Finishing Up Summer Right
Because summer seems to end too soon and school descends before you are quite ready, many of your lives are in “overlap” during August and September. You don’t really want to “finish” summer because the days are still hot and yet the requirements of children/teenanger’s clothing, school supplies, and homework are upon you. How do you handle this overlap period and gain the cooperation of your family members to help put away of one season even as you gear up and engage in the next one? May I suggest taking just a few minutes this week and making an “overlap” list?
Yes, fold a piece of lined paper in half lengthwise and write “Finish Up Summer” as the heading on the left side at the top and “Begin School” on the right side. Then list down the left side of the paper the items that still need attention to complete your family’s summer projects, put away summer wardrobes, and store summertime toys and tools. List down the right side of this same paper those items needing your attention to get completely ready for school/autumn. Finally, make notations as to whom in your family should be responsible to initiate each of the projects you have listed in both columns. Remember, to delegate is to let others contribute to the successful running of your home. I suggest that each member of your family be assigned a lead role in at least one project.
Next, put the list on your refrigerator and add to it as you remember additional items. By the end of the week, your list will be sufficiently complete to discuss at dinnertime. Having the list on the refrigerator will also bring it to the attention of your family members and help them want to add to it. You can also anticipate eliciting their cooperation and help by this subtle introduction to the projects.
Some of you don’t have school beginning or are maybe on a year-round school schedule, but even then finishing up summer and beginning fall will “happen” and thus still needs your attention. You will be wise to be thinking about it this week if you want to stay organized.
My own “overlap” list will include on the “Finish Up Summer” sublist three evenings for harvesting and freezing fruit from my garden, having another evening for a final picnic in the canyon, and altering three blouses for wardrobe needs.
My “Begin School” sublist will include finding online Spanish instruction (as I want to learn that language during the upcoming winter months), buying warmer socks because it often snows by the end of the month where I live, and taking advantage of the September school supply sales as I’m low on 1” binders, pencils, and glue.
Think through your needs now, make a written list, and then transfer these goals to your regular routines during the beginning of September will make the “overlap” season happen with greater ease.
As you store summer away, remember to label your containers well. Remembering where you put things will be so much easier when the season comes around again if you have simple labels on your swimsuit containers, a note in your planner about where in the attic you put the life jackets this time, and whose sandals you need to replace because they were lost or ruined. This is especially a good idea of your family is large or your schedule complex. The mind is not for remembering, paper/computers are.
Try to finish up your summer projects, put away your summer toys and tools, and clean up your summer wardrobes by the middle of September. This has many advantages in settling your family into school time routines without summertime distractions
And Another List, Too
Even as you do so, you may want to begin an “Autumn” list. This list would detail the many projects you want to complete before the holidays are upon us. It is usually a week for the eight precious weeks between September 1 and October 31. Somehow, when November begin and until January is half done, we can’t do more than handle the holiday pressures. But once your “Overlap” list is complete, the list for these eight weeks will give good directions the next steps in your lives.
Remember, having a list, even if you change it, is better than no list at all. A list gives you capacity to overcome procrastination and vagueness. It makes it easier to begin and finish. (And, if you get any pouting from your family, put up some fun memory photos. It keeps summer around a bit longer without all the clutter.)
Good luck, my friends. The long, hot days will be waning soon. It’s sad to say goodbye to a good summer, but you’ll be glad to be ahead of the game (at least in theory) as you approach a new scholarly season.
Find more helpful ideas in my House of Order Handbook.
Photos from sxc.hu. Used with permission.