Updated on 9/14/16 from an article originally published on 8/5/13.
Can you believe the summer is coming to an end and the days of your children being on their own “lazy summer” schedule will be soon over? By now you’ve likely stocked up on and organized the school supplies. Next comes the hard part: easing back into the school routine. This means your home is going to need to get organized as well.
Check out these easy ways to organize your home and your lifestyle before the hectic school year is underway!
Organize your kids’ after school schedules on one shared calendar.
You may not know what classes your kids are going to have, but you probably know the basics, such as when the school bus picks up and drops off, when your kids need to be picked up from extended-day programs, or what time their extra-curricular activities start and end. This is the first step to organizing your home, believe it or not. A home designed around their back-to-school schedule is essential.
Make a folder or pin-up a schedule on the family bulletin board where the entire family can see everyone’s schedules. A dry-erase board or chalkboard works great for families that need to be flexible and switch out activities regularly.
Organize your home according to your family calendar.
In the upcoming weeks, start to make a mental note of the routines your family will need in the mornings to leave for school and in the evenings when they come home. Mudrooms, playrooms, and any closets or seating areas where kids leave their backpacks, coats, boots and shoes should be organized and easy to get to. If summer athletic and beach toys are cluttering the house, organize an area in a closet, garage or utility room to free up space for upcoming school days.
Walk through the different areas of your home with your school-aged kids and teenagers to explain how the organization systems will work for everyone. Once your entire family is on the same page, your home will remain more organized—and the adults won’t feel the burden of having to pick up after the kids.
Make organization fun for kids with clever storage ideas.
Many kids feel like organizing the house is a job for parents! Instead of clear bins and plain baskets, how about finding colorful storage baskets with liners or have the kids create custom, DIY, painted-wood catchall boxes for their belongings? Many organization stores have color coordinated hooks, shelving, bins, baskets, and even labels to creatively organize everyone’s school and play items. Not only will these make cleanup time fun for the kids, but also they will keep siblings from fighting over who’s cleaned up and who hasn’t!
After school, follow a similar routine with your kids. Ensure homework areas are filled with organized desk and book amenities that allow for creative minds to store and organize their schoolwork and artwork. Try your local office supply store for desk organizers made especially for teenagers, college students, and school-aged children. Before school starts, let your children customize their desk area so they look forward to studying and hanging out in their spaces daily.
Organize for convenience.
If you regularly have a caregiver or babysitter look after your children, think of organization ideas that will help him or her. Snack foods organized in a certain area in the kitchen pantry, pet leashes and supplies near the garage door, and a electronic charging area for phones, tablets and laptops on the foyer table can help get you out of the house on time.
When organizing, one size doesn’t always fit all. Prioritize what’s most important about your routine, and ensure your routine is enhanced by great organization. If you have to have your morning coffee in hand while running out the door, a programmable coffee maker could be exactly what keeps you on schedule!
There’s no time like the present to start your back-to-school organization around your home; and solutions like bins, baskets, and off-site storage units can help. Assess your kids’ schedules and make it a priority to sit the family down and talk about getting organized.
Back-to-school season can be an enjoyable time for you and your children; make sure your home is ready for the change too. And if you uncover your own organization tricks along the way, share the love–comment below!