Back to School Mode: Tips to Make the Transition Easier

I love summer.  We travel.  I wear yoga pants and baseball caps.  I'm able to get totally absorbed in a novel, and it is ok if I stay up way, way to late!  In less than three weeks, my life of leisure is going to come to a screeching halt!

Here are some things that help me make the transition easier.

Plan Meals Ahead of Time

I use my Erin Condren planner to plan weekly meals, but I use the Reminders app on my phone to keep track of my families grocery list.  I know they have fancier apps out their, but this is super easy for me since I am always using the Reminders app for other "to-do" lists.  I feel like everything is in one place.  Plus, the best thing is that my GROCERY LIST reminder is  a shared  list, so my husband adds things as well.
This has helped save me so much time.  We've tried the dry erase on the fridge, but if I'm on my way home from school and want to stop at the grocery store, I have the list with me on my phone.  Plus, there were mornings he would add things after we left for school, not realizing that I was going to the grocery store right when I left work.  I would miss seeing items.  This way is much, much better.

Two other apps that my friends like to use are:
GroceryIQ (free)

MealBoard (paid)

Plan Outfits for the Month (or Week)

I know what you are thinking :)  What if the weather changes or I don't feel like wearing something when I wake up.  That's ok...since you have a month worth of outfits planned, you can easily wear a different one.  This way, all your accessories are planned, and it makes it so much easier in the morning! You can download the Fashion Plan here for free!  I planned a month at a time last year, and I felt so much more together.

You can check out my Pinterest Styles for School board here!  Last year, by planning out my outfits ahead of time, I was able to wear Pinterest Inspired outfits most days!  I'm also a huge budget shopper!!!!  My closet is full of clothes from Old Navy, Kohls, or Target.  I love accessories, like scarfs, statement necklaces, and fun earrings, to jazz up an outfit!

Get Everything Ready the Night Before

Our routine before bed looks something like this:
1)  Lunches are on the counter with all the non-cold stuff in them.
2)  Backpacks are packed by the back door and are all ready for school (and any other team/sport bag that will be needed for practice if we aren't coming home).
3)  Clothes are picked out.
4)  The shoes everyone is wearing are by the back door.
5)  I also have a checklist on the back door that my children check one last time before they go out the door.

The checklist on the back door is organized by day-of-the-week.  One reason I do this is that I cannot keep up with my children's schedule.   At their school, "specials" occur on various days and special materials are needed for those days.  For example, band occurs on Monday, Tuesday, Friday for 5th grade, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday for 7th grade).  On PE days they must have tennis shoes/sneakers. PE has a similar schedule to band, only on different days!   It takes me until November to remember their schedule!!!  So once I get their schedule, I make the checklist.

Have a Morning Routine

You probably all ready think I'm a little OCD.  Well it gets worse :) When my children get up, there is a routine they follow.  I also set a timer to help keep us on track.  If you could meet my son, you would see why I do this.  Every morning we leave the house happy and I haven't raised my voice or snapped at anyone :)  We've been doing this for 8 years now, and it works pretty well.  In the beginning, when they would go to bed, I would remind them of what I wanted the morning to look like.
1)  Get up
2)  Get dressed
3)  Do hair
4) Eat*
5) Brush teeth
6) Pack Lunch
7) Leave

I've done it multiple ways, but I have found that once my children are dressed, they move faster.  The potential problem is that they could spill breakfast on their clothes.

I set a timer, and at 7:15, everyone has to brush teeth.  I figure if worse comes to worse they can eat in the car, but they can't brush their teeth in the car.  Plus, my children don't like eating after they brush their teeth, so this order really helps keep them moving.

Before we walk out the door, we check the checklist.  Like I said earlier, you've never met my son.  He has actually gone to school without shoes on (he had on his socks), because I told him, "grab your backpack and hop in the car!"  Notice I never said, "put on your shoes!"  Even though you probably think I'm OCD, you probably should also think that I have lots of patience :)

Have an After School Routine

1) Our routine is always to do homework right when we get home.  As soon as they are done with homework, it goes in their backpack and then is put by the back door, so we know where it is.
2)  While my children are doing homework, I check folders and make sure everything I need to do for them is done at that time (permission slips signed, homework signed, etc.)
3)  Then it is free time!

Use Crockpot Liners

This is my final tip.  I don't love to cook (or even like it), so the crockpot is my friend.  Cleaning the crockpot used to be a miserable chore for me, until my friend introduced me to crockpot liners.   Crockpot liners make clean-up so much easier!!! You just throw away the liner, and your crockpot is clean!  I still wash it,  but there isn't any scrubbing or soaking needed!!!

One of my family's favorite recipes is chicken in the crockpot with salsa.  It cooks all day and you just shred the chicken before you serve it.  We put it on tortilla chips with shredded cheese and sour cream.

I hope some of these tips will help you make the transition easier!  Please feel free to add any tips you have implemented at your house in the comments!


  1. I love this post! I love the idea of sharing our knowledge and he we get through day to day. :)

    1. Thank you!!! I hope some of the tips helped :)

  2. Such great ideas! I always have to figure everything out the night before or it will be forgotten or left undone! Great reminders as I head back to school in less than a month! Yikes!

    My Shoe String Life

    1. That's exactly why I have to do things the night before, because I will forget them! In fact, I have to put the crockpot out on the counter the night before....otherwise we won't have dinner!!!

  3. Wow! Such fantastic ideas. I love how you have everything all planned out and ready to go! I too am a planner and think that these tips are perfect for helping ease back into school mode. Thanks for sharing!

    Lattes and Lunchrooms


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