Inside the mind of a professional organizer: Kids, their things and time management

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

I’m drafting this article as the 2020-2021 school year comes to an end. I’m including this because I think having an organized approach to starting a new school year reflects how you end the previous one. Much of this revolves around what grade your kid(s) are transitioning from.

Things to consider when unloading the book bag:

• Are the supplies in good shape?

• Does it “fit in” for the upcoming year?

• Do I have a younger child that could benefit from this? (The dreaded hand-me-down.)

Keeping this list handy will help you when venturing out to purchase new supplies. Eliminating items that no longer serve your kids will reduce clutter and the need for additional storage space.

With a few weeks of summer vacation remaining, take time to reflect on the last couple of months. What did summer vacation look like for you? Were you working remotely? Were the kid(s) at home or elsewhere during the day? Did you maintain the commitment of dropping others off at a set time? How did you manage everyone’s schedule, and what challenges did you face? Having a clear idea of where you would like to make improvements is the first step to setting yourself up for a successful year and long-term goals.

As you gear up for a fresh start, time management is a key element to factor into your routine. I suggest reviewing or creating your school and work routine now. Verbal communication is not always effective, so posting a schedule or setting your phone alarms and calendars might be more efficient.

Establishing household tasks is a great starting point, not only for the school year but also all year. Implementing shared duties with your spouse, at an early stage of your relationship and early on for your kids, creates opportunity for success.

Everyone should take part to make things easier. Plus, it’s great to teach your kids how to become independent, as well as a team player.

Growing up, my brother and I volunteered to vacuum. Keeping our home clean and organized was rewarding because my parents didn’t approach it as punishment, but rather, a way to appreciate what we had. Those responsibilities transitioned into keeping our rooms clean, helping with the dishes, understand boundaries and respecting authority. As it became second nature, I enjoyed assigned tasks and the compliments that came with accomplishment.

Once you’ve established your schedule, you can prepare yourself for the school year and shopping for supplies. Thankfully, most schools provide parents with a shopping list. School purchases can tempt you to over spend. On the flip side, if you are in the position to purchase extra and donate to classmates, by all means, do so. Your efforts within the community are much appreciated.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at or on Facebook at OrganizerJessi. You also can email her at

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