Top 5: Ways to Manage the Back-to-School Crazy

August 26, 2022

Note from the editor: Schedules, end-of-summer pack-it-in trips, back-to-school shopping, house-managing, music lessons, lunch-packing, sports practices, arrive abruptly. A couple of In All things editorial board members share a few thoughts to help in the management, both practical tips and reflections.

From Sarah Moss:

  1. 1. Think about your future self—When assessing what I should do with my time, I try to pause and consider what my future self might need. Will it help future me if I put the dishes away at lunch? If I take five minutes to run downstairs and move the laundry from the washer to the dryer? I can’t always accomplish everything, but if I can take five minutes to help my future self out, it’s probably worth it.
  2. 2. Under-promise, overdeliver—In the past, I’ve tended to overcommit and prioritize what I think others want from me. Since having a baby, I’ve tried to be more realistic about my time and what I’m able to accomplish within a week, which sometimes means being careful about what I promise I’ll be able to deliver on.
  3. 3. Don’t go for perfection—As a working mom, I’ve learned that I probably won’t have time to do things perfectly. So I’ve tried to cut myself slack, especially during the busier seasons of life like the school year. 

From Kayt Frisch:

  1. 1. My kids’ clothes inventory list—a few years ago, frustrated with having purchased way too many of a particular clothing item in future sizes at different sales (3T jeggings, anyone?) I found a list of how many of each type of clothes kids need, and as each season changes, I inventory their clothes compared to the list. I’m happy to say that several years in, the strategy is working, though I’m looking forward to them getting old enough to inventory their own clothes. 
  2. 2. Shopping strategicallyrealizing that my time (and lack of frustration) are valuable, I’ve mostly stopped trying to buy clothes second-hand throughout the year. I have a couple of online stores where I buy the majority of my kids clothes, so after the inventory I make big orders. 
  3. 3. My budget system/app, You Need A Budget (YNAB)—To make sure we have money for those large clothes purchases and all the school supplies, I budget money throughout the year which means the big orders I need as the seasons change are fully funded…it’s like using “buy now, pay later” except that you’ve already paid for it! The best part is you can use this one for Christmas too!
  4. 4. Doing a minimization/donation sweep through the house—A “one-in/one-out” rule hasn’t worked for us, so we use the season transitions as a trigger to go through the household goods and everyone’s clothes and then make a donation run.
  5. 5. Taking a gradual steps back towards a school-year routine—The summer routine creep (or explosion) can make getting back in a school-year rhythm daunting (I’ve been trying to remind myself that it doesn’t have to happen all at once). Right now we’re working on moving the evening bedtime back to school-year time & re-establishing our routines. This might also be a good time to think about what worked well in last year’s routine and what you might want to change.

This summer In All Things is light-heartedly including recommendations, tips, and joys that we would love to share with you, readers, in the format of Top Five Fridays, switching up our themes each week. 

About the Authors
  • Kayt Frisch is a wife and mother who serves an Associate Professor of Engineering at George Fox University. When not teaching in the classroom she can be found building relationships over good food, good coffee and board games, or hiking with her family.

  • Sarah Moss serves as Director of Public Relations and Voice Magazine Editor at Dordt University.

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