School’s Out: How to Master the End of the Summer Term

The sun’s shining (on and off!), the days are brighter, and we’re inching closer to the end of the summer term. In fact, by the time this goes live, my kids will have walked out for the final time this year.

However, I am all too aware that this time of year can be a whirlwind of excitement with vacations, camps, and family activities. Amidst all this fun, the thought of getting everything ready for the next school year might feel a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry – I’ve got your back!

Let’s explore five essential tips to help you master the end of the summer term. From sorting and storing school uniforms to creating a dedicated study space, I’ve got everything you need to sail smoothly into the new school year.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

First things first, let’s tackle those school uniforms. They may not be needed for a while, but it’s important to sort and store them properly so they’re in tip top shape when school starts again.

Step 1: Wash and Mend:

  • Before packing away uniforms, make sure they’re clean and in good repair.
  • Check for stains, loose buttons, or small tears that need attention. If sewing isn’t your forte, see if you can outsource this job to someone else.

Step 2: Sort by Condition

  • Decide which items are still in good condition and which ones have seen better days.
  • Donate uniforms that no longer fit but are still wearable. Many schools have uniform recycling systems, and local food banks and baby banks are grateful for donations. Asda also runs a recycling scheme where you can drop off textiles and receive a 10% voucher.
  • For uniforms that are no longer usable, recycle them. Schools and charities often have clothing banks that recycle textiles and donate money back to the cause. You can also recycle clothing in any condition at H&M and receive a £5 voucher for every bag – a win-win!

Step 3: Use Proper Storage

  • Store uniforms in breathable garment bags or storage bins to keep them fresh and protected. Add a lavender sachet or cedar blocks to prevent moth damage.
  • If you’re keeping uniforms from older children for future use, store them by age and take note of what you have for the future. Keep this note somewhere you won’t forget – digitally is best for easy recall.

Step 1: Inventory Check

  • Take stock of the uniforms your children will need for the new school year. This includes shirts, trousers, skirts, blazers, gym kits , shoes and accessories like ties and belts.

Step 2: Fit Test

  • Have your children try on their uniforms to ensure they still fit comfortably.
  • Make a list of items that need to be replaced or altered.

Step 3: Smart Shopping Tips

  • Shop early to avoid the back-to-school rush.
  • Look for sales and consider buying a few extra pieces to account for growth spurts throughout the year. The annual M&S uniform 20% off sale starts on the 2nd of July, while Aldi is running a £5 bundle offer from the 4th July and Tesco will be running a 25% off school uniform offer from the 23rd July. That’s just around the corner, so consider loading your basket now and hitting go when the sale starts. You can also try shirts in all sizes in-store at M&S before selecting the correct pack.

By taking the time to sort and store school uniforms properly, you’ll ensure everything is in order when the new school year begins, saving you time, reducing stress, and keeping your children’s uniforms looking sharp.

When the school bags and blazers come home on the last day, they’re often filled with scraps of paper, broken pencils, and sweetie wrappers. Here’s a great task for the kids to take on – empty everything out, discard anything that can’t be used, and refill pencil cases with items ready for the new year. Here’s how to tackle this task efficiently:

Step 1: Gather All Supplies

  • Collect everything from backpacks, desks, drawers, and study areas. Lay it all out in one place to get a clear view of what you have.

Step 2: Evaluate and Decide

  • Sort items into three categories: keep, donate, and recycle.
  • Keep what’s in good condition and needed for next term. Get the kids to sharpen pencils and refill their cases. Test pens to see which ones have run out.
  • Donate gently used items to schools or nurseries. Pens for Kids is a great charity that can recycle these for you. Recycle broken or unusable items responsibly.

Step 3: Organise What’s Left

  • Group similar items together – pens, pencils, notebooks, art supplies, etc. This makes it easier to find what you need and see what might be missing.
  • Use containers, bins, and drawer dividers to keep supplies organised. Label each container so everything has a designated place.
  • For high schoolers, a slimline pencil case is a great solution to keep essentials safe in the blazer pocket (and avoid pocket stab wounds from sharp pencils!).

Step 1: Create a System for Keepsakes

  • Use memory boxes or binders to store special projects, artwork, and assignments that hold sentimental value. This is another great activity to do with the kids – sit down together and discuss their different pieces.
  • If you’re short on space or living a paperless lifestyle, consider digitising items by scanning or photographing them. This future-proofs these memories and makes them easier for your kids to keep into their adult years.
  • Sort keepsakes by date or school year to easily track your child’s progress. Digitally, use a folder structure by year or create a photobook with the preferred images.

Step 2: Manage Important Documents

  • Set aside a dedicated folder or binder for important documents such as report cards, certificates, and school correspondence. Keep this folder in an easily accessible location.
  • Consider scanning important documents and storing them digitally for added security and convenience.

By decluttering and organising school supplies now, you’ll ensure your child starts the new school year with everything they need, in an organised and efficient manner.

A well-organised study space is key to fostering a productive learning environment. The summer holidays are a great time to get creative with your kids and set up a dedicated, clutter-free area for them to study and complete homework. Here’s some ideas on how you can create and maintain an effective study space:

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

  • Select a spot in your home that is quiet and free from distractions. Ideally, this should be a separate room or a designated corner of a room.
  • Ensure the study area is well-lit. Natural light is best, but if that’s not available, use a good desk lamp to reduce eye strain. I love the look of the HÅRTE lamp from Ikea.

Step 2: Equip the Space with Essentials

  • Invest in a comfortable, ergonomic chair and a sturdy desk that suits your child’s height. This promotes good posture and can help prevent discomfort during long study sessions.
  • For younger kids, consider upgrading their furniture as they grow. For example, we are planning to upgrade my littlest one from the table her big brothers got for their first birthday (a great desk that has lasted 12 years from The Great Little Trading Company) to a big girl desk. We’re looking at the Ikea Micke desk to store all the arts and crafts. For older kids, Hemnes desks have been great for our two.
  • Stock the study area with essential supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks, and a computer or tablet if needed. Keep these items within easy reach to minimize disruptions. Simple storage solutions are really helpful to keep items organised and easily accessible.

Step 3: Personalise the Space

  • Time to get creative. Get your child involved in personalising their study space with items that inspire and motivate them, such as posters, artwork, or a vision board. We love a good motivational postcard in our house!
  • Use bulletin boards, whiteboards, planners, or apps to help keep track of assignments and deadlines. This visual aid can be a great way to stay organised.
  • If your child struggles to focus on schoolwork, step-by-step guide posters can be really helpful. In our early school years we had VCOP – Vocab, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation, marked at the top of our whiteboards to remind the kids how to structure a sentence when working on their homework.

By creating and maintaining an organised study space, you provide your child with an environment that is conducive to learning. This proactive approach enhances their focus and instills valuable organisational skills, while also giving them a sense of pride and ownership.

An organised school calendar is essential for managing the busy schedules of school life. It helps keep track of important dates, events, and deadlines, ensuring everyone in the family is on the same page. Here’s how to set up an effective school calendar:

Step 1: Benefits of a Family Calendar

  • Reduce stress by having a clear view of upcoming events and deadlines.
  • Improve time management by allocating time effectively, balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and family time.
  • Enhance communication among family members, ensuring everyone is aware of key dates and commitments. Now my older two are at high school, it has been a big help to include them on this calendar so they can see what’s coming up each week.

Step 2: Key Dates to Include

  • Mark the beginning and end of each term, holidays, school breaks, and long weekends. Include dates for parent-teacher meetings, sports events, school plays, and other important school activities as they come in.
  • Note significant deadlines for assignments, projects, and exams to help your child plan their study schedule.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Calendar

  • Decide whether a digital calendar (like Google Calendar) or a physical calendar (a wall calendar or planner) works best for your family. Digital calendars offer the convenience of sharing and syncing across devices, while physical calendars provide a visual reminder that’s hard to miss. Some families find it helpful to use both digital and physical calendars for maximum efficiency.

Step 2: Setting Up the Calendar

  • Use different colours for different family members or types of events. This makes it easy to identify who is involved in each activity at a glance.
  • For digital calendars, set up reminders and alerts to notify you of upcoming events and deadlines. This ensures nothing slips through the cracks. If you’re particularly forgetful, set several reminders! I sometimes go with one month before, two weeks before, three days before, the day before, and the hour before for those super important events!

By setting up a well-organised school calendar, you’ll create a structured and efficient way to manage your family’s schedule. This keeps everyone informed and helps foster a more harmonious and stress-free home environment.

It might seem a bit early to prepare for the new school year when the last one is just ending, but trust me, it’s worth it. The holidays might feel endless on day one, but they’ll fly by! Getting everything in order now can make the transition smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

Here’s a few things you can do to prepare effectively:

Step 1: School Supplies

  • Inventory your current supplies before buying new items. Check off what you already have at home.
  • Make a list of the essentials your kids will need, such as notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, binders, and calculators.
  • Make sure any required technology, such as laptops, tablets, or software, is in good working order and updated.

Step 2: Uniforms and Clothing

  • Have your child try on their uniforms and regular school clothes to ensure they still fit and are in good condition.
  • Note any items that need replacing or repairing.
  • Create a shopping list for new clothes, including any specific uniform pieces required by the school.
  • Shop early to avoid the back-to-school rush.
  • List any supplies needed for extracurricular activities, such as sports equipment, musical instruments, or art supplies.

Taking the time to organise and prepare for the upcoming school year can make all the difference. By sorting and storing school uniforms, decluttering school supplies, organising study spaces, setting up a comprehensive school calendar, and preparing both mentally and emotionally, you set the stage for a smooth and successful transition.

At Orka Living, I’m here to support you every step of the way. Whether you need personalised advice or hands-on assistance, my goal is to help you create a calm, organised space that enhances your family’s daily life.

Here’s to a relaxed and stress-free summer break, ending in a fresh, organised start to the new school year! For more tips and expert help, don’t hesitate to reach out! (Contact me here.)

Here’s to Living the Orka Summer Life!

P.S You can also join the Orka Living Community here to make sure you get all my top tips and tools so that you can start finding the mental and physical space to do more of what you love.

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