Back to school is a great time and season to reassess your home and the systems you have in place. Summertime can sometimes through us off track with all the activities, and now it is time to get back to your normal routines.
Back to school time can be overwhelming with all the moving parts going on in your house, but what if this year could be different? What if you come up with a plan to manage all the school papers and homework? What about lunches and backpacks?
Here are the common problem areas in most homes when it comes to back to school.
- Shoes, backpacks, and jackets get tossed on the floor.
- Clothing is not organized in a way that helps kids get ready quickly in the morning.
- There is not a designated or organized area for homework time.
- Papers and projects are brought home from school and end up piled on the countertop or in a closet.
- There is no system in place to deal with school clutter, schedules, after-school activities, and meal planning.
Back to School Organization Solutions
Owning fewer things AND creating systems that support a peaceful home are the key to a simple home. Here are some systems that I have set up in my home to keep the back-to-school clutter at bay and keep you on track.
You will first want to start with what you already have. In order to prepare better for the year ahead we need to completely reset everything from last year. We need to remove the clutter from closets, dressers, and desk areas and start with a clean slate. A few weeks before the first day of school schedule a time to take inventory of your home. This will include looking at what clothes still fit and what school supplies you still have. Chances are there are a lot of items that you can reuse this year. You will find that this will be a major bonus when you start to declutter your home, no more buying unnecessary items simply because you cannot see or find what you already have.
Once you go through last year’s items you are ready to set up systems for the new year to prevent the buildup of school items to occur. Below are the top 5 organizational systems that I recommend for getting prepared for back to school in your home.
1. HAVE A DEDICATED PLACE FOR BACKPACKS, SHOES, AND COATS
Create a drop zone for all the items that get dumped on the ground as soon as the kids get home. Setting up a dedicated place for all these items, is key to getting your home organized for the duration of the school year. If you don’t have a system and routine for this your entryway will end up being a cluttered mess. A great place for this is a mudroom or garage entry, but if you don’t have one you can still set up a space for this near an entry. All you need is somewhere to hang things and a solution for shoes. Below are some great options for your entryway storage area.
2. ORGANIZE YOUR KID’S CLOTHES
The best system for clothes in my opinion is to only have the essentials and declutter the clothes down to only what is necessary. More clothes means more laundry, more indecisiveness, more space needed.
Once you have decluttered the clothes decide on a system that works for you. Some Moms find it easier to pick out the clothes the night or even the week before and have an organizer set up for each day of the week. I personally don’t pick them out, but I have started a no fold laundry approach and have a separate drawer for each item. One for pants, shirts, and so on. The no fold idea makes the task of doing laundry and actually getting it into the drawer so much easier. The goal is to organize them so that deciding what to wear each day will be simple and easy. Here are a few clothing organizers that may be helpful.
4. CONTROL PAPER CLUTTER
School paperwork and clutter can be a major problem. To get this under control I have an inbox that I go through weekely. When my daughter brings home items we go through them together to decide what is special and what is not. I have created a vertical inbox for only the most special items. We continue to add to this throughout the year and then at the end of the year we go through it one last time weeding out the not so special items and then we will file it all away into our school folder for that year. Again most imporatant thing here is that we are only keeping the most special items, because if everything is special than nothing really is.
You could also have an inbox for “action” items for paperwork that needs something completed such as a permission slip or information for an upcoming event. I generally like to just take care of these items right away so I dont have a seperate box. Another trick is to take photos of things on your phone rather than keeping the paper copy. This helps with the physical clutter and also makes the information readily available on your phone if you are away from home.
Here are some great options for inboxes.
3. HOMEWORK STATION AND COMMAND STATION
Having a space that is dedicated to homework can really help with helping your child actually get focused and have the space to complete their homework. This does not need to be a completely separate space or room, just somewhere that is stocked with pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, etc. so your child isn’t getting up every 5 minutes looking for supplies.
In case you don’t currently have a command center in your home, I highly encourage you to set one up. Having an area containing everything you need to make you and your child’s day run more smoothly is essential to getting out the door quickly each and every day. This is an area that is great for the whole family to share their schedules and keep important dates and reminders. There are so many options here from whiteboard to digital find what works for you.
Here are some really great solutions for command centers and homework stations.
5. SNACK AND LUNCH STATIONS
An idea that I have found works great for packing school lunches and or preparing for after school snacks is to have food bins. For example, having different bins labels for different food categories for example sandwich, snack, veggies, drink. I pre-make sandwiches each week and freeze them and keep in a bin. That way in the morning we just grab out one item out of each bin to assemble the lunch for that day. You could also create a healthy snack box where kids can grab something good to munch on, to hold them over until dinnertime. If you want to try out this method here are some food bins that would work well for this.
I hope that these ideas are helpful, and I promise if you even set up one of these systems your days will feel so much lighter.