Now that the summer is almost over it is time for families to start thinking about back to school ideas for their fall home. While many parents think back to school organization only involves the kids’ rooms and play areas, the reality is “back to school” time affects your entire home. From the moment you wake up in the morning and rush to get the kids out to the bus stop to when your kids come home and do their homework, organization is key in your family home. If you’re trying to think of how to organize your back to school home, look at these 10 ways that are sure to start the year off right! 1. Organizing the heart of the home: the kitchen If you count how many times you and your family members go in and out of the kitchen a day, you would be astonished. They don’t call it the “heart of the home” for nothing. On school days your kitchen is the scene for hurried breakfasts, grab and go coffees and in the evening can turn into homework central before dinner. Organize your kitchen based on your family and lifestyle. 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 assistance. Encourage the family to gather around the dining room table for family meals as much as possible.
2. Keep your family room a neutral territory For many families back to school time means a home that is cluttered with school supplies, books, toddler toys and chaotic family belongings throughout each room of the house. Dedicate your family and living rooms to a neutral territory. This will help provide a space where kids and parents can unwind and enjoy television, share a conversation, without the worriment of disturbing other family members. Create essential organization for video games, books, and magazines in storage ottomans, bookshelves, built-in entertainment systems that allow for the family to “hang out” at the right times. 3. Every room in your home can use back to school organization: From your entryway and mudroom to your home to the laundry room or basement, your family goes through a lot of routines during the course of 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 should be tackled first. Any room that you and your kids waste time looking for items: kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, kids’ rooms… need to get organized! 4. Point of entry – The key to getting out of the house on time: Believe it or not, the success of you getting out of the house each morning on time rests largely 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 the majority of “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 ensure an area for personal belongings like 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.
5. Start off small and work up to total 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. 6. Organizing the dirtiest room of your home, the laundry room: While many would argue that bathrooms are the dirtiest room, the laundry room sees its share of dirt and grime, especially with school-aged children. Back to school time means extra-curricular sports uniforms and playgrounds have their share of dirt and grime for your weekly laundry. 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 above, and have older family members pitch in with the folding and sorting of clothes.
7. Tackling your kids’ closets: Let’s face it, when it comes to back to school organization – getting them out of their rooms is key, right? Start off this season by purging old clothes in their 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, it 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.
8. Kids study and play area organization: During the school year, your child will need an area to do homework, study, read and play. Devise an area now for your kids to be creative but also to study and be productive. If possible keep television and media equipment in another room than quiet and productive spaces to avoid the temptation of kids wanting to do both at the same time. If your kids share a study desk area with the family room or communal play area – organize your space to allow for storage of each function of belongings and supplies.
9. Bathroom organization can help you and your kids Children and adults spend more time in the bathroom than almost any room in the entire house. Second after the kitchen, your bathroom and the kids’ bathroom should be given a lifestyle makeover. Meaning, determine what keeps you and your kids in the bathroom so long. Organize toiletries for kids in marked baskets, or fun color washable plastic bins for younger children and their bath essentials. Older kids and teenagers can store hair accessories, styling aids, makeup and other toiletries on high shelving in adjacent linen closets or built-in shelving. Behind the door storage is helpful too and can help cut down time fumbling for bath items in the morning.
10. Enjoy the new school year in your organized home Every year kids either love or hate going back to school, but an organized home will benefit everyone when school schedules are tight and time is of the essence. Organization in your home this season will free up time to attend your kids’ activities after school, spend more time enjoying a family dinner or will allow for more time to toss the football in the backyard with your kids. Use these 10 helpful tips around your home this back to school season and let us know what tricks work around your home!