obvious spaces like the top of the fridge that simply collects things you aren’t sure what to do with. · Designate one space (just one!) to be the landing place for notes from school, the mail, anything that tends to get carried in from the kids and then make sure time in your schedule includes a once daily clean out of that area. Consider a “Touch Once” philosophy: When you read a note from school, respond then and there. When you open a bill, immediately file it in the bills to be paid in your office or your daytimer. Better yet – reduce the clutter (and paper) by organizing all of your bills and notifications online! “Touch Once” means you have allocated time in your schedule to the task rather than just shuffling paper around and around and around! · We could write an entire blog on reorganizing your kitchen and perhaps one day we will, but for today – our final hint is another school related one. Make things accessible for every age range in your home and get the kids involved. Snack baskets can’t be mentioned enough which is why we keep mentioning them! · In a cupboard, at a kid-friendly height (and same thing in your fridge) make lunch and snack items easily available and within reach. While you fill a thermos or make the sandwiches, let the kids get their own snacks and help pack their own lunches. · Consider an easy colour coded system like the traffic lights that guide us to school each day: o Red Basket – Stop and think about these items. They should be considered a treat and only one item a day from this basket so encourage the kids to choose wisely whether they want it at school or as their after school snack. It could be cookies, snack sized bags of fishy crackers or other similar items. o Yellow Basket – Caution! These items are ok in moderation. Granola bars, apple sauce (preferably no-sugar added) rice cakes and crackers etc. o Green Basket – this one is probably in the fridge because these are items are always “good to GO!” Think yogurt, fruit, cut vegetables, cheese, pre-cubed so little ones aren’t using a knife and any other items that are nutritious and delicious. If kids are choosing for themselves and know that this basket is “always open” it makes for less hassles and easier decision-making every morning and isn’t that what we all want in the mornings? More Handy Tips to Beat the BTS frenzy! Once again, we’re still talking Back to School and not the boy bad because let’s face it, there will always be a frenzy when it comes to BTS! Some of these tips you may have heard before but they are worth the reminder for good reason – they work! Start the school year off on the right foot by having a family meeting and getting everyone involved and onboard with the new routines. Kids do what we do – set an example! Consider:

  • Choosing your clothes for school and work the night before. Less decision making needed in the morning, especially if you’re in a rush and/or tired.

  • Make sure the backpack and work bags (with the exception of lunch) are packed and ready to go.

  • Lunch is a personal decision for many families. Some prefer to make ahead the night before and others like it made fresh in the morning. The key is simply building time that accommodates either option into your schedule. If you like fresh, chances are you need to wake up 15 minutes earlier so that can happen.

  • Choose to say “No” once in a while. Choose calm over chaos. Routines, implemented with everyone’s agreement and after discussion have a greater chance of success

Simplifying your life to help with the back to school process will help not only now but for the entire school year too. If you need a little extra help along the way, consider thE Concierge – experts at helping you find balance!

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