For many parents, it feels like the new year starts in August, not January. Another school year is right around the corner, but it isn’t always easy to make the adjustment from the carefree days of summer. We’ve collected these tips to help your family get back into the school year routine.
Create a Family Launch Pad
One way to tame the chaos of school mornings is to set up a family launch pad in your home. (Professional organizer Cynthia Ewer came up with this concept, which she discusses on her website.) The idea is to dedicate a space where you can store all the things your family needs to grab on the way out the door. 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, highly 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, deposit things like field trip forms, keys and phones in the box.
- If possible, embed a charging station in the launch pad.
- Each child should have at least two hooks: one for a backpack and one for a sweater.
- Individual cubbies can hold shoes, hats, instruments or water bottles.
Save Time With a Well-Stocked Homework Station
Nip procrastination in the bud with 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 chargers, the printer and other electronic essentials.
Sort the Sports Gear
If your family participates in sports, you know all that gear seems to reproduce exponentially. Before it takes over your living room, quarantine all outdoor play equipment in the garage. To prevent sports equipment from taking over your garage, create an organizing system with cubbies, shelves and hooks. Label areas to make it simple for kids to put stuff away in the correct spot.
An organized closet will do wonders for morning efficiency. Start by getting rid of everything that your kids no longer wear. 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 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.