Weekly Quick Tips
Get Your Kids and House Ready for Back to School
As the summer comes to an end, the fall brings with it a season of packed lunches, rushed mornings and a house in disarray. It’s that time of year again, when the kids head back to school. Keeping the house organized when the kids are back in school can be difficult. Keeping things simple, getting the kids involved and organizing one room at a time are helpful approaches to organizing during the back to school months. Rooms that need the most attention are the bedrooms, bathroom, homework area and the kitchen. Here are some practical back to school organizing tips for each room:
Bedrooms should be a place of rest, so toys should be limited there. Getting the kids involved and giving them tools to be responsible is essential to keeping their rooms organized. Large hooks on the back of bedroom doors are a great idea for the kids to easily throw their hoodies, baseball caps, etc. Having shelves is another simple way for the kids to store their belongings. We suggest big open shelves so they can put their books, trophies and pictures on display, while staying organized.
Clothing tends to be the biggest issue in kids’ bedrooms once they head back to school. Purchase an affordable closet organizer from a DYI or mass retailer. Keeping the clothes off the floor by having ample hanging space is essential. It’s also important to keep the hangers all one colour to bring a sense of simplicity and organization to the room. Another great option for younger children is to buy a five-tiered hanging organizer and choose your child’s weekly outfits on Sunday to avoid the school morning ‘what should I wear?’ drama.
If more than one child needs to use the bathroom in the morning, things can be hectic. Make a schedule for the kids to have their showers/baths to avoid fighting over time in the bathroom. Older children prefer to have their showers in the morning, so the younger children can be scheduled before bedtime. Schedule a time that makes sense. Assigning a specific colour of towel to each child will also eliminate bickering over whose towel is whose and reduce laundry loads.
In order to have clutter-free counters, install pullout drawers in the cabinets to help the kids see what is in the back of the cabinets. Often too, using the wall space is essential. Use small decorative shelves and wall organizers for towels, shampoo, soap, etc. to provide extra space. Hooks on the back of the bathroom doors are a great solution for hanging towels and housecoats. Get the kids involved in organizing the bathroom by assigning the children plastic caddies for their personal items. They can bring their stuff back to their rooms and back again when needed. Having small, colour-coded bins for their stuff in the bathroom also helps each child be responsible for their own items and keeps the counters clear.
Area Setting up a homework area will help the kids stayorganized and keep school papers confined to one area. Kids tend to gravitate towards the kitchen after school, so setting up an area for them to do their homework there is ideal. They don’t need fancy, they just need practical. Having everything they need at their workstation, such as pens, pencils, magazine files and calculators will eliminate wandering and help them focus.
To keep the counters clear in the kitchen, use decorative bins and baskets. If things are ‘containerized’, they tend to stay organized. Labelling the bins is also helpful; if something is labelled, the kids are less likely to stash the item somewhere else when they go to put something away. Make the kids’ lunches the night before, or, to simplify the lunch making process this year, why not put together a refrigerator mini-zone loaded with school lunch essentials. Here are some ideas for creating your own lunch-making mini-zone:Purchase (or repurpose) a plastic storage bin sized to fit on one of the shelves in your refrigerator. Load your bin with pre-packaged lunch-making items such as cheese sticks, and/or small packages of yogurt, smoothies, juice or milk. Once a week stock your lunch bin with items such as grapes, baby carrots, celery sticks and dip, stored in small, reusable lunch containers. Add sandwich-makingsupplies such as bread, natural peanut butter, jam or jelly, or lunch meats. Keep unrefrigerated lunch-making items like napkins, cutlery, chips, crackers and cookies in a second bin in your pantry. If your kids are older, assign them the task of filling their lunch bag each morning with the pre-packed items in your lunch-making mini-zone. Having lunch bags that are colour coded for each child will help the kids know whose lunch is whose in the morning.
Move over summer ~ a new school year is coming! With the start of school, families face new organization challenges. School bells ring and so do early morning alarm clocks. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Get organized now for the best school year ever!
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