Get ready for the end of summer and busy fall schedules

It seems fall begins a busy season for everyone, even those without kids in school!  Here are some simple steps to making your daily routine go smooth while still getting a few things accomplished along the way.

Make to-do lists for everyone!

Write out simple checklists for every member of the family with the top five tasks that need to be completed during his or her morning routine.  Hang it in the bathroom. 

Organize your Entryway

Create an area in your entryway (nearest the door you use most often) for everyday life accessories (keys, cell phone and charger, bills to be mailed, etc.). An over-the-door clear plastic shoe holder makes a perfect storage spot for these items. (Use lower pockets for small children so they can get their own belongings.)

Prepare what you can the night before

Set the table for breakfast, choose outfits to wear the next day and fill the coffee maker in the evening.  Get what you can out and organized and in easy to access areas.

Plan meals ahead

Create index cards for meals, not just recipes: Write out your menu ideas on index cards and file them, then when you are making out your weekly menu you can just pull meal ideas out of the box.  Whenever possible make breakfast ahead of time. Making pancakes on a Sunday? Make extra and freeze them for a busy morning.

Bag it

Have a dedicated 'borrowed basket' so you can easily find a library book or movie on the day it is due. Use colored tote bags to store equipment, one bag per activity, for example a blue bag for scouting and a red bag for ballet, you can easily grab the right bag on the right day. No more emptying and refilling a single bag.