How to Have (Mostly) Organized School Mornings

Professional Organizer Darla DeMorrow has a back-to-school confession: Things don't always go as planned.



About this time of year, you’ll see plenty of posts like “3 Routines to Make Mornings Organized,” or “7 Things Organized Moms Do for Easier Mornings,”  or even “10 Best Time-Saving Tips for Less Hectic Mornings.” If you landed here for the first time, you need to know that I am a Certified Professional Organizer. Yes, it’s a thing, and yes, it means I’m organized … and I mostly manage my home, business and life so that the folks around me can easily stay organized. And it means that I do every. Single. One of the THINGS TO DO TO HAVE ORGANIZED MORNINGS.

And still …

Hopefully I’m about to blow the lid off any mom-guilt you might be harboring …

Kids don’t always play by the rules, so having organized mornings aren’t always going to happen.

My two lovely girls, currently ages 7 and 10, are both wonderful, curious, talkative little people. They have been brought up to do for themselves, hopefully smack dab in the middle spot between free-range and helicopter parenting.

They have lists of how to get out of the house.

They have assigned spaces for bags, shoes, coats, and just about everything else in their lives.

They eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, usually fridge oatmeal, or an egg sandwich. (Boring? Maybe so, but it works.)

And yet …

Kids are people too. They get overwhelmed, sometimes before they get to the first floor.

And, you know, attitudes! Sibling rivalry! And life is so unfair! Oh my!

Even so …

We keep trying, right parents?

At some point, we get them their own alarm clock.

We keep telling them that mornings are not for unpacking the backpack and discovering three new messages from school that have to be paid/signed/interpreted RIGHT NOW.

We try to keep the family pets from becoming a distraction.

We try to keep the tech from becoming a distraction.

We give them structure.

We even try to play silly games like “Beat the Clock.” 

We put things (toothbrush, hairbrush, shoes) in places where it’s easy to get to them.

We change the house to accommodate them.

We change the car to accommodate them.

We get every single one of our own things done before bedtime so we aren’t the ones slowing down the morning machine.

So, my friend, keep doing what you are doing, and then try out one more parenting/organizing tip to help with the crazy mornings. Some days you nail it, and some days will still be a mad dash at the last minute.

You might not have smooth sailing every morning. I know I don’t.

But having a regular, expected routine that is well communicated to all certainly helps us have mostly organized school mornings.

Need to borrow a page from my playbook? Grab your free printable here, and customize it to your own household.

Darla DeMorrow is a Certified Professional Organizer® from Wayne, PA, who also blogs at Heartworkorg.com, where this post originally appeared.

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