Get your home “Back to school ready”
Back to school is always stressful, it’s unavoidable. New teachers, new classmates … but we are not only talking about kids: it’s also stressful for us, parents!
Read on to see how you can make it easier for yourself, so you aren’t pulling your hair out and scrambling at the last minute to find uniforms, school shoes, book bags or PE kits.
And although we cannot set our children up for academic success simply by organising our homes (how I wish it was that easy!), we can at least create an environment that is conducive to learning… discover below our best tips to prepare your home for the new school year.
1. Organise kids’ clothes and uniforms
Making sure that our kids have a correctly sized uniform to start school seems like the obvious thing to do, but who has never been caught by surprise by those centimetres they gained during the summer break? And don’t forget that uniform providers do run out of stock quite frequently, and most probably when we need them the most! Make sure you’re prepared by planning ahead ... and of course, the same goes for school shoes.
It may also be a good idea to jump on the occasion and declutter your child’s entire wardrobe.
It is also essential to properly organise that wardrobe, by dedicating a specific place to school uniforms, including socks, tights and underwear … in order to simplify getting ready in the morning. Besides, there’s no need to set our children up for frustration if their closets open up on their favourite sweaters or sparkling pink tights that they won’t be allowed to wear with their school uniform!
2. Have a dedicated place for shoes, school bags and jackets
Setting up a dedicated place in your home for your kids’ shoes, school bags, sport’s equipment, and jackets, is key to getting your home organised for the duration of the school year. Otherwise, your entryway or mudroom will inevitably become a magnet for clutter.
If your home lacks a mudroom or an attached garage, you can still set up a space for backpack storage in a closet or along a wall next to where people enter your home. The easiest way to do this would be to get a couple of coat racks, an entry bench with storage, or just a few baskets (one for each kid would be perfect – don’t forget to choose baskets or boxes with lids if they have to be left in the hallway rather than in a closet – some are really stylish and can definitely match the rest of your décor).
Depending on the room you have in your house, hallways might be the trickiest part to organise. Don’t forget that home organisers such as Homefulness are here to help : we’ll always be able to find storage solutions that will match your needs and complement your interior décor! Do not hesitate to reach out: we can implement an organisation system which will prevent clutter from pilling up, and ensure that the first room you see when entering your home is a reflection of your style and taste.
3. Set up a homework station
Does your child have a designated, distraction-free area they can retreat to when it’s time to do their homework? If not, you could inadvertently be setting them up for failure.
The good news is, setting up a homework station doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you scour Gumtree, Ebay, Spock or your local Facebook groups you’ll likely find plenty of desks on sale for next to nothing. Once you’ve found the perfect sized desk, stock it with pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, etc. so your child isn’t getting up every 5 minutes looking for supplies.
If you don’t have extra space in your home to create an “official” homework station, or prefer your child to work from the kitchen table where you can more easily supervise and help, you can create a portable homework station for your child instead. A nice box can easily hold notebooks and an office caddy with all needed supplies. It will be easy for your child to grab it, work for a while, then put it away in its designated space (always remember that you need to have a designated place for everything – again: Homefulness can help you find that place).
Just keep in mind that as they get older and get more homework, it’s important for kids to have their own study areas – and we’re not talking about at the dining room table (we say that to protect the sanity of parents too!)
If there’s a place in their bedroom for a desk, perfect. Otherwise the family room, living room or office – ideally a room without a television – also works.
Encourage your kids to take charge of keeping their homework areas neat and tidy. A good idea is also to get bins or portfolios for the artwork, projects and “star of the week” cards they bring home, one per child. This’ll cut down on clutter around the house, make schoolwork quick to find and at the end of the school year it can be sorted through to pick what gets kept and what gets recycled (we wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about kids artwork organisation).
4. Go shopping if needed (most probably!)
Once you’ve been going through your child’s wardrobe, shoes and school supplies, you can get rid of anything broken, extremely worn out, too small (unless they’re good for hand-me-downs), or stained beyond repair. Sometime before the first day of school, wash everything that needs it.
Next make a list of exactly what it is your kids need – and do your best to stick to it. Schools sometimes provide a list of needed supplies for the year to come.
Having a defined list when you hit the stores means you’ll more likely buy only what’s on it.
5. Get a calendar
If you haven’t already, hang a dry-erase calendar somewhere in your house to keep track of everyone’s activities (the kitchen is usually the most convenient spot but you might choose to hang it in your home office too).
Have a different-coloured marker for each member of the family so you know who’s up to what at a glance. When you schedule piano lessons, ballet practice, or get notices about field trips and bake sale days, add them to the calendar immediately.
We hope you’ll find these little tips useful and we wish you all an amazing school year !