For my first newsletter, I’m starting with something that is both fitting for this time of year and is also relevant to another passion passion of mine–education.  Today is the first day of school for youngsters in New York City, and only the second time in 22 years I haven’t been in the classroom, either as a student or a teacher.

What does “back to school” mean to you?  For me, it’s a new outfit, happy jitters about meeting my teachers and classmates, an unfiltered excitement for the year ahead, and especially stocking up on school supplies.  Why not, as adults, bring back some of what we enjoyed during this back to school time?  Here are a few simple and quick organizing ideas related to school supplies you may want to try out:

1) Give your school supply drawer a mini-makeover. You can refresh your current supplies by weeding out what you no longer use or need, and putting the rest in order.  Go through your school/office supplies. Toss any old pens, dried-out glue, outdated business cards, and any other supplies that are no longer functional or relevant.  Do you really need 45 random black pens? How important is it to keep that pad of paper you took from a hotel room years ago?  Tip: Let go of anything you wouldn’t spend money on right now if you were at Staples shopping for new supplies.  Set a timer for yourself and see how much you can get done in 10 minutes.

2) Consolidate.  Are you someone who has pens, pencils, paper, and paper clips in every room of the house?  Not to mention magazines, mail, receipts, and any other paper clutter than tends to pile up?  My weakness happens to be chapstick–you’ll find it in every nook and cranny in my apartment.  There’s always a stick within arm’s reach–hey, you never know when you’ll have a chapped lips emergency, right?  Consolidate these items that have a tendency to redistribute themselves out around the home.  (I’m imagining the scene from Toy Story when all the toys come alive when the humans are asleep and reposition themselves around the room)  Tip:  Deliberately dedicate a place for each supply that previously was scattered about; keep all the pens in the office area, all the electronics near their charging buddy, and assign one place in the home for loose coins to collect. Again, limit yourself to 10 minutes to keep this task manageable.

3) Looking for inspiration to organize your time?  Buy yourself a shiny new planner or calendar, and set it up to work for you.  When adding events, color code either by assigning a different color to each member of the family, or a different color to each category (for example: work, personal, appointments). If you’re like me, a brand new office supply will jumpstart your back-to-school mentality and help you start September off in an organized way.  Tip: Dedicate a short block of time once a week to updating and maintaining your planner.

Happy Organizing and Happy Back-to-School week!

Whenever I think of new school supplies, I am reminded of a line from one of my all-time favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail. Tom Hanks’ character writes:  “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”  I love that image. What images do you associate with this time of year?