As any seasoned parent can attest, getting ready for school to start involves so much more than simply throwing a few granola bars in a backpack and deflating the mini pool. Deadlines, homework, and after-school activities can pile up before you even have a chance to pin up a back-to-school calendar, leaving your well-intentioned Pinterest board as starved for inspiration as you are.
Don’t let the sudden change of routine from a lazy summer to a hectic school year stress you out. Frenzied school schedules and after-school activities are less than a month away, but just a bit of planning and a little home organization can go a long way to ease you and your student into a new scholarly pace around your house. Whether you organize your mudroom, create a “family schedule” dry-erase board, or clean out closets to make room for back-to-school clothes, here are the best ways to prepare your home before all the craziness is upon you and the school bells ring.
1. Stock up on supplies. From sandwich bags and twist ties to peanut butter and snack packs, once your students hit the ground running, you don’t want to be caught without your go-to supplies for quick throw-together lunches.
2. Organize your mudroom. Although it became a store-all for swimsuits and flip-flops over the summer, it’s time to smarten up your mudroom for school. The easiest way to keep order in a small space is to designate individual spots for each family member by placing a shoe rack or cubby near the most frequently used door. Once the rack is in place, attach backpack (or purse) hooks above each cubby with a nameplate attached. Bonus points for using boxes or baskets in each cubby to keep occasional items like raincoats, umbrellas, or mittens on standby in one spot. This is also a great spot to hang a shoe organizer full of easy to grab supplies like pens, hair ties, highlighters, paper clips, spare change, and more.
3. Create calendar central. This is the go-to spot for all things scheduling. Simply hang your favorite calendar (chalkboard or dry-erase works best) above a small table to keep track of appointments, meetings, and practice schedules, then color code it so each family member can easily spot his or her schedule. Beneath the calendar, organize an inbox and outbox for school papers to make sure everything gets signed and returned to teachers on time. This is also a great space to put a “wish list” board for items your family needs from the store.
4. Create a snack station. Snacking on the fly is a no-brainer when school season starts up. Stack the snacking odds in your family’s favor by creating a healthy snack station with granola bars, freeze-dried fruit, nuts, or even Ziploc bags of celery sticks and fresh bananas in the fridge.
5. Organize the closets. Cleaning out yours and your kids’ closets will not only help your home feel like it’s getting a fresh start, but it will also leave room for any back to school clothes for the new year. It’s also a great way to make a little cash or take your kids on a pre-school field trip to a donation center.