The start of another school year is right around the corner. But this time, things feel different as many students are returning to the classroom for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Reestablishing a morning routine and good home study habits may be even more challenging this autumn. That’s why we’ve collected these tips to help organize your home for the upcoming school year.
Create a Family Launch Pad
The family launch pad is a place in your home where both kids and adults can easily grab items on the way out the door and then easily put them away when they return. (Professional organizer Cynthia Ewer came up with this concept, which she discusses on her website.) This solution should help stave off last-minute scrambles for car keys or face masks. A launch pad can be as simple as a cleared space on a bookshelf, but if your family needs a bigger solution, consider hiring organizational help to create a functional, efficient system.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you create your launch pad:
- Give each family member their own open-topped box. When kids (and adults) come home in the afternoon, they can deposit things like field trip forms, keys and facemasks in the box.
- Each family member should have at least two hooks: one for a backpack or purse and one for a jacket.
- Individual cubbies can hold shoes, library books, instruments or water bottles.
- Place storage at the appropriate height for each family member; preschoolers will need lower cubbies and hooks and adults may want to keep keys and phones out of reach of young children.
- Don’t forget your pets. You can even dedicate an area for your dog’s leash and toys.
Create a Well-Stocked Homework Station
It’s time to refresh that home classroom you had to suddenly set up last year. Make doing homework a little more pleasant by creating a well-organized and well-stocked homework station. Put pencils, paper, glue, markers (and anything else your kids may need) in one easy-to-access place. For younger children, designate a cubby or drawer for art projects. For older kids, designate space for laptops, chargers, the printer and other electronic essentials. If you work from home, make sure children have their own dedicated workspace separate from your home office.
Sort the Sports Gear, Get Your Garage Back
For many kids, participating safely in sports has been a lifeline during this pandemic. However, if your kids play sports and you have a garage, you’ve probably noticed how all that sports equipment seems to take up more and more space, leaving room for little else. Get your garage back by creating an organization system with shelves, cubbies and hooks to get the gear out of the way. Label areas to make it simple for kids to put stuff away in the correct spot. Hire a professional garage organization contractor to find a creative organization solution.
An organized closet will do wonders for morning efficiency. Start by getting rid of everything that your family no longer wears or uses. Next, assess the closet itself and consider how to make better use of the space. Here are some ideas:
- Add a second hanging bar. This can be particularly useful in closets for smaller children whose longest items are still only half the length of adult clothes.
- Add a wire shelving unit to store shoes, socks or folded sweaters.
- A line of hooks is always useful for purses, hats, scarves, face masks and other accessories.
- Don’t forget the space on the back of the door. A shoe caddy hung over a closet door doesn’t have to be used for shoes—you can use it to store rolled-up t-shirts, socks or even art supplies.
- As with a sports organizing system, label everything so your child knows where to put (and find) things. If your child is too young to read, you can label shelves and drawers with pictures.