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Back to Reality: Back to School

For many, school is starting back up. It’s amazing how time flies when you are having fun, right?! And yet for parents, back to school is often a welcome reintroduction to schedules and structure… a.k.a reality.

closet cleanout clothes pile

Spider’s pile of “Keep” clothes for this year.

Here is how getting ready for back to school goes down in our house:

About a month from the first day of school, I go through the kids’ entire closet and force them (yes, FORCE, because they never want to do it) to try on every ounce of clothing.  We make three piles:

  1. The “giveaway” clothes that no longer fit or liked.
  2. “I am not sure” clothes that fit but are not worn or the kids aren’t sure they’ll wear.
  3. “I’ll definitely wear” clothes that fit and the kids wear.

I make my kids make these decisions so they can’t complain that they don’t like anything or nothing fits or that I got rid of something they wanted.

Once the closet has been weeded out, it is time to make a list and assemble coupons. Just like you, I’m sure, I get way too many sale emails to pay full price for my kids’ clothes, and this time of year, my inbox is swimming with sales (Check out this article by yahoo on deep discounting this season). But making sure you have a list is essential. Without it, you will over-buy, or worse, miss a much needed item. Write it all down — everything from socks to headbands and all things in between. And because a new grade and a new class can be quite a bit deal and frankly a little scary, I add something special to that list as well. I won’t always know what it will be, but it should be that “cherry on the top” to add a little confidence and excitement for the big first day.

Skye reading her pledge

Skye reading her pledge

Signed pledges by my kiddos to wear their new wardrobe

Signed pledges by my kiddos to wear their new wardrobe

And if you are like me, and are living with an indecisive kid who loves the clothes in the store and then can’t stand them when they get home, make them sign a pledge. It helps with accountability. My daughter signs the “I promise to wear these clothes because I picked them out” pledge! But because it may not always work, I recommend keeping the tags on for a few days and keeping the receipts in a handy location.

And here’s another note, just for parents (I say this because I have made this mistake before): charge your cameras and document the moment. I don’t care if your kids beg you not to take that first day of school picture, TAKE IT ANYWAY! It is entirely too precious a moment to miss (even if your kid is a junior in high school).

So pack up your pencils and glue stick, and get your alarms up and armed. Summer is almost over and the 2013-14 school year is ready to begin!

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