As summer zooms rapidly on, families’ thoughts are increasingly occupied by back to school concerns. These include organizing their homes and daily routines to better accommodate the busier days soon to come.
Many parents think back to school home organization only applies to the kids’ bedrooms and perhaps to any dedicated play spaces, but, as any Houston professional organizer can tell you, it actually should involve your whole home. If you will be sending kids of any age back to school soon – from pre-K to high-schoolers – here are some expert back to school home organization tips to help you start the school year off right.
Back to School Kitchen Organization
They don’t call the kitchen the ‘heart of the home’ for nothing. If you were to stop and count how many times everyone goes back and forth into the space on the average school day, then you would probably be quite surprised by just how often that is.
After all, the day begins there at breakfast and it is not unusual for the kitchen to become homework – and hangout – central before the whole family gather at night for dinner. Many parents spend a good chunk of their evening there too, cooking, cleaning and preparing lunches for the next day.
How to best organize your kitchen will depend on your family’s unique lifestyle and routines. Depending on the age of your children organize sections of the refrigerator for school-aged children who pack their lunch. For teenagers dedicate a pantry shelf to their food and keep handy “after school” snacks in an area where children can reach them without asking for help.
Encourage the family to gather around the dining room table for family meals as much as possible and create a clean up rota – one that includes setting and clearing the table, washing dishes, putting them away and more – and assign chores to everyone, so that the short time you have in the evening to relax and regroup is not made even shorter!
Back to School Family Room Organization
Often back to school time means a home that is cluttered with school supplies, books, toys and chaotic family belongings throughout each room of the house. To cut down on that chaos designate family and living rooms as neutral territory.
This will help provide a space where kids and parents can unwind and enjoy television, share a conversation, without worrying about disturbing other family members. Create essential organization for video games, books, and magazines in storage ottomans, bookshelves, and built-in entertainment systems that allow for the family to “hang out” at the right times.
Clear the Summer Clutter
From your entryway and mudroom to the laundry room or basement, your family goes through a lot of routines during an average school day. Ensuring that each room in your home is decluttered from the summer and is ready for fall is the first step to getting an organized home.
Assess your family’s lifestyle and their school schedule to determine what areas of your home you should tackle first. Any room that you and your kids waste time looking for items: kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, kids’ rooms… need to get organized!
Create an Efficient Exit and Entry Point
The success of you getting out of the house each morning on time rests on how organized your home is. In your home assess your front door entry and foyer, mudroom or utility room and/or the back door from the garage, whichever is the point of entry for most “family traffic” in the mornings and evenings.
An area to hang coats, backpacks and hats for the kids is essential and a seating area is ideal. For parents, ensuring that there is a set area for belongings like your purse and wallet, smart phone chargers and keys storage can help you keep everything in one spot without hunting for them when time is of the essence. Try to get in the habit of having your kids place belongings here at night so their morning routine is less stressful.
Start Small and Work Your Way to Total Home Organization
Just like getting into a routine for back to school schedules, the same is true for your home’s organization. Start off small by decluttering areas that have old homework such as kids’ desks and take down crafts and artwork from last year to make way for the new.
Decide how you want to archive your children’s work. A few pieces can be framed and displayed in your home, while others can be scanned or photographed and kept electronically to keep your home clutter free as the school years go on.
Back to School Laundry Room Organization
While some would argue that bathrooms are the dirtiest room, the laundry room sees its share of dirt and grime, especially with school-aged children.
Organize your laundry room with individual hampers per family member to keep clothes separate. Consider creating a laundry schedule for the family to avoid excessive traffic in your laundry room. Organize cleaners and detergents in cabinets or shelving and have older family members pitch in with the folding and sorting of clothes.
Clearing the Kids Closets
Start off the back to school season by purging old clothes from your kids closets. Whether too old, too small, or out of season, these clothes can be donated to charity or given to younger siblings.
Go through their closet with your kids, as that will solve the “Mom what did you do with my favorite sweater?” yells in the morning and will help them keep up with their own belongings. Organize clothes by school functions, organizations, sports and other activities to ease the time in finding outfits to wear in the morning.
While you are thinking about closets, this is also a good time to tackle clutter in your own closet too!
If you find you need help with your back to school organization projects, calling in the help of a professional home organizer can be very helpful, especially if things have got a little chaotic in years past. A professional organizer can not only help you clear physical clutter but also help you create new routines and organizational systems that will help make this new school year the most organized ever, for everyone.