As summer slows its roll to a jarring halt, moms and dads everywhere find themselves in the school supply aisles of WalMart and Target perusing all the essentials to ensure an A+ school year. While finding the perfect binder is essential, don’t forget to turn a keen eye to your home and its own checklist of school-ready functions.
You’ve labored over every backpack decision: Jansport or North Face? Chevron print or solid color? But have you considered where all this gear is going to hang? Create a functional entry space to store gear at the entrance to the home. This can be as simple as adding a hook near the door to hang backpacks and coats; or you can declare war on the clutter by creating an entry that catches everyone (and everything) before they get inside too far. Designate an area with a bench or seat for removing dirty shoes and other outdoor gear such as rain boots, jackets and umbrellas. Add a shelf or basket to stash permission slips, keys, cell phones, chargers, practice cleats, and back to school forms.
Once you’ve managed to corral the clutter in the entry, turn your attention to the first place they land after school: the kitchen. Kids of all ages always seem to arrive home from school starving, so why not designate a spot in the kitchen for their after-school snacking?
This can be as simple as designating a single drawer or cabinet with easy-to-grab snacks. Or you can organize a section of the pantry or fridge with baskets for each child to select their own snack. I f possible, choose a spot that isn’t in the way when you’re cooking or washing up. Keep bowls, utensils and lunch boxes in a lower area that’s easy for younger kids to reach.
Take stock of your kitchen and ask yourself if there’s an area to set up a small homework spot. This way you can make sure homework is getting done while you prepare dinner!
School clothes, towels and sports uniforms pile up fast throughout the week. Organize your laundry space with dirty laundry baskets labeled into darks, colors, lights and an emergency basket for items that are extra dirty and need immediate attention.
Ask everyone to throw their dirty laundry into baskets to save you time having to search under the bed or in gym bags for items that need washing. Save yourself even more time by placing clean items in designated baskets that each child can take back to their room and put away.
Keep your family running like a well-oiled machine by organizing a command center complete with a calendar, bulletin board, chalk or dry erase board for to-do lists and a place to catch paperwork or mail.