Families with school-aged children will likely agree that keeping track of after-school sports and activities can be a real pain the neck. The activities change from day to day and season to season, and there is usually a uniform or equipment involved. While a family calendar helps keep us on track, it isn’t always enough. For example, it didn’t stop my kids from rushing out the door in the morning without the gear they needed for the activity du jour. After several mad dashes to bring forgotten gear to forgetful offspring, I realized they needed a more tangible reminder system.
I’m a firm believer in using what is already on hand to create custom organizing solutions, so I started with the hall tree we bought about eight years ago from Target. It includes a storage bench, coat hooks, and three small baskets. The kids are accustomed to dumping their coats, shoes, and bags in this area when they come home and it is where they go to collect what they need on their way out.
There are five coat hooks—conveniently corresponding with the number of days that the kids have after-school activities. I decided to label the hooks with the days of the week and the activities that happen on each day. I used chalkboard paint and a chalk pen, but you could use chalkboard labels or a label maker instead.
Once I had all the hooks labeled, I put the gear needed for each activity into cloth bags and hung them on the correct hooks. Now, when Monday rolls around, my daughter sees the ballet bag hanging on Monday’s hook and remembers to grab it. When she comes home, she knows to hang the bag on Wednesday’s hook, the next day she has ballet.
A launch pad that is customized to your family’s needs helps make your whole day run more smoothly. There are lots of ways to customize this idea using hooks, baskets, cubbies, and other organizing tools you already have. How have you made your launch pad work better for you?