Congratulations, Graduates

Now that those Memorial Day cookouts are safely under their belts, many parents are already planning another seasonal celebration: the graduation party. It’s a final rite of passage among the many that high school offers, and a great chance to celebrate one’s child’s accomplishment.

Graduation parties tend to take the form of open houses, and many families schedule them on weekend days. Collaborate with your graduate on the guest list, and consider dedicating specific hours of the afternoon to family and friends, since, as the Huffington Post points out, they will likely enjoy different kinds of activities.

Party and craft stores will have plenty of ready-made decorations available; you may wish to go with a simple graduation year theme or emphasize school spirit based on the high school attended or the college that awaits. If you want to go beyond the typical themes, HGTV offers plenty of ways to put one’s own creative spin on the event.

Remember that thrift stores can be a valuable resource in preparing for a graduation party. They often stock lots of lightly used apparel from area schools, as well as extra party gear that people just didn’t get the chance to use. And since many thrifts are supplied by donations to, buying from them helps fund valuable veterans’ programs.

For a good graduation nosh, pick items that can sit on a buffet table for a few hours; with an open house, they should be ready whenever the guests drop in. And don’t forget the congratulatory sheet cake! It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s almost as much of an expectation as a wedding cake is at a wedding.

If your graduate is going off to college, this is an excellent time to prepare them (and your home) for the next stages in life. After the party is over and the graduation gifts are opened, sit your teen down and discuss an action plan to organize their space for that time in the not-too-distant future when they no longer use it on a day-to-day basis.

They have just 10 to 12 weeks to declutter that space and pick out what they want to keep and/or take with them as they move into campus life, adulthood and ultimately, their own homes. Donate whatever doesn’t make the cut by scheduling a pickup with, and you’ll be able to reclaim some square footage in your home.

6 Tips to Help Busy Parents Stay Organized

1. Clear the clutter: Before implementing any new strategies, take time to remove the excess from your home. Sort through a drawer or two at night and create a place for everything. Use baskets to organize kids’ toys, games, etc., and while you’re organizing be sure to toss out the things that are damaged and donate the things that you no longer use, but that are still in good condition.

2. Create a cleaning chart: Since you may not be used to cleaning and organizing your home on a regular basis this chart will work well because it will give you some structure. If you can’t find enough time to clean during the week, consider moving some of the chores over to Saturday and/or Sunday. If your children are old enough to help, then by all means, delegate those tasks!

3. Make a weekly meal plan: Each week plan out what you will make for dinner and create a shopping list of the ingredients you need. Here’s an excellent template.

4. Tackle the kids’ rooms: Start by organizing their toys, these 5 tips will help.

5. Get the bathroom in order: First take inventory of your products and throw out medicines that have expired and anything you no longer use. Next, organize the items you plan to keep: get a caddy for bath products, use drawer dividers for items, such as make up, hair ties, brushes, etc., if you need extra space, this terry-cloth tidy is an excellent option and this magnetic strip is great for small items. Store your child’s bath toys in a mesh bag, or in a corner basket and put the toys away after each bath. Save space in the bathroom by donating the toys your child has outgrown.

6. Simplify things: Create go-bags for your home so that you’re always prepared when you leave the house. Fill the bags with snacks, coloring books, crayons, and whatever other goodies your little one likes to have while out and about.

Getting started will be the most difficult part, but once you have a plan in place it will be smooth sailing! Share your organization tips with us on Facebook and on Twitter at @clodonations.

Written By: Natalie Martin

Elliot’s Room by Amy Gizienski Licensed Under CC by 2.0