Give School a Home in Your House
Are you ready for the back-to-school frenzy, DFW? Here it comes! But before school starts, take a breath, and organize your house. Need tips to take on the impending chaos in order to minimize it? You have three goals during back-to-school organization: less work for you, less mess in your house and building your kids' independence and self-sufficiency.
3 Top Tips to Tame School Sprawl
- Create an area where school stuff will live this year. Whether it's near the front door, back door, or garage door, designate a space as the school zone. Add hooks for jackets, and bins or cubbies for backpacks and books.
- Create a special place where homework is always done: the dining room table, the kitchen island, or a bedroom desk. Supplies stay there. Cords for computers are at-the-ready. And kids know to report to this spot and get that homework done immediately after dropping their stuff in the school zone area above.
- Create a parent-inbox in a prominent area and instruct kids to put all progress reports, papers, and permission slips from teachers that parents need to read, sign, and return in this box every day after school.
3 Self-Sufficiency Hacks to Lighten Your Load
- Create a help-yourself-snack area in your refrigerator, pantry, or drawer. If kids can self-serve snacks after school, there's one less thing for you to do.
- Once they get the hang of making their own snacks, add lunch-making to their routine every morning (or night before) using items from a lunch area in the pantry and/or refrigerator. Give them plenty of choices to make their own healthy, well-balanced lunches, and check another item off your to-do list.
- Reduce your stress and theirs by organizing a school section of their closet with the five outfits they'll wear each week on the Sunday before. No more scrambling for a clean pair of uniform pants or a missing sock.
3 Plus-Up Organization Tips
- Keep your car carpool ready with a stash of snacks in a backseat organizer. Add a backseat trash bag to collect the snack packaging. And attach a hand vac to your garage wall, assigning a kid to hand vac the backseat and dump the trash bag every Friday.
- Add an over-the-door hanging shoe organizer to a closet door but fill the pockets with extras of school supplies. With this self-service organizer, kids can grab their own-colored pencils, erasers, notecards (and whatever else they are using regularly) from this area, instead of asking you for more every time.
- Make weekly shopping for snacks, lunches and even breakfast and dinners easier by creating a visible, accessible shopping list on the kitchen counter that everyone can contribute to during the week. If someone finishes something, they write it on the list. If a kid has a lunch item request or a dinner request, they write it on the list. This on-going inventory system takes all the burden off parents, and teaches kids about meal planning, shopping, and contributing to a household.
Try adding a few of these tips to your school routine and see if the chaos in your house calms down a bit. When you give school — and everything that comes with it — a home in your house, the school year will be easier on everyone.