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Back to School Hacks with Sally Obermeder
While it can be exciting looking forward to a new school year, it can also be a bit overwhelming when it comes to getting organised. So, we’ve collaborated with super-mum, Author and CEO & Co-Founder of SWIISH.com and co-host of The Daily Show Sally Obermeder on a roundup of the best ‘Back to School’ hacks to help you and your kids start the new year off on the right foot.
HOOKS & BASKETS
Set up a bag hook and basket station for each child near the front door. This needn't be expensive. Places like Kmart and Ikea have some great looking cheap options. Have the kids place their bag on the hook and their school shoes, hat and any other paraphernalia in the basket when they get home from school. That way you know where to find things like lunch boxes and school notes each evening and no-one is desperately running around the house trying to find shoes and bags in the morning.
Label shelves in the kids' wardrobes with the days of the week. Store the clothes and other gear needed for each day on the corresponding shelf. For example, swimming goggles, towel and bathers on the Wednesday shelf and basketball gear on the Saturday shelf. This makes it easy for you or the kids to pack for any special or after-school activities on a daily basis and gives everything a home so it can be easily found. If your wardrobes don't have appropriate in-built shelves, places like Kmart or Ikea sell great fabric hanging shelves, perfect for this purpose.
Label kids' shoes with half their name inside the left shoe and half the name inside the right. If their name is spelled out then they know which shoe goes on the left foot and which goes on the right foot. A good way to label shoes in this way is to take out the inner sole and iron on a label. You can also use stick-on labels, but you might find they lift over time, with wear.
MAKE-YOUR-OWN LUNCH STATIONS
Keep plastic tubs in the pantry and fridge labelled "Lunch". You may have one for "Fruit", one for "Dairy" (cheese and yoghurt), one for "Mains" (sandwiches, frittata or savoury muffins) and one for "Snacks" (like popcorn, carrot sticks and trail-mix). You can create any categories you like. The idea is the kids can take one item from each tub for their lunch box each morning. This means they're packing their lunch, so you don't have to!
LONE SOCKS NO MORE!
Place a cork board in your laundry and when a lone sock appears pin it to the cork board. That way when another lonely sock appears somewhere in the house (or car, or sports bag...!) you know exactly where to find its partner.
List things like "Brush teeth", "Sunscreen" and "Hair up" on the bathroom mirror in whiteboard marker. There can be no excuses for the kids not to be clean and prepped when the checklist is literally in front of their face!
TERRIFIC TEA BAGS
Freshen up smelly shoes with dry mint tea-bags - they soak up the odour and scent them! You can use any lovely smelling tea but mint is especially good for counteracting that stinky foot smell. In warm weather or for particularly active kids, popping fresh tea-bags in school and sports shoes each evening could help prevent odour by soaking up sweat before it really settles in.
TURN BACK TIME
Start practicing getting up early for school in early or mid-January so it's not such a shock to the system when school goes back. Gradually bring forward bed and wake times through the month.
TACKLE BOX TRICKKeep hair-ties, bobby pins, hair-clips and ribbons in a tackle box. It sounds strange, but tackle boxes have the most convenient, easily visible, small compartments. This prevents the hair stuff winding up all over the house and makes it easy for you or the kids to find what they need in the morning.
PREP AND PREVENT
When it comes to extending the life of your kids' school shoes, preventive care is key. Spray new shoes with a water and stain protector before the first wear to guard them against grime and watermarks.
Create a gorgeous looking homework space for each of your kids, with stationery they'll love. Have them shop for the stationery with you so they feel excited about their space. Not only does this help with the homework motivation but it gives everything a home, making everything easier to find in the morning.