Hop into the school year by starting at home
You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but for those with school-age kids, late summer is prime time for getting rid of junk and reorganizing for the changing seasons. Preparing for the school year is a lot easier with a calm house ready for whatever comes your way. With this in mind, here are some steps you can take to make that transition as smooth as possible.
5 Reasons You Should Prepare Your House for the School Year
Though checking off items on a school supply list may seem straightforward, every parent knows the week before school starts can be a bit chaotic. Preparing your home ahead of time can make all the difference, and here’s why:
Organization can help you find everything you need before shuffling the kids off in the mornings.
It helps the whole family feel secure and ready to go.
An organized house makes for an organized mind and can help your kids focus on homework.
It can save you daily prep time.
Organizing can help the whole family transition from the laid-back vibes of summer to the hustle and bustle of the school year.
How to Get Your Home Ready for the School Year
If school year prep is leaving you stumped, we’ll share some tips for how to get ready for school by prepping your home first.
Organize School Supplies
Keep track of the school supplies you’ve meticulously checked off the school’s suggested list by storing them in your child’s backpack ahead of the big day. Utilize pencil bags, plastic containers, and caddies for items that don’t fit or that they don’t need on day one.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on school supplies for use at home or simply to have them on hand if your child loses important items (hey, it happens) or runs out as the school year progresses.
Set Up a Homework or At-Home Workstation
Summer may have been a time for television, tablets, or smartphones, but once school kicks in again, these distractions have a way of preventing kids from focusing on their schoolwork. One way to circumvent disruptions is by creating a workstation that serves as the perfect learning center for at-home learning or homework. Here’s how:
Pick a secluded location. The kitchen or dining room is a great place to focus away from the TV, but if these options aren’t available, consider using bookshelves as a barrier or wall to section off busy spaces. Much like setting up a home office, creating a workspace for your kids will allow them to concentrate on their work.
Consider dedicating a permanent space. Speaking of offices, if you have multiple school-age children or want to use the space as an office for yourself during the day, consider the cost of finishing your basement for work purposes or converting a room into a workspace, especially if you don’t have the space elsewhere.
Get the right furniture. A desk and a chair are must-haves for a work-study station.
Add in the supplies. To make homework a quick and simple process, have a supplies caddy on hand with essentials like pens, pencils, erasers, and highlighters. Have paper and notebooks on hand, too.
Delegate the Housework
Nothing’s worse than trying to get the kids to do their homework—except for maybe getting them to do their chores on top of that! Make chores a breeze by delegating the housework between family members with some simple steps:
Keep chores age-appropriate: younger kids can handle putting away toys while older kids can clean their own bathrooms.
Create a visual chore board to mark off completed tasks.
Set a time limit to complete chores.
Stick to a structured schedule.
Give incentives to promote motivation.
Create a Calendar
The first few weeks of a new school year can feel like a flurry of important forms and deadlines—and once games, concerts, and other performances are back in session, keeping track of it all can get more complicated. Combat missed deadlines by utilizing a dry-erase calendar to fill in important dates so that no one is caught off guard by any school-related events.
Pick a visible location for the calendar, like the fridge or on a wall near the breakfast table.
Choose a calendar. Magnetic calendars are perfect for the fridge, but if you have a larger family, you might want to invest in a bigger wall calendar.
Assign every member of the family a dry-erase marker color.
Fill in important dates, and encourage older kids to fill them in themselves.
Consider adding a portable filing box for forms to keep track of them as the due dates approach.
Get the Kitchen Ready
Stocking up on school supplies is only half the battle; the other half is stocking up on lunch supplies. Here are a few steps to get your kitchen ready for school:
Choose the right lunchbox. Make lunch prep simpler by choosing an insulated lunch box with a sealable container that stays cool or hot until lunchtime.
Stock up on food, drinks, and snacks. For popular snacks, consider buying in bulk, which can save you time and money in the long run. Just be sure you have a good organizational system for storing all those bulk goods.
Consider meal prep. Setting up food for the week can make it easier to dish out lunches daily.
Have the table clear and ready for eating. Whether it’s breakfast or dinner, having a table free of obstacles will make it easier to get the kids fed and ready for the next steps in their routine.
Prepare the night before. By making lunch the day before, you can avoid some of the morning rush and get everyone out the door faster.
Deep clean your kitchen. Deep cleaning your kitchen before the school year really starts getting hectic can help set you up with a good base. While you can certainly deep clean your kitchen yourself in an afternoon or so, hiring a local house cleaning service to help you out can be a huge help.
Organize the Closets and Dressers
By now, you’ve probably seen more than your fair share of back-to-school clothing commercials. And whether or not you’ve already stocked up on a new wardrobe, it’s a good idea to sort through and organize your closet in time for the new year. Follow these steps to get ready:
Take everything out of the closets and dressers.
Sort clothes into three piles: a “keep” pile, a “try on” pile, and a “donate” pile. This process will cut down on unnecessary clothes and streamline getting dressed in the mornings.
Move out-of-season clothes into a storage box until the weather changes.
Be sure to remove tags and wash new clothes in advance.
Hang up clothes, and make sure everything is in the correct drawers.
Get outfits ready the night before.
Design a Backpack Station
When kids get home from a long day at school, the front door can quickly become a pile of backpacks, lunch boxes, and coats—even if you have a mudroom. Put your entryway to good use by installing a hanging station for when they walk through the door. This technique will also help prevent forgotten backpacks and jackets.
If you don’t have an entryway that can accommodate school belongings and want to add a mudroom to your home, some crafty organization of the entryway you do have can make that part of your home look more distinct. Other pricier but effective options include adding a mudroom to your house or building a custom shelving system.
Stock Up on Your Cleaning Supplies
Keeping the home germ-free is key to avoiding getting sick, so you’ll want to invest in cleaning supplies and have a regular cleaning routine to ward off germs. Make sure you have these cleaning supplies on hand:
Reusable cleaning cloths
Tips for Getting Ready for the School Year
Preparing for a new school year can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few general tips for making the transition into the school year as stress-free as possible.
Tackle one step at a time.
Donate what you don’t need to make room for what you do need.
Include your kids in the organization.
Make use of shelving, compartments, and drawers.
For large projects, consider finding a professional home organizer near you.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to get ready for school in 10 minutes is to organize as much as you can ahead of time. Cleaning up any messes the night before, having backpacks hanging on hooks by the door, and organizing your pantry so you can easily grab breakfast can all help.
To prep your home for the busy school year, you’ll want to start by decluttering your space, getting rid of anything that you no longer need. Then, strategically place what you do need by putting your most-used items within easy reach and anything you don’t use as often in the back of your shelf or closet. Then, get in the habit of placing these items back there every time.