Wendy, I can guess that many parents are having the same heart palpitations thinking about the day their kids step off the bus for the last time until September. The fact that you are getting yourself mentally and physically prepared ahead of time is invaluable and very smart!

Start with a calendar. Make sure all camp schedules, vacations, summer sports schedules and regular appointments are all accounted for so you have your basic planning timeline.

Next, create checklists for each of the activities your kids will be required to prep for. For example, begin researching the camp requirements and inventory all of the items that you already own. Create a shopping list and schedule a date prior to departure to gather all of the remaining items to be packed. By planning ahead you won’t be scrambling at the last minute or buying duplicates. A similar strategy can be done for vacations as well.

Attacking the areas around the house systematically to better prepare for summer activities.

Here is a quick list of ideas that you might think about doing before the kids get home:

  • Switch out all school clothes to summer clothes.
  • Make sure all bathing suits and summer clothing are the right size and no shopping trips are required before the next pool party.
  • Create pre-packed bag of toiletries for the next family trip by cleaning out duplicates and extra travel items in the bathrooms.
  • Create a kit for the car to have useful supplies for family outings. This could include bug spray, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes, snacks that will not melt in the car in extreme heat, first aid kit, blanket, deck of cards, pad of paper, pens and markers etc.
  • Create a laundry plan. With summer clothes being switched often for swimming and cooler evenings laundry accumulates quickly. This could be a good time to teach the older kids how to do their own laundry and assign them a day. They will be home during the day, without the homework excuse…use the extra hands while you have them!
  • Double check that the family’s passports are up-to-date in case you are going on a vacation out of the country.
  • Schedule some play dates ahead of time to keep the kids busy and out of the house periodically.
  • Go to a BJ’s or Sam’s Club and stock up on summer snacks and supplies so you can avoid too many trips to the grocery store.

While this list doesn’t even come close to covering the majority of the tasks you probably feel you have ahead of you, hopefully it will inspire some ideas to make your life a little easier in a few weeks. The most important thing to remember is that there are not going to be that many more years that your life revolves around your kids’ schedule. Enjoy the moment, spend your time playing and goofing around with them. Participate in the fun and let go of the responsibilities that keep you all glued together during the school year. You deserve a summer vacation too!

Kristin Mastromarino is a professional organizer. She is the owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing http://www.livablesolutions.com and The Organized Lifestyle online retail store http://www.theorganizedlifestylestore.com. You can e-mail her your questions at kristin@livablesolutions.com.

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