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It's the Most Wonderful Time
of the Year!
August 2011

My favorite commercial of the summer was always the Staples commercial featuring a deliriously happy dad gliding through the store on a cart, flinging school supplies at his two decidedly glum children while the music plays, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" The reaction in my household was much the same as parent and child in the ad - glee vs. gloom. Even as a teacher, I relished the quickening pace and freshness of the fall at the same time as I mourned the loss of those lazy summer days. I talk to many moms who both look forward to and dread the approach of fall. While the routine of school days is the antidote to one too many of those, "Mom, I'm boooored!" late August days, the thought of winding up the homework, sports practices, music lessons and carpool drill again is exhausting. I found that establishing some organizational routines at home really helped my family and me get through those hectic school days and maintained some peace and order in all of our lives. Here are some of my favorites - I hope they help you as they helped me!

  • Family Calendar: Forget the pretty pictures and cute stickers - just get a calendar with the biggest spaces and the most writing room, post it in a place where everyone can see it, and use it religiously. Some favorites: The Monster Grid CalendarThe Mega-Grid Calendar. When your child brings home his or her school calendar, team schedule, school event notice, or anything with an important date, mark it on the calendar immediately. Some families find it helpful to use a different colored marker for each member of the family to make it easy to identify at a glance which activity belongs to whom. A magnetic pencil cup attached to the fridge can keep the markers handy. Stow those schedules and notices in your Family Command Center (see my workshop below to learn how to make your own), and you will always have the information you need at your fingertips. Sit down as a family once a week for a few minutes (Sunday night dinner time worked well in my house) and figure out who needs to be where, when they need to be there, how they're going to get there, and what they're going to need for the occasion!  
  • Parent In-Basket: Have a basket or tray available in an open, accessible spot (ideally in your landing/launching pad area - see below) where your child can put papers that need your attention each day. Take a few minutes every evening to check the "backpack express" - if your child is younger, you will need to check through with them. As they get older, they should take responsibility for making sure permission slips, school notices, tests that need to be signed, etc., make it into your basket for you to take action on. Deal with paperwork immediately as it comes in each day. For younger children, you should make sure papers that need to return to school get into the appropriate place in their backpack. For older children, they too can have a basket into which finished paperwork can go so they can get it back to school the next day.
  • Landing/Launching Pad: Every family needs a place where they can easily dump their stuff when they come into the home, and the same place to assemble stuff that needs to leave the home the next day. Hence, the Landing/Launching Pad! Choose someplace close to the door that your family uses most often to leave and enter your home. If it's too far away or difficult to get to, things will pile up willy-nilly near the door anyway and it will be a disorganized mess that will trip you up and drive you crazy. Keep it simple. What you may gain in interior design perfection with making your landing pad an out-of-the-way closet will be lost to clutter anyway, as kids (and many adults) will just dump their stuff in the most convenient place, whether it looks good or not! There are many companies that make beautiful locker-type cabinets with shelves and drawers, but a double row of hooks, one set lower for little ones' coats and backpacks and a set of cubbies with baskets or fabric drawers, labeled with each family member's name, will also suffice. Baskets or trays for shoes corral the pile and make them easier to find in the morning. This is also a great place to set up a charging station for all those electronics that need to make it into your purse or briefcase every day. Simply attaching a power strip to the top of your cubbies or wall and putting a basket there will make the job easier.
  • Prep before bed: Taking a few minutes every night before bed to get everything ready for the next day helps reduce morning stress and forgotten items. Backpacks packed up with homework, sports bags, instruments and music, purse, briefcase, keys, phone - whatever your family needs when they leave the house in the morning should be ready to go in your launching pad area before everyone retires for the night. Pack lunches and lay out clothes the night before. Your mornings will run more smoothly, and you'll be making fewer trips back to school with that left-behind saxophone or those soccer cleats! 

For some more organizing tips and techniques designed specifically for parents and school-aged kids, check out my "Get Organized for School" workshop below on Sept. 28th. You will find ways to help your child set up organizing systems that will help them succeed in school (and make your home life more peaceful!)


Enjoy these last few days of summer, but take some time to prepare for the fall rush and back-to-school time will indeed be the most wonderful time of the year!


Find us on Facebook For weekly motivation, inspiration, events and product recommendations, check  out my Facebook page for The Organized Way.  Become a fan by clicking the "like" button, and be eligible for special offers. Share your own organizing successes and challenges. I love hearing from you!

yarn & knitting

Calling All Knitters:

Keep folks warm this winter and help a Girl Scout achieve her Gold Star award! Girl Scout Megan Maher of Chappaqua, NY, is hoping to provide 50 blankets to senior centers and children's hospitals by collecting knitted squares from knitters all over the country and assembling them into blankets. She is also running knitting classes and workshops to help achieve her goal. If you like to knit and would like to contribute some squares, or just have excess yarn to donate to a good cause, check out her website at Knit for Neighbors. A great opportunity to clear out some of that crafting clutter, make space for your next project, and do a good deed in the process!


Lisa S. Griffith
Lisa S. Griffith

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back to school

10% off  

all packages


Purchase a package of organizing hours during the month of September and receive a  

10% discount. 

Then use your hours any time -  

no expiration date! 



Fall Into Function

Women's Networking Fair 

Lisa offers coaching on organizing various areas of your home life for women business owners at this W.E.B.O.N.D. (Women's Empowerment and Business Owner's Networking Development) event, (affiliated with The East Bay Chamber of Commerce).

Tuesday, Sept. 27th

5:30 - 8:00 pm

The Lobster Pot

Bristol, RI

For more information, go to: East Bay Chamber of Commerce  



Get Organized for School 


In today's high-pressure academic environment, it is essential that students learn organizing strategies for both school and home. Come to this workshop, and Lisa, a former teacher, will teach you how to help your child organize his or her backpack and school papers. Discover how to set up a "homework center" which can function in any area of your home and make homework time more productive by keeping what your child needs at his or her fingertips. Find out how to set up a system to deal with incoming and outgoing paperwork from school and all of those activities that keep your kid (and you) on the go. End those last-minute morning scrambles to gather all the stuff they need for the day and those frantic trips back to school to deliver forgotten items. This workshop is geared towards parents of children in fourth through twelfth grades, but parent and child may also attend together! 

Wednesday, Sept. 28th

6:30 - 8:00 pm

Barrington Middle School

Barrington, RI

For information and to register, go to: Barrington Community School 



The Family Command Center:

Get those papers under control! 


In this workshop, participants will learn strategies for managing the day-to-day influx of paperwork related to your family that often threatens to take over our home spaces and lives. You will learn how to establish a family command center that organizes the various papers that come into your home. You will be able to reclaim your kitchen countertop, dining room table, or any place that catches the overflow. Never miss another deadline for a bill payment, a field trip permission slip, or a party RSVP. Put your hand immediately on that team game schedule, school calendar, or church directory. Get it all under control and keep it under control for you and your family. 

Thursday, Oct. 13th

7:00 - 8:30 pm

Barrington Middle School

Barrington, RI 

For information and to register, go to: Barrington Community School  



An Organized Holiday:

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season


As the holidays approach, are you filled with the joy of the season, or with dread at the thought of your endless to-do list? When the big event finally rolls around, are you too exhausted to enjoy it? Come to this workshop and learn some holiday organizing tips and strategies that will decrease your anxiety and increase your productivity. We will set up a plan to organize your holiday to-do list, systemize your gift purchasing and giving, and help you create a memorable, stress-free holiday season.

Wednesday, Nov. 16th

7:00 - 8:30 pm

Barrington Middle School

Barrington, RI 

For information and to register, go to: Barrington Community School  




In order, in joy, 



Lisa S. Griffith
The Organized Way