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Thursday, 28 August 2014

A-Z of summer: Day 15 - O

Day 15 is the letter O - Organising. 

Not so much a fun activity today but an important one. Its coming to the end of the summer holidays. Is it just me that things they have flown by this year? I was super organised this year and brought the girls uniform at the end of July. I usually wait till the last minute and then spend the week stressing because the clothes are overpriced and shops hardly have their sizes. This year my eldest is moving up to secondary school. I knew i would have double the amount to buy and knew it was more important to buy it when the shops were fully stocked. It was also cheaper as the good deals were on. 

The last week of summer is the second busiest week of the year for me, the first being christmas week. Even though i brought early, i am not stressing i haven't brought enough, they need their hair cutting, i must buy their shoes. I now have to sort a bus pass for Kirsty and get packed lunches in ready for the following weeks school start. The difference is this year i know i have everything, it is just me panicking. As i know every other parent will be going through this same process, i thought i would share my tips for keeping things organised. 

  1. When school ends for the year, spend the week going through all your childs clothes. Not only can this save you money but it could make you some money too. A good portion of parents buy clothes through out the year. Assuming the uniform is still the same, many of these may still be in brilliant condition and may still fit your child. This could mean buying much less come the summer holidays. If the clothes are in good condition but no longer fit or needed, why not sell them and make yourself some money back? Many parents are looking for much cheaper clothes, especially trousers, skirts, dresses or jumpers, and more than happy to buy clean second hand uniform. Some good places to try selling are via ebay, gumtree or via facebook selling pages - search for your local ones using the search bar, for me i would search Nottingham selling. I tend to do this at the beginning of July to give me enough time to sell the clothes and buy early. 
  2. Buy early. If you can afford to buy before the school breaks up, it will be much cheaper and you will have much more choice. 
  3. Keep a check on what you need and mark off what you buy. I am a compulsive list maker, uniform buying is just another list for me. Once i have sorted through their uniform and sold it, i mark down what money i have and what i still need to buy for them. If i buy all in one go, i have the list in front of me so i do not over buy. If i buy in bits, i can cross off what i have brought. 
  4. Consider second hand uniform. The only things i buy brand new each year are their jumpers/cardigans, bags and 1 pack of polo shirts. I always buy second hand skirts and trousers. Many people sell uniform off in bundles for fantastically low prices. As my eldest is very tall and in adult clothes, it saves me a fortune. This year hubby had a 20% staff discount for george clothing so it worked out cheaper for me to buy Kirsty's uniform brand new. 
  5. Hang uniform up as soon as you get home and have a spare few mins. Unless you ask for no coathangers, you can lift it straight out of the bag and hang right up. Seems a silly suggestion to some but i've misplaced so many clothes because i've put them in the ironing (which i tend to leave for weeks on end :D) or because they are in a bag somewhere around the house. The creases also drop out of school shirts when hanging up meaning no ironing on the very busy first day back at school. 
  6. Pack their PE bag and school bag as you get the items and hang them up with the school uniform. Last year we ended up paying £6 for a pair of plimsolls that we had to buy online because we lost them. They were still missing up until last week, when i found them stuffed in the drawer under the bed. I rarely put clothes in there so i am not sure why they had been hidden in the drawer, but just putting them into the PE bag would have saved me some money. 
  7. There is always, always offers on packed lunch items during this last week, next week however there will not be as many. I always take advantage of this and buy things i can freeze. Frubes are popular with Kaycee - sometimes on offer for 99p. I usually buy the cheaper versions but of curse this way i can spend £2 and buy a months worth of better quality treats for the same price as the cheaper ones i buy. (For 2 days a month she will take a cheap yogurt as there is not enough frubes) I also buy these mini chocolate bars from Tesco and freeze them too. I take 2 out on the day and put with their lunches. They are defrosted by lunch time. It is worth looking around for the deals during this time of the year and planning ahead as much as you can. 
  8. Each year i freeze and portion fruit for packed lunches. 1 bag of apples, 1 punnet of grapes and a bag of pears, is a months worth of fruit for their packed lunches. Apples, grapes and pears freeze very well and do not take long to defrost. I buy medium sized ziplock bags to store the fruit once frozen and just pick a bag out the freezer to put in their lunches. A months worth of fruit for their lunches costs me £4 (depending on how much i buy the grapes for). I have a post due tomorrow on this if you are interested in how i freeze and store the bags. Keep an eye out for it :)
Hopefully these tips help someone. Most are things that people do already but i know how much of a frazzle this time of the year is, so it does not hurt to refresh our memories. 

The only question now is.... who is looking forward to the kids going back to school? I know i am :D 

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