Updated: Aug 28, 2020
Whether your child will be going back-to-school in-person, be learning remotely, or, be using a combination of the two, it’s more important than ever to help ease the transition with all the changes happening to schooling this year. Here, we explore five home organization tips to help make the 2020-2021 school year a success for both children and parents alike.
1. Entry Space/Mud Room- If your child will be attending any in-person classes, having a designated and organized space near the door for all the different types of stuff they need will help make for a smooth transition off to school in the morning and again when they return in the afternoon. We’re talking about a way to organize backpacks, sports equipment, jackets, shoes, lunch boxes, umbrellas— the works.
Individual cubbies for each child help to keep items organized and allow them to take responsibility for their specific space to keep it clean and neat. A bench to sit on to put shoes on and take them off is always helpful, and can be an exciting design element complete with fun pillows and upholstery. Meanwhile, personal baskets under the bench can help sort miscellaneous items. And of course, hooks on the wall are a must for jackets and sports uniforms.
2. Snack Station- What’s the very first thing almost every child does when they get home after a busy day of school, practices, clubs, and rehearsals? Snack! In order to keep your entire pantry from looking like a tornado hit it, and to encourage healthy snacking, designate an easily accessible drawer or cabinet as the “snack drawer” or “snack cabinet”. Drawer organizers can be great for helping to set this up. Check out this pantry by Rachel Parcell. Fill it with healthy options already portioned out. Think fruit cups, raisins, pretzels, crackers, popcorn, cereal bars, etc. If you have a separate mini-fridge, this can also serve as a kids’ drinks station, or designate an easy to reach shelf in the fridge for their favorite juice boxes, milk cartons, or reusable bottles of water.
3. Organization Center- Organization boards aren’t just for offices! A specific area for all of the paperwork and logistics of the household to go is a no-brainer. Set aside a wall (or part of one) in your kitchen, family room, hallway,
or entry space/mudroom specifically for this purpose. In addition to your go-to digital calendar that you can access on all your devices, a large wall hanging, paper one can be helpful too, especially for little ones to visualize what their week looks like. Also feel free to add file organizers to the wall for all the paperwork that comes home from school.
For added organization, everyone in the family should get a color, and be sure to add adults’ schedules to the calendar too! Completing the space with a white board for messages can’t hurt either. Finally, be sure to also list emergency numbers in an easy-to-read location.
4. Designated Homework Area- Studies have long shown the importance of routine for children in order to help provide a sense of safety and boundaries. Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, writes in a Reuters article, “When you are happy and secure, you are much more able to learn and interact in healthy ways”. A designated area away from distractions to work at every day, helps to instill good work habits. Be sure the space is well-lit, and bonus points for natural light or a nearby window. A comfortable chair is also essential to help with promoting good posture and not fidgeting during longer assignments. Lots of small organizers for various school supplies keep everything in order. A clock to keep track of time is helpful as well. And for older students, chargers and nearby outlets for laptops, phones, or tablets is essential. Fun colors and decorations help make it a welcoming space instead of a dreaded one.
5. Tidy Bathroom- Getting the most sleep while still getting out of the house on time is more of an art than a science. One thing is for certain though, misplaced toiletries do not help! Before the school year begins, invest in drawer organizers, and make sure each child has a designated drawer to call their own. Don’t be afraid to pull out the label maker so that they learn that each item has a home, and that it goes back to that home as soon as it's done being used. Be sure that there are plenty of extra supplies stocked and ready so you don’t all of a sudden find the entire household out of toothpaste one morning. You can also try optimizing space by hanging back-of-the-door shelving on cabinets under the sink, as well as a turntable in order to help see all different kinds of products easily. Feel free to add baskets for clean towels, laundry, etc. to the bathroom too if there is enough room.
This new school year might look quite different from those in the past. So why not start the year off on the right foot by getting your home organized and setting your family up for success? A designated entry space/mud room, specific snack station, organization center, homework area, and tidy bathroom will help you and your kids get there!