Thursday, July 21, 2016

Back to School Panic Organizing

In this part of the country we are already staring down the calendar at the first day of school. My children have almost four weeks of summer break left. I go back to work, gulp, three weeks from tomorrow! 

I love the library job I have done for the last two years. It has been a near perfect fit for my skill-set, my interests, and the amount of time and energy I want to give to a job considering the phase our family is in currently. I said, MORE THAN ONCE, at the end of the last school year, how happy I was to be coming back to the same job for the third year in a row. For one reason or another, including a break to be a stay-at-home parent, I haven't worked the same job for more than two years, ever. Unless you count babysitting gigs from my high school days. As much as I love my job, I also love summer break and mourn it as it draws to an end. I miss reading by the pool, waking up later than 6 a.m., impromptu ice cream runs, etc. When I'm at work, I rarely wish I was anywhere else; but when I've had a break from work, the thought of reentering the grind makes me want to hide under my covers, or maybe under a beach towel.

As it happens, I'm not returning to the same job in the fall. I'm still going to be a librarian, but at the other middle school in our district. Applying for that transfer was a difficult decision. Transferring means I will be at the same middle school Harper will attend. She's... not thrilled, but this will infinitely simplify our daily lives. Still, I loved the people I worked with and the space I worked in and I'm sorry I didn't get to say a proper good-bye, as the transfer didn't happen until after the school year had ended. Now, in the little amount of summer I have left, I'm trying to leave my old job space the way I would have wanted to find it as a new person coming to work there. I also need to get oriented in the new space. Needless to say, this year's back to school panic has been magnified.

Every year, when back to school panic mode sets in, I am consumed by an intense need to organize everything in sight. The efforts of this labor will undoubtedly be undone by the second week of school, but seeing order around me helps a little when my psyche is rattled.

And now... evidence of The Back to School Panic Organizing Event of 2016:

Fresh pencils, ready for the homework that will take place at the kitchen table. This shelf used to hold two plastic cups with broken colored pencils and eraser-less #2s. 

The bin holding other art supplies... now featuring items sorted into labeled containers. Micheal helped me test all the markers and every colored pencil has been sharpened. I even cleaned the sticky residue from the outsides and caps of the glue sticks. 

Here you see the ruthlessly weeded toy closet. Half of what was in there has been moved to basement storage or into bags for donation.

This is the magic binder that aims to tame the schedules, lunch menus, directories, and the thousand other pieces of paper that come home from school and activities. This week I emptied it of last school year's papers, which were either filed (report cards, some samples of the children's work, class pictures) or recycled (most of it).

The same binder: it has space for emergency information, allergy information, 6th grade information, 3rd grade information, and a few tabs for various activities. It lives in the kitchen next to the phone. In case you're wondering, there is a three-hole punch in the cabinet, right next to the casserole dishes.

Some of the home organizing spills over into work as well. Here are two of my binders for the upcoming school year. The binders with the plastic cover you can slide paper into might be my most favorite school supply innovation of all time.

Sorting, organizing, labeling - these are my grown up version of sucking my thumb - I find them soothing. To quote Rizzo, "There are worse things I could do..."