Summer’s Out, School’s In

by Matt Solis


Brendan (with Owen, his preschool sidekick) gets ready to go back to school. Photo: Erin Bleau, 2015

Back-to-school signals a fresh start: it’s time for new socks, new notebooks and new routines. With that in mind, here are some fresh ways to reorganize your home and make your school day routines flow with ease.

Create a family launch pad
A launch pad can help soften the pain of school-morning madness…at least according to Cynthia Ewer, editor of Using bookshelves, hooks and cubbies, you can create an area for all of the things your family needs to get out the door in the morning. A launch pad can be as simple as a cleared space on a bookshelf, but if you need a big solution for a big problem, consider hiring organizational help to create a functional, highly efficient system.

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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, gloves, scarves and gym bags.

Cut homework in half with a well-stocked homework station


Whether a homework station is a traditional desk or a dining room table, organization is key. Photo: PremierGarage, 2015

How often do you ask your child to start his or her homework, only to hear, “But I can’t find…”? Nip procrastination in the bud with a well-organized and well-stocked homework station. Put pencils, paper, glue, markers (and anything else he or she may need) in one easy-to-access place. For younger kids, designate a cubby or drawer for art projects. For older kids, designate space for chargers, the printer and other electronic essentials.

Take it outside with a sports organizing system


Organizing sports equipment in the garage can decrease chaos and increase sanity. Photo: PremierGarage, 2015

If you have athletic kids, you know that sports equipment reproduces geometrically. Before it takes over your living room, exile all outdoor play equipment to the garage. And to prevent it from taking over the garage, create an organizing system with cubbies, shelves and hooks. Be sure to label everything to make it simple for kids to put stuff away in the correct spot.

Optimize closets


An organized closet gives your child room to think. Photo: PremierGarage, 2015

Having an organized closet will do wonders for morning efficiency. Start by getting rid of everything that no longer fits, has holes or your child refuses to 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 a closet for smaller children whose longest gowns are still only half as tall as an adult dress.
  • Add a wire-shelving unit to store shoes, socks in baskets or folded sweaters.
  • A line of hooks is always useful for purses, hats, feather boas, etc.
  • Don’t forget the space on the back of the door. A shoe caddy hung over the door doesn’t have to be used for shoes—you can use it for 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 photographs of the items that belong there.