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WITH the kids back at school in a matter of days, the morning rush to get your children out the door on time is a familiar feeling once again.
But if this is a typically stressful time for you, no fear! Professional nanny and home organiser Kathryn Lord, who is from Lancashire, has revealed her five hacks to make the school run much easier.
From children’s bedrooms to the bathroom, and even under the kitchen sink, the 35-year-old knows how to turn your home from havoc to haven and works to help families create efficient and organised homes.
Here, Kathryn, whose work has even garnered her royal recognition from the Duchess of Cambridge and The Queen, speaks exclusively to Fabulous about her top hacks on how to help the school morning rush…
The part-time nanny, who runs her organising business More to Organising, recommends organising school uniforms early.
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"While I do say organise everything the night before, I’m actually much more of a fan of getting everything ready for the whole week the Friday before (I don’t work weekends)," she explains.
"That way, if something happens, the family are good to go for the week!"
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She adds: "By putting the uniform out, including underwear, for five days, it means the child can be more autonomous in the morning and there won’t be any last minute searches for the sports top!"
Kathryn also goes on to highlight the importance of independence and getting children involved.
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"Pop a list on their wardrobe of what day they have what uniform/sports," she explains. "Pop a list (pictures for younger children) of what they need to put on for each day.
"Get them to put them in a pile and you just check it."
Kathryn says that for children who have a packed lunch, prepare everything but the sandwich the night before.
"Again, I plan for all week ready in the fridge so it’s just a case of popping them in the lunch box," she explains.
"For autonomy, let them pack it themselves, have some choices but have a list (pictures for little ones) of protein, vegetables, dairy and fruit for them to pop in their lunch box."
Kathryn suggests letting your children search through recipe books and advises batch-cooking delicious breakfasts.
"This will allow you to freeze them, meaning you can defrost overnight and pop them in the oven while you’re finishing packing the lunches," she says.
"We love cheese scones with bacon bits, blueberry pancake bites or prep things to pop in the fridge such as egg muffins (they can’t be frozen), smoothies (packed with veg too) or overnight oats!"
The professional home organiser notes that everything becomes quicker if you all have a role to play and work together.
"This is all about helping them with their life skills and habits," she explains. "Have expectations, even with young children, that they take their plate to the sink/dishwasher etc."
She adds: "Give your 'team' a time limit to sort a room out to make it fun and then reward with a team game such as a board game altogether or a family fun experience at the end of the week.
"I usually sing ‘tidy up time, tidy up time, toys away, toys away, well done _____, well done _______it is tidy' for very young children."
As for the best time of day to tidy, Kathryn says she prefers the morning.
"Personally, I like to organise in the morning, just as the children have been dropped off at school," she explains. "It can be done at any time of the day, but I would say it’s important to put a time limit on when you are decluttering so you have an end in sight."
Offering additional advice, she continues: "Only focus on one area at a time so you aren't too overwhelmed and take before and after photos so you can look back on what you have achieved."
The organisation expert also recommends doing a quick drawer or cupboard 'reset' in ten minutes once you’ve done the decluttering.
"I suggest 'resets' are done fortnightly or monthly and organising/decluttering should be done quarterly," she says.
As for the organisatinal products she swears by, Kathryn recommends the £12.99 "Wham Box And Lid" from The Range, which she suggests are perfect for colour coding your storage.
She says: "I recommend these for all areas. They can be labelled with words and pictures, they are stackable and a nice size."
Kathryn adds: "I use www.twinkl.com to make printable and editable labels for drawers/boxes etc.”
Kathryn points out that having a schedule and knowing your timings means you can have a calm and happy morning.
She notes: "How long do they take to get dressed? What time do you need to have finished eating by? Double up on things – while they brush their teeth, you do their hair!"
The home organiser also advises reducing what you have.
"If there is less to tidy, it makes it easier," she says. "This includes rotating items like toys so they don’t have the farm and the zoo out at the same time."
Only having one in use and one spare means there is less mess for everything."
Another of Kathryn's top tips is to create a colour clock.
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"Let’s say you get up at 7.30am and need to set off to school by 8.30am," she says.
"Colour five minutes for going to the toilet purple, 10 minutes getting dressed green and 25 minutes for breakfast orange.
"Then colour five minutes to brush teeth blue, five minutes for doing hair yellow, five minutes to pop the prepped food in the packed lunch turquoise and five minutes to put shoes on gold to make the morning routine really visual.
"Put it next to your analogue clock so they can see where the hand is and know when it’s time to move on to the next activity."
Kathryn's books 'There's More to Books Than Reading: How to Help Your Child Bring Stories to Life', and 'More to Organising: How to Help Your Child Become More Independent and Make Your Life Easier by Organising with Your Child In Mind' are on sale now.
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