Learning to declutter and organize what you already have is a great first step to get your home Back-To-School ready and will save you money.
Start by doing inventory
Sort the stuff
Go through closets to see what clothes/shoes/sport gear/ etc. fit and donate what doesn’t. Donate what you can and make a plan to organize what is left.
Get school supplies organized
Keep track of all the scissors, rulers, erasers, paper, pens, and crayons that are part of your children’s school supply list. Do you need to purchase new every year? Create an organized space for all of the school supplies that is always available. Use plastic cups, jars, pencil holders, baskets and silverware trays to create a school supply station somewhere in your home so they are readily available when your children are doing homework or needing additional supplies.
Prepare designated spaces in your home
Start with your child’s bedroom
Taking time to declutter and organize your kids room before school will help them have less stress and more control of their things as days become busier. This will also make for more relaxing evenings at home. Get your child involved and have them help determine what they want to keep in their room and what they have outgrown. Provide labeled baskets, open-topped bins or storage containers to keep like items organized and easy for them to put away. Let your child help pick where and what to put the items in. The more control they have over the organization, the more likely they will be to keep it organized. Remember to use hooks on the back of doors for things like jackets & hats to keep them off the floor and in a designated place.
Install shelves and bookcases
You should take a similar approach to organizing books. Sort through what should be kept and what should be donated. Is there room for a bookcase or shelving unit that can encourage their growing library of books as they grow, and possibly also allow for baskets, storage items or their favorite “treasures” to be displayed in a designated spot as well?
Create study/work spaces
A designated location for homework is a must. Providing a study corner, especially one that is close to the kitchen or area where a parent is able to supervise and provide assistance when needed is greatly beneficial. If your child needs a quieter place to study, try to find a location outside of their bedroom that is designated just for homework such as a home office, extra bedroom, or family room. If a separate room is not an option, then make sure there is a designated work space set up in the child’s bedroom that has a desk, chair, lamp and needed school supplies in one location to help them stay focused. This will give the child a place to do work while still providing the rest of the room as a place to relax.
Organize your mudroom/entryway
Entry spaces tend to become messy very quickly and are the “catch-all” for everything. Plan ahead and get your home back to school ready by trying to come up with a planned routine so that items can go where they belong. Allow your child to help pick out colors or style of hooks to use for their backpacks and jackets. Get a shoe rack that has one row for each child to place their shoes only. Get creative and keep the kids involved so they too will be excited about keeping their spaces clean and organized. If you have a small entrance, utilize the space you do have with hanging baskets or peg racks for shoes/jackets/backpacks/sports gear/etc. (See additional tips on how to organize your entryway.)
Set up a breakfast/snack/food station
Start by decluttering the pantry and creating designated snack and breakfast stations or shelves. Use labeled storage containers to help keep everything organized and easy to find. Keep it stocked with individually wrapped grab-and-go type healthy snacks that will keep the kids energized throughout the day. This will get your home back to school ready and allow your kids to waste less time looking for a snack while giving you a better grasp of what/how much they are eating.
Create a communication center
Plan ahead and choose one area that is in clear sight of everyone as the main message/communications center for the family. (Examples could be front of fridge, pantry door, kitchen desk space, wall outside of dining room or kitchen, etc.). Designate this to be the communication center that displays a calendar of events and school activities at all times. It is helpful to make sure everyone in the family has this available in plain site and knows where to always find it. Keep all important school paperwork, reading lists, sports information, school activities, etc. in this one spot. Have a clip or basket for the papers to be kept together and a larger calendar that displays things like meals, homework, chores, school activities/sports, assignments due, work hours, etc. Color code it if possible.
Stick to a routine
Whether it is sleep, meals, or house organization, it is important to start now with the back-to-school routine plan and transitions. Start planning now so that the upcoming weeks will go as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your children.