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Start School With A Clean Slate

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What’s the vibe in your house at the end of summer? In ours the aura could be summed up in one word: lax. Vacation bags left partially unpacked for weeks, random piles of miscellaneous items sprouted like mushrooms in the common spaces and the doors to the kids’ rooms best left closed. Most family homes benefit from an organization glow-up after the lazy days of summer, a clean slate to begin the more regimented schedule that comes with the start of school. Last week I covered Back-To-School rituals that make life a little easier and this week I’m focused on the top 3 targets in your home to prep your home for the new school year.

It feels daunting but a quick focus on these 3 specific target areas can get the job done with a minimum of time and effort. These 3 mini organizing projects will clear the clutter and grease the skids as you glide into Fall.

Clear The Kids’ Rooms

Kids grow fast and a lot can change over a summer. It’s likely that you did some Back-To-School shopping and there are new togs they will be donning on Day 1 and beyond.  But did you make space for the new stuff by clearing out the old? Take the opportunity before school starts to toss worn out clothes and shoes and donate or pass down the things your kids have outgrown. If you have multiple kids of different ages and sexes you may want to bring a couple of bins with you to keep the things that will eventually be worn by the younger sibs; make sure to label each bin by size and sex before storing it.

Kids have a hard time keeping their rooms tidy and more stuff makes the job harder. Spacious drawers that aren’t stuffed when you open them will help your kids on that journey. If your kids wear uniforms to school, separate the uniforms from the play clothes, another small feature that will help them keep things tidy. A clean room, like the fresh backpack full of pristine school supplies, is a key element in prepping your home environment for the start of school.

Prep The Kitchen

No, you don’t need to reorganize your kitchen for Back-To-School but a little tweaking in preparation for months of school lunches and after school snacks makes a big difference.

First, assess your school lunch supplies. How many bento-box containers do you have?  How many do you need?  Does everything have a lid? Sometimes it’s easier to literally wipe the slate clean by tossing the old sets and starting fresh.

Next, do you have a good spot in your kitchen designated for lunch gear? Strive for proximity to the counter where the prep is happening. A large, low drawer is best; one that is easy for the kids to access themselves when they are old enough to pack their own lunch. This is a great place to keep the kid-friendly plates, bowls and cups as well. Don’t worry too much about the organization inside of this drawer – the fact that you’ve got your kid lunch-and-snack related items together is enough to set you up for success.

Set Up The Mudroom

Think of the mudroom as a triage station that provides support for the transition in and out of the house. Are there open hooks for backpacks and jackets? Are the cubbies clear for cleats and other sports gear?  It’s likely that your kids have multiple bags; one for school and one or more for sports, dance or other after school activities. Mudrooms tend to become dumping grounds for random stuff, especially in the summer. Now is the time to clear out everything random as well as the summer things like towels and flip-flops to make space for school to begin. You must prep this environment with intention so it can work hard for you when the inevitable crazy of the school year descends.

There is a lot of variability in the size of the projects I’ve outlined here. If your home is not Back-To-School ready and you are feeling overwhelmed it may be wise to bring in a professional organizer who can help you not only get through the actual work but also design systems specifically for your home that will ease the transition back to school. Whether you are tackling your own projects or working with a pro I’m sending serenity vibes your way. Happy Back-To-School!

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