Monday, August 29, 2005

The Countdown to School Begins

I'm back home for the first time in 27 days so my daughter can attend her high school orientation. I feel positively jet lagged even though I've only traveled 2 1/2 hours. Things are moving so much faster here than I've grown accustomed to! I have to use a car to do anything. This summer I've only used my minivan once a week at most. It doesn't help that school starts in 10 days and we're going away for one last end of summer fling in 3. When we get back this time, I go back to work and school starts the next day. We've got a lot to do. Time for a plan of action!

The first thing I noticed upon entering my house is the amazing amount of clutter. I thought I'd gotten that in check a long time ago but living in much closer quarters for the summer and having it seem more spacious has proven this thought wrong. We need to go through each room and we need to determine what's useful and what's not. I suspect there will be much freecycling in our future.

On the clothing front, we need to pull out the boxes of fall/winter clothes and sort through the summer clothes. This I've gotten pretty good at but its where my daughters need the most help. There are parts of their closet that hold clothes they have never worn and never intend to wear. I'd like to help them get that under control.

School supplies for my middle school and high schooler remain a great mystery. I'll hold out for the first day of school and the specific list rather than guess, although looseleaf paper, pens, pencils and folders will already be in the house. For my sons I already have the lists. Today I will go through my stashes of school supplies and tomorrow I will get the missing items. Thankfully, all the back packs from last year held up well. Here's a tip that helped the back packs last, line the lower half of the packs with a heavy material (I used the legs of worn out jeans) to prevent the weight of the school books from wearing through at the bottom corners.

Lunch bags need to be decorated or at least labeled. We got a dozen of the canvas lunch bags from Oriental Trading last year and they worked out well. At the end of the week they go in with the laundry and the food funk is cleaned away. My kids all dislike the bulkiness of insulated bags and since this mimics a paper lunch bag it seems to be a good compromise. They never kept those insulated bags clean anyway. I can still put a freezer pack in the bags which gives us some flexibility. We're still short on sandwich containers but I'll be hitting the thrift store circuit one more time before school starts.

For lunch the kids have asked for peanut butter and jelly with pretzels on it and hummus. When I pressed them for more options they all announced that this was what they liked so, for now, this is what it will be. Snacks will include popcorn, pretzels, sesame sticks and fresh fruit(I'm hoping to squeeze in a fun frugal trip to the orchard for some apples this weekend.)

Now its time to refil my coffee and get started!

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