Don’t panic, you will get there in the end.

{re-published from January 2012}

There are so many mummy bloggers out there today and the main topic being talked about all over the place (at the moment in AUS) is “getting back to school” and organisation tips.

So many have great ideas, others with quaint and pretty areas in their homes eg front door school bag nooks, homework stations, shoe racks etc.

Being organised and ready for the new school year is important and essential; over the last week I have read several blog posts on the subject of school organisation and many describing it to being a breeze and carefree.

So now, I want to share how this family with 7 kids gets organised for the up and coming school year.

My to do list (and how each item panned out):

Dry clean School Blazers x 5:

Once every year I send the kids woollen blazers off to the dry cleaners. Normally I try to do this a week or two after school ends, however this time round, the blazers spent 2 weeks on the lounge area near my front door (one child was asked several times to PLEASE put them in the car) then they managed to be hung back up on the doorway hooks again.  By week 4 of the holidays, they made their way to the car and stayed there for another week as I had so many other errands (see next points), that the blazers got overlooked or tossed around the vehicle.  I am now happy to report that I managed to take them to the dry cleaners last week and ONLY picked them up yesterday afternoon.  These then spent another day and night resting in the plastic bags on the lounge.

Purchase 6 x pairs of school shoes:

I would like to see a show of hands of how many mums out there have had to purchase or go through the house and find 6 pairs of school shoes.  This task is not fun and games but utter CHAOS.

First of all; shoes go missing, the sizes are rubbed off inside the soles and some just don’t fit any more or are not even good enough for the dog to chew on (though dogs only go for new shoes don’t they).

This year I made each child bring their school shoes & joggers (from last year) to me.  We then placed them in size order up the hallway wall (can you count how many individual shoes there are).  The shoes that were tatty looking went to the garbo, the others that were still in a reasonably good condition got tried on or passed down the line.

Shoe shopping with 7 kids is not the ideal thing to do.  So I purchased a spare cheapo pair of shoes for the boys (from ALDI). Last years ones were a very good quality and lasted all year for my girls, so I went with these again; mind you the looks I got in the ALDI line were not pretty – almost jaw dropping reactions from the amount of shoes, not to mention stationery in my trolley (oh I left that point of the list didn’t I – I am not going there).

My eldest 13yr old daughter is wearing ladies size 9, so she got the good quality LINX shoes.  Take a look at this shoe rack.

The spare shoes I have put into assessable storage.

Lay out ALL items of school clothing, sort, and name:

Now this task was fun (OK I am lying).  Four school dresses (5 if you count one that didn’t fit any more – this was put into storage).  4 grey boys shorts, 6 pairs of grey socks, countless numbers of white paired socks (for the girls).  6 or 8 woollen jumpers (two are tatty and with holes. These being spares for the boys, mainly because one never comes home more than twice a week or ends up in lost property).  2 boys ties, 8 white collared shirts (short sleeved – I wont mention the other 8 long sleeved for the winter uniform). Oh and the blazers x 6 (we had to purchase another one this year).  I also have 4 girls brimmed hats; and 6 sun hats.

Each blazer has our family surname written on the inside flap (hidden under the white strip for online purposes). Each child a individual dot either side of the name. From left to right ~ pink, orange, white, yellow, blue and green.

Then there is the sports uniform 4 girls culottes, 2 boys shorts (all black), 12 pairs of sport socks (two each), their  yellow polo tops – this year I had to pass down the line and get the oldest girl a bigger size (this would have to be the only item of clothing that I can say is helpful as it is unisex – as well as the sports ‘sloppy joes’ ~jumpers.

Labelling these items is time consuming, normally I only need to do this once; however over time the paint wears off and needs a little touch up.  Follow link on next heading as to how I label clothes and socks.


Dot Sock:

Empty & shake out school bags:

I had to laugh at another blogger mums post about finding some nasty but ‘funky’ pieces of food in the bottom of bags. Fortunately this wasn’t the case around here.  The kids actually did take their lunch boxes to the kitchen on the last day of school.

As for cleaning out their bags, I only went through them fairly recently.  Some still had old papers, books and junk.  I just gave them a good shake and sent them back to their rooms.  Washing them is not something I have time for (unless there is a squashed banana or apple inside).  Kids bags are just chucked around at school anyway.  They end up walked on getting in and out of the car and dumped on the ground outside classrooms (if there are not school hooks for them); hence why I don’t bother giving them a clean.  My kids bags are also black and matching.

My children’s bags are now hanging nicely at the front door , along with their blazers and hats patiently awaiting the first day of school.

Either re-cycle or purchase new lunch boxes:

I only just went through the lunch boxes early this week and found that all but one had to be tossed out.  The inside lining was torn and ripped.  ALDI once again came through with $6 lunch boxes with drink bottles included.

This year I will have 6 lunches to make (oh help) so you can imagine the amount of bread we go through.  I always make school lunches the night before.

Here is how I store the kids lunch boxes  (those are last years) – if they are not retuned  here after school, it’s got to be in someone’s bag.

Sort drink bottle box:

This I managed to also sort out the same day I went through the lunch boxes.  You can see from the picture below HOW MANY I had. I did a big cull and threw out quite a few.

Homework Centre:

Homework is a nasty word in this house.  I hate it.  I don’t even want to think about it yet.  Picture this though; 6 kids all sprawled round a kitchen bench top, writing, asking for help, while the 3 yr old tugs on the is reciting their times tables, another reading aloud, one asking for food, another crying because he or she can’t do their maths or spelling words…… THIS IS my homework centre.

I am however planning on setting up a couple of tubs of colour pencils and items for this chaotic time ahead though.  (Along with a glass of wine & chocolate to go with it).

Hair ties & accessories:

This is one thing I have also organised in the past few years; however these containers contents seem to shrink and vanish EVERY term.  I am almost convinced that we not only have a sock monster in the house, but also a hair tie and clip one too.  Hair ties and clips can be found all over the house during the weekend and school holidays; but  NEVER during school terms when you need them, they are not to be found.  I just don’t understand this at all.

A box for each item.


In the kids bathroom drawers.


Chore & Routine Charts:

These thankfully I do have in order and up to date.  If  routines are in place from the very beginning, then the running of a busy household can be easier and a little less stressful throughout our daily lives.  On the other hand during school holidays, routines go out the window.

Though household chores never change, they do seem pointless during school holidays (those with lots of children will know what I mean).  If you want to see my  organisation CHARTS go here.

Today my second daughter cleaned our white board in readiness for school.  I don’t have charts or reminders at the entry of the house.  All go onto my large family organiser calendar and white board.   Once school begins and I have all their schedules, I create a colour coded print out listing their sports days, library and activities for the week.


Cooking treats for school lunches:

This was another idea I read else where.  I find this very funny especially for me with my 7.  I have hardly done any baking during these school holidays.  Mainly because, they are devoured within a couple of days hours (kids seem to want to eat all day during the holidays).  I don’t know about any of you, but I am quite enjoying my holidays and the no bake mode I am in.  So baking wont happen until the weekend before school is back.  But for those of you who want to be prepared, have your tried my muesli bars yet?

My advise to all those busy mothers with 4 or many more children; don’t worry about what everyone else is doing; as long as you get things done (in your time) before school is back, then there is no need to upset yourself.

If you find it hard to get out and shop for those items you need, don’t hesitate to call on a friend or family member to baby-sit or mind the little ones.

Make a list of what you need, write down shoes and clothes sizes, work out what items of clothing you need to upgrade  or pass down the line.

If all else fails and you are still in a panic, go back and read above and perhaps my little write will give you another giggle on the whole “Getting back to school” saga. And by all means I will let you do this, (but just this one time).


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